Paths/Trails

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Table Of Contents

City of Boston existing proposed
Metro Boston existing proposed
North Shore existing proposed
South Shore existing proposed
Central Massachusetts existing proposed
Western Massachusetts existing proposed
Cape Cod and the Islands existing proposed
Other Resources link

City Of Boston

Current

Boston Bike Paths and Trails

Arnold Arboretum[Link] [map]
This 125-year-old Boston city park and Harvard research center was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and has a wonderful set of roads which are mostly closed to motorized traffic. While they were once closed to bicycles, that is no longer true. Peters Hill, on which you now have to walk the last 200 feet to the summit, provides the best grounded view of Boston from within its boundaries. The Arboretum is both part of the connector to other Boston bikeways, such as Stony Brook Reservation.

Paul Dudley White Charles River Bikepaths [Link] [map]
This 14-mile loop follows both banks of the Charles River from the Museum of Science in Boston to Watertown Square, in Watertown. The quality varies from 12 feet wide with center stripes to 4 feet wide with 6-inch drops at the edges. In some places it is barely wide enough for one bicycle to pass another safely; in others, there are separate bicycle and pedestrian paths. Despite the fact that Federal funds paid for the completion of this bikepath, it remains a constant battle to keep it safely maintained. The path can be entered at any point on the Cambridge and Watertown sides, from all but the Longfellow and B.U. Bridges on the Boston side, and from footbridges over Storrow Drive. The Urban Parks Division of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) manages and maintains this path.

The MDC has extended the path upstream through its Upper Charles Reservation, which runs from Watertown to South Natick. An upstream extension to Bridge St. in Watertown on both sides of the river was completed in 1997, and a further extension almost to Moody St. on the south side of the river was completed by early 1998. In the fall of 2005, a new bridge over the Charles between Newton and Watertown between Bridge and Farwell Streets closed the last major gap, though work continues in 2006 to finish the last quarter mile to Moody St. in Waltham. Most of the path downstream from Watertown Square is plowed when it snows.

Forest Hills Cemetery[Link]
Unlike the more famous local garden cemetery, Cambridge’s Mt. Auburn, Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston allows bicyclists to ride through. It is well-landscaped and has many wide roads. During daylight hours, you can usually exit at Walk Hill St. as well as the main Morton St. entrance.

Franklin Park[Link] [map]
There are several roads which are closed to traffic in this terminus of the Emerald Necklace which allow a cyclist to circle the park past barriers which prevent cars from getting through. The road to Scarborough Pond is especially beautiful.

Pierre Lallement Southwest Corridor Bikepath [Link] [map]
Running through the Southwest Corridor Linear Park along the rapid transit Orange Line are four miles of separate bicycle and pedestrian paths. This path provides an alternative to the congested and otherwise-inhospitable roadways between downtown Boston and its southern neighborhoods. Built by the MBTA, the park is managed by the MDC. It passes within blocks of the house where the inventor of the pedal bicycle, Pierre Lallement, died in the nineteenth century.

Melnea Cass Bikepath
This path was built at the same time as Melnea Cass Boulevard and leads from the Southwest Corridor Linear Park at Ruggles MBTA station toward South Boston. The surface is in horrible shape, but it is better signed than most Boston bikepaths. There has been some repaving of the worst parts in recent years.

Millenium Park[Link] [map]
This 100-acre park, opened on the former Gardner St. Landfill in November 2000, contains several miles of paved bike/pedestrian trails and has great views of the Charles River and the MDC’s giant Cutler Park wilderness. There is a bridge over Sawmill Brook connecting the parks paved paths to Brook Farm Reservation’s unpaved ones. Drainage on the Brook Farm paths is poor, and they should be walked when muddy.

Muddy River Bikepath
This path runs along the north bank of the Muddy River from Park Drive in Boston almost to Brookline Avenue in Brookline. This pleasant alternative to streets, maintained by the town of Brookline and the city of Boston could be extended to Kenmore Square along an unused railroad right-of-way. On the other end, south of Route 9, Riverside Road has been grassed over and a separated bicycle pedestrian path has been paved to Cypress St. Connection of this path across Route 9 is part of the Emerald Necklace Greenway Project. The Muddy River Restoration Project is currently ongoing and will affect the path’s environment for the better, but it is not clear whether there will be a direct effect on the path itself.

