This loop walk or bike ride is about 7 miles long. Almost all of the route is on the Charles River Path, with just a couple of sidewalk detours.
You can start the walk at any point along the loop. The description below starts from
Bridge Street and does the western loop first, followed by the eastern loop. Parking is available on the side streets parallel to Bridge Street.
The western loop alone is about 7 miles round trip.
this page for descriptions of shorter and longer trips along the Charles. Eastern section of walk
Printable Version of Map Western section of walk
Note: In December 2015, a new section of the path was completed along the river, making a direct connection between Elm Street and the Charles River Museum of Industry. The new section is shown in red on this map and is included in the description below. Also, please refer to this article.
The walk begins in front of this old mill building at the corner of Bridge and California Streets
Walk west on the California Street sidewalk until you reach the trees just past the mill building. Enter the Riverwalk.
Cross the Blue Heron Bridge, which opened in 2004.
When the path ends at Farwell Street, turn left on the sidewalk, cross the bridge, and then cross the street to rejoin the path on the Newton side of the river.
The path on the south side of the river ends at Elm Street.
In December 2015, a new section of the path was completed along the north side of the river, making a direct connection between Elm Street and the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.
Ignore the arrow on this sign.
Instead, turn right and walk across the bridge.
Looking upstream, you can see the new pathway next to the museum.
As you reach the end of the bridge, look down to see the new path.
Turn right to enter the path.
The path circles underneath the bridge, and comes out onto the walkway next to the museum.
Consider making a visit to the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.
Continue past the museum and walk through the park to Moody Street.
Refreshments and diversions of all kinds are available if you turn left and cross the Moody Street bridge.
This trip turns back now. If you wish to continue on a longer trip, consult this guide.
Enter the path at the north end of the Moody Street bridge, with the Charles on your right. You are heading to the east.
Proceed along the edge of the river; bear left towards the museum.
The path goes below the Elm Street bridge.
The path loops around and goes up to the bridge. Turn left on the bridge, and enter the Riverwalk.
Cross Newton Street and continue on the Riverwalk.
Cross the river on Farwell Street.
Enter the Riverwalk again.
Cross the Blue Heron Bridge.
The path ends on California Street. Continue on the sidewalk to Bridge Street, and turn left onto the bridge, without crossing the street.
Follow the heron footprints on the sidewalk.
Bemis Mill and the remains of the old Bemis Dam
Jack Frost illustration of Bemis Dam
Once you’ve walked over the river, cross the street and enter the Riverwalk.
If you have a much longer trip in mind, you can follow the signs for the East Coast Greenway, which eventually will lead from Maine to Florida.
Bear right onto a dirt path as the trail approaches a swimming pool.
Cross the river from Watertown Square on the Galen Street bridge.
Turn right on the sidewalk of California Street.
Cross a footbridge over Laundry Brook.
Continue along the edge of Forte Park (formerly Allison Park).
Walk past Post 440, the site of the Conservators annual meeting.
Walk along the sidewalk for a while to reach Bridge Street, where the walk began.