Along the Charles in Upper Falls

An informal trail has long followed the Charles River shoreline north from the end of the Upper Falls Greenway, ending at a chain link fence bordering Bobby Braceland Playground.  However, the difficulty of climbing the fence discouraged use of the trail.

In 2022, the Parks, Recreation & Culture department installed a gate in the fence, allowing easy access to the trail.

The one-mile loop described on this page includes the newly passable trail as well as the Upper Falls Riverwalk.  A half-mile loop skips the Riverwalk, and instead begins on the Upper Falls Greenway. (see directions for half-mile loop)

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Description of one-mile loop

The trail begins where the Upper Falls Greenway crosses Oak Street.  Start by walking south on the sidewalk of Oak Street, away from the Chestnut Street traffic light.

Turn right on Williams Street.  At the end of the street, enter the Upper Falls Riverwalk Conservation Area.

Walk on the path straight ahead, which leads the the riverbank.  Turn right and walk along the river. In 0.2 miles, you’ll come to the old railroad embankment with the Upper Falls Greenway on the top.

Don’t walk up the embankment.  Instead, take the informal trail that goes to the left, down to the riverbank.  The trail has wooden steps at the steepest part, but it still requires some careful footwork.

Follow the trail along the Charles, under the old railroad bridge.

On the other side of the bridge, bear left as you pass the sign indicating the direction to Braceland Park.

Follow the riverbank trail another 0.2 miles to the new gate in the fence around Braceland Park.

At this point, you can either complete the loop by walking through the gate into Braceland Park, or you can continue along the Charles for another 0.2 miles, until the trail ends at private property:

Turn back at this point and return to the gate.

Walk through the gate, turn right, and walk through the park to the parking lot at Chestnut Street.

Turn right on the Chestnut Street sidewalk and walk to Oak Street, where the walk began.


Description of half-mile loop

This loop also begins where the Upper Falls Greenway crosses Oak Street.  Start by walking southwest along the Greenway, on the side of Oak Street opposite the old train depot building.

At the end of the Greenway at the old railroad bridge over the Charles, enjoy the view downstream.

Photo by Julie Brody

Now, turn right and take the stairs down to the river.

Walk down the steps in front of the Braceland Park sign.  At the bottom of the hill, turn right onto the trail.

Follow the directions above, in the one-mile loop, to circle back to the starting point.