Jamaicaway Bikepath
This path runs from Route 9 on the northwest bank of Leverett Pond along the Jamaicaway to the southeast bank of Jamaica Pond. Maintained by the Boston Department of Parks and Recreation, it follows the bridle path of Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1891 design. Extension of this path across Rt. 9 and along the Riverway to Netherlands St., where it can connect to Brookline’s Muddy River path, is part of the Emerald Necklace Greenway Project.

Neponset River Greenway [link]
This DCR-owned greenspace includes a railroad right-of-way which extends from the harbor in Dorchester to Central Avenue in Milton. Phase I, from Port Norfolk to Central Avenue in Milton, was paved in 2002. It includes marshes and the Pope John Paul II Park along the Neponset Estuary, and will connect through Port Norfolk to the MDC’s Harbor Path. The Boston Natural Areas Fund is looking at extending this path up the Neponset to Readville, where a side spur could easily connect to the Blue Hills. For a map of planed developments as well as elevations included in the master plan please Click Here (pdf). For information on the master plan please Click Here.

Stony Brook Reservation Bikepaths [Link][map]
These little-known bikepaths wind through an MDC reservation Boston’s highest point, Bellvue Hill in West Roxbury to the Mother Brook, which connects the Charles and Neponset Rivers, in Hyde Park. Despite its location within Boston, it passes through some very wild terrain and provides an interesting alternative to the heavily traveled parkways which parallel it. The MDC finally fixed the worse parts of the trail in the fall of 2005, though there are still a few tricky places. Most bicycle paths are paved, although other non paved trails exist, mostly for walking.

Bike to Logan International Airport[link]
Here is the text from MassBike’s pamphlet on biking to and from Boston’s Logan International Airport, with hints on flying with your bike.

Planned

Proposed Boston Bike Paths and Trails

Charles River Bikepath Harbor Extension
The Charles River Bikepath can be extended downstream to the Charles River Dam, at least on the north side. It could then connect to a Charlestown Waterfront Path to the north and the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s proposed Harbor Walk to the south.

Charles River Upstream Extension
The Charles River Bikepath can be extended upstream from Watertown to Brook Farm in West Roxbury and to the Mother Brook in Dedham. The MDC is working on the first stage, to Newton Lower Falls.

Boston Harbor Path
The MDC is working on a continuous pathway from Castle Island in South Boston to Neponset Circle in Dorchester. The path is complete from Castle Island around Columbia Point, except for 100 feet of grass next to the Kennedy Library, and south along Morrisey Boulevard, though not all of it is in good shape. Some of the best water views of Boston are available from the north side of Columbia Point. There is a bit of path at Victory Road Park, and the MDC has an easement across Boston Gas property which would link this to the Morrisey Ave. drawbridge, bypassing some awkward expressway ramps. The path picks up at Tenean Beach in Port Norfolk, and back streets connect it to the harbor end of the Neponset River Greenway.

Boston Harbor Walk
The Boston Redevelopment Authority has studied an almost continuous public walk from the North End to South Boston. The MDC is working on a continuous pathway from Castle Island in South Boston to Neponset Circle in Dorchester. The path is complete around Columbia Point, including a path around the Kennedy Library.

Charlestown Waterfront Bikepath
We have the beginning in the Paul Revere Landing Park, which is fairly easily connected to the USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard, through which bikes, but not cars, can pass. Now the Boston Redevelopment Authority has to reserve waterfront space to get bikes and pedestrians to the Broadway (Route 99) Bridge over the Mystic River. The abandonment of the Mystic Wharf Branch rail line may provide an opportunity for an off-road connection from the harbor to Broadway (Route 99).

