This ride starts and ends at
Cutler Park in Needham. It covers about 10 miles, and takes about 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace.
Some of the ride is on smooth carriage roads and sidewalks. However, there are enough steep, narrow, and bumpy stretches, as well as busy roads, to make the ride unsuitable for children. An off-road bike is essential. Teenagers with mountain biking experience will love it.
Extreme caution is needed while riding along Nahanton Street/Kendrick Street in Newton and Needham, and along VFW Parkway in Boston.
Food and restroom facilities are available at several restaurants where the ride crosses into Boston.
The ride begins at
the Cutler Park parking lot on Kendrick Street in Needham.
Enter the parking lot from Kendrick Street
A paved path begins at the end of the parking lot.
Turn right, and follow the path. Kendrick Pond is on your left.
Turn left into the woods, still keeping the pond on your left.
Continue past the end of Kendrick Pond. At a fork (marked as Intersection 22 by a small white sign on a tree), the carriage path begins curving to the left (making a loop around the pond). Take the right fork instead, to continue straight ahead.
A few feet past Intersection 26, the path forks again. The two forks will soon rejoin. We take the left (upper) path, which is marked with Blue Heron Trail markers. The upper path has nice views of the river. The right (lower) path is easier riding.
The two forks meet at Intersection 28. Continue straight ahead.
Bear left at Intersection 30.
A boardwalk leads across the marsh to Powell’s Island.
Just past the sign for Intersection 32, the trail enters a clearing. Follow the trail markers for a scenic loop around the island.
(If you’d prefer a shortcut, take a sharp right into the woods just as you enter the clearing. You’ll soon rejoin the marked trail. Go straight ahead–not left–when you see trail markers again.)
At a fork, take a sharp left to follow the trail markers.
The trail leaves the island, crossing the marsh again.
The trail crosses under the MBTA commuter rail tracks. Watch out for broken glass in the tunnel.
Turn right when you leave the tunnel.
Turn left at the next junction.
A long boardwalk crosses another marsh.
Noise from Route 128 has been present for the first part of this ride. From this spot, the road is also visible.
Continue over another boardwalk
Take a left at Intersection 44, following a trail marker, just before the path reaches Needham Street.
Turn right at a marker.
Turn left and walk or ride along busy Needham Street.
The street crosses Long Ditch, a canoe shortcut.
At the first telephone pole just after the bridge, a rough, unmarked trail enters the woods to the left. You’ll see trail markers again after a while.
Turn left at a T intersection. A gate at Needham Street is just to your right.
Keep right at a fork.
Immediately after a small boardwalk, bear left at the next fork.
Take the right fork at the wooden retaining wall.
Exit the park, cross Riverside Drive, and ride down Vine Rock Street.
Enter Riverside Park, and follow the paved path along the Charles River.
Turn left onto the sidewalk of Needham Street, as it crosses the bridge into Boston. A pizza restaurant and other sources of food and sanitary facilities are along the route here.
Turn left onto the sidewalk of VFW Parkway.
Turn left onto the road that leads to Boston’s Millennium Park. The sidewalk on the left side is bicycle-friendly. Continue straight through the next intersection (Rivermoor Street).
Enter the park gates.
Bear left uphill into the park. The park has paved walkways, soccer fields, a playground, portable toilets, a nature trail, marshes, and great views.
Bear left towards the canoe launch. (Or bear right to the top of the hill to enjoy the views. Then come back down.)
Continue on the paved trail.
Continue on the paved path as it curves around the hill. (The hill is composed of decades of Boston’s solid waste.)
Bear left at the fork.
Exit the park over a bridge
You’re now in Brook Farm Historic Site. You’ll soon come to an intersection where this signpost once pointed the way. Bear left.
You’ve entered Newton. Follow the trail, which takes a left turn at a corner where Newton’s Sawmill Brook Parkway ends.
Turn left before you reach the soccer field of Solomon Schechter School.
Take a right at a shortcut path.
But if you miss the shortcut, take a right at the next “T” intersection. Go past the soccer field, ride through the school parking lot, and turn left onto the Wells Avenue sidewalk.
Continue on Wells Avenue, either on the street or on the sidewalk.
Turn left onto Nahanton Street, and cross the Charles River.
You are now on Kendrick Street in Needham. Ride on the sidewalk on the right side until you are opposite the parking lot. Cross the street to the parking lot.