This page describes an 8-mile loop beginning and ending in Newton Centre. It covers both
aqueducts, and makes the connection between them by walking on the trail and road shoulder along Quinobequin Road.
The entire route can be walked (or, more likely, bicycled) in either direction. A detailed description of the counter-clockwise direction starts below.
Many shorter variations are also possible, taking advantage of the fact that the D-Riverside branch of the MBTA Green Line crosses or is close to both aqueducts at the Newton Centre, Eliot, and Waban stations.
Map of Starting Point
Centre Street and Tyler Terrace
Centre Street and Tyler Terrace
Centre Street and Tyler Terrace
Centre Street and Tyler Terrace
Maps of the full route:
Online map Photos
Begin the walk at the corner of Centre Street and Tyler Terrace (opposite the fire station) in Newton Centre. Walk down the paved path.
Continue between the tennis courts and the basketball court.
Cross a small stream, and stay on the paved path, with the playground on your right.
Walk to the left of the little league field and then turn onto the soccer fields.
On the other side of the soccer field, walk up an embankment to the aqueduct.
Turn left onto the aqueduct, and enter the woods. Walk past an old pumping station.
The woods end as the trail reaches Pleasant Street. The aqueduct crosses the street here, but the route is impassible on the other side. So, a detour is needed.
Walk left on the Pleasat Street sidewalk to Bracebridge Road. Turn right.
Walk along the road next to the fence bordering 15 Bracebridge Road.
Note the sign at the edge of the property. Don’t go through this gap in the fence, but continue along the sidewalk, to the newly created path that crosses the land protected by a conservation easement donated to the Conservators by the Wilson Family.
Enter the new trail here. Note to bicyclists and dog walkers: The route described below goes on an easement across private property. You must stay on the path and walk your bike. Dog walkers must keep their dogs on leash.
Walk down the new trail.
Walk up a gentle slope to a trail junction. The Wilson Conservation Area is straight ahead. Turn right.
The trail meets the Cochituate Aqueduct. Bear left, and continue until you come out of the woods at Greenlawn Avenue.
As the aqueduct crosses under Greenlawn Avenue, it is adjacent to the Sudbury Aqueduct. You’ll revisit this spot on your return.
Turn right to stay on the aqueduct.
At Beacon Street, a detour is needed as the aqueduct goes under the Whole Foods Market parking lot. Turn right on the Beacon Street sidewalk, and continue to Walnut Street.
Cross both Beacon and Walnut Streets, to the far corner.
Turn left (south) on Walnut Street.
Take the first right on Carthay Circle.
Turn left onto the second driveway, made of gravel, on the left side of Carthay Circle.
Walk down the driveway.
At the end of the driveway, bear right around a fence and a bush to find the aqueduct trail.
Almost immediately, the trail forks. Stay right to keep on the aqueduct.
Bear left to stay on the aqueduct as another trail forks down and to the right.
The trail crosses a park driveway and joins the Cold Spring Park exercise trail.
Continue on the aqueduct, and bear right to reach Plymouth Road.
Cross Plymouth Road.
The aqueduct is in a large trench.
The trail climbs to the left.
At the top, take a sharp right on an earthen “bridge” across the trench. (Another trail continues straight ahead at this point.)
Take a sharp left, and walk down a steep slope to the aqueduct.
Cross Beethoven Avenue.
Cross Allen Avenue.
Cross Upland Road.
Cross Homestead Street.
The aqueduct approaches busy Chestnut Street.
2021 update: The next segment of the route is blocked by a chain-link fence erected by the owner of the land under which the aqueduct passes. A detour is needed. Turn left on the Chestnut St sidewalk. At the traffic light, turn right on Woodward. In 1/10th of a mile, you’ll reach the aqueduct again. Cross Woodward street and re-enter the aqueduct.
Cross Chestnut and enter a small pathway, marked by stepping stones just to the left of a driveway.
Follow the stepping stones.
Keep to the right edge of the lawn until reaching the trail.
Continue, crossing busy Woodward Street, through a gap in a white fence.
When you reach the Waban MBTA station parking lot, a detour is needed. If you need a detour for a rest room or refreshments, a Starbucks is around the corner to your right.
Cross to the far corner of the parking lot, then walk up the steps to Beacon Street.
Turn left on the sidewalk, and walk on the bridge over the MBTA tracks.
Cross the first part of Collins Road.
Cross the second part of Collins Road. Turn left onto the sidewalk of Collins Road, then immediately bear right onto Waban Avenue.
After a block, the aqueduct resumes in a woodsy strip between the two roadways of Waban Avenue. A shortcut is possible here. It bypasses almost a mile of not particularly scenic territory. When you reach Carlton Road, turn left and walk downhill to Quinobequin Road. Cross to the far side of the road, turn left, and proceed as described below.
Cross Crofton Road, staying on the path through the wooded area.
The trail climbs slightly to Carlton Road.
Cross Carlton Road.
Bear left to stay in the woods as the trail approaches Waban Avenue on the right.
After a moment, the trail approaches the left-hand segment of Waban Avenue. Bear right.
Cross to the woodsy island.
A bench awaits you.
Continue across Alban Road.
Continue until the woodsy Waban Avenue median ends at Varick Road. As it crosses Varick Road, the aqueduct takes a left turn onto a grassy area to the right of a long hedgerow.
Walk past an old structure that was used to pump water in the aqueduct to the top of Varick Hill. You’re now passing the small Varick Hill Conservation Area.
Walk down the steep hill to East Quinobequin Road, where there is an MWRA building. Turn left, and left again onto Quinobequin Road. You leave the Cochituate Aqueduct here.