East Boston Greenway [Link]
An abandoned railroad right-of-way, donated to the Boston Natural Areas Fund in 1996, connects marshes, beaches, playing fields, Logan Airport, MBTA stations, and residential areas throughout the East Boston community. In 1999, ISTEA enhancements money is funding construction of the southernmost half-mile, from Boston Harbor north to Logan Airport. In the future, the Greenway will be extended to Belle Isle Marsh, on the northern edge of Boston, next to Revere, largely on MDC-owned land.

Emerald Necklace Greenway [Link]
MassBike is working on reconnecting Frederick Law Olmsted’s original Emerald Necklace of parks and park ways so bicyclists and pedestrians do not have to take their lives in their hands as they try to cross the heavy traffic of the “parkways” along and across this park system which currently includes closed roads in the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park, the Jamaicaway Bikepath and the Muddy River Bikepath.

North Bank Bridge Connector [Design Picture]
Recently approved with stimulus funds this bridge connection will connect East Cambridge and Cambridge multiuse trails with Paul Revere Park in Charleston, North Point Park, and Charles River Esplanade as well as the Charles River Conservancy Skatepark with connection to the Boston waterfront. Bridges will be open to non motorized users and pedestrians. The connector is made up of a series of bridges and connector paths, all of which received funding, went out to bid, and have been under construction since Fall of 2009. Expected completion date is Spring of 2012.

South Bay Harbor Trail [Link][Map]
This 3.5 mile trail will access Inner-city Boston to the Boston Harbor via Melnea Cass Boulevard and the southern Central Artery and Fort Point Channel corridors, connecting recreational and employment opportunities within the emerging South Boston Waterfront District. The South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition, composed of area businesses and institutions as well as community groups and other nonprofit entities, is working to coordinate construction and design of new highway infrastructure along the southern reaches of the Central Artery Project. An ISTEA grant is being used to assist in the planning and development of the trail alignment. Construction of the trail is well under way with significant sections around Ruggles station and the waterfront already completed. Completion is tentatively planned right now for the end of 2010. Adopted as a pilot project of the “Campaign for the Water’s Edge”, more information about Harbor Trail is available through Save the Harbor/Save the Bay of Boston, www.savetheharbor.org or (617)-451-2860. Groups or individuals interested in joining the SBHT Coalition may inquire by calling either SHSB or Michael Tyrrell (project founder and planning chair) at 617-441-7739.

West Roxbury Linear Park [Map] [Boston Open Space Plan]
This right-of-way, from the Star Market on Spring St. to the Dedham border, very close to the Dedham Mall, is owned by the MBTA. Originally, the Providence and New Haven line, it was closed in 1941 and later bought by the MBTA, probably at the same time as they acquired what is now the Needham Commuter Rail line. It is nearly intact in the city except for a missing bridge over Spring St. At the Dedham end, it runs into the Super Stop and Shop and is buried by the parking lot there. The bridge over the Mother Brook is long since gone, as is the right of way to Dedham Center. The location of the Dedham station is now the terminus of two trails planned by the Town of Dedham. The line originally continued on to Providence, but the next part of the right-of-way is now buried by U.S. 1. In early 1998, the MBTA expressed interest in selling off part of the line to developers, but no developers were chosen. The MBTA currently plans to sell of the right of way in the second half of 2003, with abutters apparently getting first chance at purchase. In deference to neighborhood opposition to a park, the City of Boston is not involved at this time.

Winthrop Greenway
This Greenway will be on MDC land along the Winthrop side of the Belle Isle Inlet, eventually connecting the East Boston Greenway to the ocean at Short Beach. The Greenway is currently a footpath, and paving is not planned, but it is interesting due to its connections.

