The Upper Falls Greenway is a one-mile converted rail trail that extends from Newton Highlands to Newton Upper Falls, with a spur trail connecting to Needham Street.
In the coming years, connections are likely to be made between the Greenway and other trails. But if you don’t mind some scrambling on steep, rough trails, and walking on private property, you already can take a four-mile walk along the likely route of this trail system, which passes through three little-known Newton conservation areas and two paths along the Charles.
2019 update: a detour is required because of a locked gate at a footbridge across the Charles. See the map above, and the description below.
2021 updates: work is beginning on a stairway connecting the Upper Falls Riverwalk with the Upper Falls Greenway, and planning has begun for the construction of a pedestrian trail on the old railroad bridge across the Charles. See details below.
2022 update: the state legislature appropriated $1.25 million to build a new pedestrian bridge across the Charles to replace the old railroad bridge. Read more about this project.
The description that follows starts from the Newton Highlands station on the MBTA Green Line, and ends at the Eliot station. Walking from Eliot back to Newton Highlands adds another 0.7 miles. The walk can of course be done in the opposite direction.
November 2019 update: The gate is currently locked, and a detour is needed. Turn right on Christina street, and walk one block to Needham Street. Cross Needham Street and continue straight ahead on the sidewalk of what is now Oak Street, as shown below.
January 2021 update from the Newton Conservation Commission: “The City applied for and received a Fiscal Year 2020 MassTrails grant to conduct a feasibility study on the abandoned rail bridge that crosses the Charles River (between Newton and Needham) from the Barry Price Center parking lot on Christina Street. The study will help determine what work needs to be done to establish a fully accessible, bicycle-pedestrian bridge to assist commuters and provide recreational access to the DCR trails on the Needham side of the river.” Learn more about this study on the Conservators website and on the City of Newton website.
November 2022 update: the state legislature appropriated $1.25 million to build a new pedestrian bridge across the Charles to replace the old railroad bridge.
If the gate has been reopened, follow the route described here. If the gate is locked, follow Christina Street to Needham Street, as described above, and pick up the route here.
November 2019 update: If you’ve been following the detour, pick up the original route here.