Walk parallel to Quinobequin Road for about 1.5 miles. Although there is parkland on the right side for the entire way, there is a path for only part of the distance. At times, you’ll need to walk along the shoulder of Quinobequin Road. While walking on the shoulder, be extremely careful with the traffic. The path is fairly rough, and crosses some wet spots as it goes along the river edge. Please notes that parts of the trail may be impassable in summer due to poison ivy.
A local naturalist has marked locations along what she calls the “Charles River Wetlands Trail.” You can scan QR code signs placed on posts along the trail.
Despite the sound barrier installed in 2010, noise from I-95 is a distraction.
Follow the trail into the woods. It’s impossible to get lost here, since the Charles River is never far from the road. Your goal is to keep walking south, between river and road.
Beavers are active in the area. (2016)
A short side trail needs to a nice spot on the river.
Several small bridges cross wet areas.
The trail climbs to rejoin Quinobequin Road. As you climb the guardrail, watch for traffic coming from the left. Turn right.
At Route 9, our route walks under the road and then turns right to explore Echo Bridge and Hemlock Gorge, which begins just on the other side of the Route 9 underpass. If you don’t have time for this exploration, the route returns to this point in a bit, and walks up the hill on the sidewalk on the north side of Route 9.
Walk under Route 9, and turn right onto the sidewalk of the frontage road.
Walk past the spillway that was rebuilt in 2012.
Continue on the trail on the left side of the guardrail.
Walk past the circular dam.
Turn left on the trail, keeping the river on your left.
As you approach Echo Bridge, you pass a bench placed in honor of Kenneth W. Newcomb, a local historian who wrote “A Walking Tour of Hemlock Gorge.”
Cross the footbridge. Turn left. (A short detour to the right takes you on a path with a view across the stream to “Devil’s Den.” The path then leads on to New Pond. Retrace your steps to here.)
Follow the trail uphill.
Bear left at the top of the hill, and follow the path until it reaches the Sudbury Aqueduct. Turn left.
Cross Echo Bridge, which carries the aqueduct high above the Charles.
The bridge was closed in 2006 because the railings were unsafe. Temporary fencing was installed, and state officials are considering permanent repairs.
The view upstream (to the right) includes the site of Newton’s first mill on the Charles River, built in 1588.
At the end of the bridge, turn left and walk down the stairs. (For refreshments or rest rooms, walk straight ahead a few feet to Chestnut Street, and turn right. Several restaurants are a five-minute walk away. Return here to continue.)
At the foot of the steps, cross Ellis Street and walk alongside the bridge to the echo platform at the river.
Walk back towards the road, and turn left onto a trail near the river. Follow the trail all the way to Route 9.
Cross under Route 9.
Cross the frontage road, turn right to cross Quinobequin Road, and walk up hill on the sidewalk.
Cross Chestnut Street and continue uphill.
Turn left onto a grassy area where the Sudbury Aqueduct meets Route 9.
Continue on the aqueduct, bearing right to reach Arlo Road.,
Ignore two fences and an obsolete “No Trespassing” sign to continue.
As you near the MBTA tracks, another detour is needed. Turn right down a well-worn path that crosses the aqueduct.
Turn left on Cragmore Road, which immediately becomes Canterbury Road.
Follow Canterbury until it reaches Meredith Avenue. Turn left and enter the Eliot MBTA station.
A 2-mile segment of this walk begins here and ends in Newton Centre. If you’ve had enough walking, you can hop on an inbound train and return to Newton Centre, where the long walk began. Trains run at least every 10 minutes.
Cross the tracks and the station parking lot.
Turn left onto Harrison Street. For refreshments, don’t turn left on Harrison. Instead, walk straight ahead on Lincoln Street a half mile to Newton Highlands. To pick up the route, turn left onto Walnut Street, and rejoin the walk where the aqueduct crosses Walnut Street, just before you get to Whole Foods Market.
At the end of Harrison, turn right and rejoin the aqueduct.
Cross Dickerman Road.
Cross Woodward Street.
The earthen berm through which the aqueduct passes is clearly visible.
Turn left onto Mountfort Road…
…and then immediately turn right onto Wood End Road. The aqueduct is on your right.
Turn left onto Bowdoin Street…
…and then right onto Hillside Road.
In just a few feet, bear left onto the aqueduct.
Continue across Duncklee Street.
Cross Kingman Road, and continue on the aqueduct on the other side.
Follow a rough path down to the sidewalk of Walnut Street.
Cross busy Walnut Street, and continue on the aqueduct.
Follow the aqueduct to Beacon Street. (Refreshments and rest rooms are available at the Whole Foods Market just a few feet to the left.) The aqueduct continues on the other side of Beacon Street.
The strip of land you’re walking on includes both aqueducts. When you get to the next street, Greenlawn Avenue, the aqueducts divide. Turn left on Greenlawn.
Walk a few steps and turn right to enter the woods. Follow the path on top of the aqueduct.
Turn right, and walk down a small hill.
At the next fork, bear left. Ahead of you and to the right is the Wilson Conservation Area, donated to the City of Newton by Andree and Richard Wilson in the 1990s.
The Andree D. Wilson Treeway is on land protected from development by a conservation restriction donated to the Newton Conservators by the Wilsons in 2012. Andree Wilson was a noted conservationist, who died in 2016. The path is on privately owned land. Bicyclists must walk their bikes. Dog walkers must leash their dogs.
Follow the trail up a hill.
Turn left onto Bracebridge Road.
You’ll soon come to the house, known as Mount Pleasant, where Andree and Richard Wilson lived for many years. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Continue on Bracebridge to Pleasant Street.
Cross Pleasant Street.
Walk between Mason Rice School and its parking lot.
Follow the paved path into the Newton Centre Playground, and bear left to cross a small stream.
Bear right on the path towards the park playground.
Bear right towards the tennis courts, and continue to the corner of Centre Street and Tyler Terrace, where the walk began.