Metro Boston

Current

Metro Boston Bike Paths and Trails

Assabet River Rail Trail [Link][Map]
A group of citizens is working to establish a 12.5 mile bike and pedestrian path on a long-abandoned railroad right-of-way paralleling the Assabet River through Hudson, Stow, and Maynard, with connections to Marlborough and the MBTA commuter rail station in South Acton. In 1998, all five communities started to acquire land for the trail. By October 2003, 1.25 miles of the trail are paved in Marlborough and 0.6 miles graded in Maynard. Construction of 5 miles through Hudson and Marlborough was completed in September 2005. In July 2009 a vital ROW was purchased by the towns from a private owner, it is currently packed earth but expected to be paved soon, it is open to the public. Also in July the MPO voted to include full paving funding for the entire route in its future budget. In December of 2009 and May 2010 crossing upgrades were done in two areas to provide better crossing notification.

Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Bicycle Trails [Link][Map]
Most of the refuge is off-limits to all but pedestrians, however thanks to work by the Assabet Rail Trail committee and the towns of Stow and Maynard, a section of unused roads through the park has been opened up to cyclists. This provides a connection into the Assabet River Rail Trail as well as the recently (early 2010) completed visitor center. Roads are unpaved and paved with varying conditions, please see the above map link for the bicycle specific trails. Please always respect trails and wildlife when riding in designated parks and refuges.

Battle Road Trail[Link]
This multi-access 6-mile interpretative, stone-dust surfaced trail is part of the Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln and Concord. It provides cycling/walking access to the park’s spectacular historical and natural resource areas. Free bike tours are led by park rangers are offered every other Sunday afternoon (June through October). This is for pedestrians, wheelchairs and bikes; if you are trying to get somewhere fast, use either Route 2A, or Virginia Road and Route 62.

Bay Circuit Trail[Link] [map]
Focused on a 200 mile corridor of 50 cities and towns and working with 50 different organizations, the Bay Circuit Trail is an outer “Emerald Necklace” of metropolitan Boston, linking Plum Island and Newburyport on the North Shore to Duxbury on the South Shore. Over 150 miles of a total 200 miles of multi-access, passive recreational trail have been dedicated. 36 of the remaining 50 miles are in negotiation or are nearing construction, including some paved portions. The Bay Circuit Alliance is working to build the rest and complete the network. Some, but not all, of the trail is open to cyclists. Most is unpaved and will remain so, however certain portions may be paved.

Bedford Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail[Link]
This three-mile-long stone-dust right-of-way runs from the end of the Minuteman Bikeway in Bedford to Billerica. This bikeway is believed to be the only rail-trail in the country constructed over a two-foot narrow-gauge railroad right-of-way. The route was built in 1877 by the Billerica & Bedford Railroad, America’s first two-foot common-carrier railway. In 1885, the line was rebuilt into the standard-gauge Lexington Branch. It was abandoned in 1962. Recent work has involved connecting a 10 foot pedestrian sidewalk from the trailhead to the Minuteman trailhead.

Bruce Freeman Trail [Link][Map(pdf)]
The 25-mile Framingham & Lowell Railroad right-of-way is being converted into a multipurpose rail trail. Phase 1, a 7-mile stretch that runs from Cross Point Towers in Lowell under Route 3 through Chelmsford Center and into Westford near Route 225, has been funded and construction was finished in 2009! The rail trail will consist of a 10-foot wide paved path with graded shoulders.Phase 2, a 13-mile stretch that runs from Westford though Carlisle, Acton, Concord, and into Sudbury, will terminate at Route 20. Phase 3, a 5-mile stretch owned by CSX Railroad, runs from Route 20 in Sudbury to Route 9 in Framingham. A CTPS feasibility study determined that this route was viable and negotiations with CSX are currently underway. Connection with a future Concord River Greenway is being studied and worked on. A group called Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail has been incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) to provide support for the rail trail and has a web site at www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org.

Fitchburg Cutoff Bikepath[Link][Map]
This little-known rail-trail conversion runs for a little less than a mile west from the northwest corner of the Alewife MBTA station to Brighton St. near the Cambridge-Belmont line. The surface is crushed stone, but it can be quite rideable. A useful bypass to Concord Avenue in Cambridge and Lake Street in Arlington, it is maintained by the Metropolitan District Commission as part of the Alewife Brook Reservation. The Mass. Highway Department is planning to cover it with an ADA-acceptable soft surface, and the DCR is thinking of building a bridge to connect it to the Alewife MBTA station. The Town of Belmont is looking at ways to connect their end to Belmont Center, possibly along the unused third track right-of-way of the MBTA’s Fitchburg line. As of September of 2009 reconstruction bids were put out for a new bridge connection and surface improvements, including possible paving to make it more accessible. Reconstruction started in January of 2010 on the bridge and path.

Minuteman Commuter Bikeway [Link] [Map]
The Minuteman Bikeway passes through the historic area where the American Revolution began in April 1775. Today, the Minuteman Bikeway is one of the most popular and successful rail-trails in the United States, enjoyed for both healthy recreation and transportation. The bikeway has become a new type of Main Street where neighbors and strangers alike come together while riding, walking, or skating on the path. In 2008, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy inducted the Minuteman Bikeway into the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. Built by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an inactive railroad, the Minuteman Bikeway has become a treasured regional resource, used by local residents and visitors from near and far. Connecting to the Alewife T Station in Cambridge, the bikeway provides an easy way for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel to subway and bus lines, serving to reduce automobile traffic in the area. The bikeway is collectively managed and maintained by the four communities it passes through: Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge.

Lexington Bike Routes[Link]
Fourteen bicycle routes, 82 miles total, provide convenient ways to travel within Lexington. Most have one end at the town border on a road that enters a neighboring town. Many have the other end at Lexington Center where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. Others connect to middle schools. Several use or connect with the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. Three connect with the Minuteman National Historical Park. Each of the routes has separate cue sheets for the ride in each direction. Each cue sheet lists mileage, actions, and landmarks. These rides make good use of existing bicycle paths, identified bicycle lanes, and quiet residential streets.

Mystic River Bikepaths [Link] [Map Map of Extension (pdf)]
The DCR has a system of bikepaths along the Mystic River in Medford and Somerville. It could be connected to the Minuteman Bikeway by a spur along parkland along Alewife Brook, to Boston Harbor with an extension through Charlestown, and to points north. In 2001, the City of Somerville started working toward a >connection across Route 28 on the Somerville side in the .

When Red Line rapid transit was extended from Davis Square in Somerville to Alewife Brook in Cambridge, it was covered with a surface-level linear park. A wide, paved path runs through this long, narrow park, with only one awkward street crossing at Massachusetts Avenue. There is bicycle access from Cambridge and Somerville to the Alewife MBTA station, where connections can be made to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and the Fitchburg Cutoff Bikepath. The park was built by the MBTA and is maintained by the cities of Cambridge and Somerville. An 0.8 mile paved extension of this path from Davis Square to Cedar St. in Somerville was opened in 1995.

The Charles River Bikepaths have been extended upstream by the Metropolitan District Commission from Watertown Square on both sides of the river to Bridge St. and on the Newton side of the river from Farwell to Spring St., almost to Moody St. There is a further segment on the north side of the river upstream from Moody St. This is one of the newest bikepaths in Boston and a model of environmentally sensitive design. It is not a high-speed path, but provides many beautiful views of the river and its wildlife. Construction began in 2003 on the missing segment from Bridge St. to Farwell St. and has been completed it now fully connects Waltham Common and Watertown Square and is suprisingly picturesque and woody for its urban location. This trail is not to be confused with the Upper Charles Trail, which is many miles upstream, near the headwaters of the same river.

Wompatuck State Park[Link] [Map]
Miles of paved paths crisscross this former ammunition depot in Hingham. The terrain is rolling with very little elevation change.

Planned

Proposed Metro Boston Bikeways and Trails

Alewife Brook Bikepath[Link][Masterplan]
The DCR is in the process of building and repairing a bikepath in the Alewife Reservation along Alewife Brook, on the stretch where it forms the border between Cambridge and Somerville and Arlington, paralleling the Alewife Brook Parkway. This will provide a connection between the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and the Mystic River bikepath system, when that system is extended upstream past Medford Square. The final plans involve a paved path from the Minuteman connection North of the Alewife station to Broadway in Arlington. The path will continue north ending at the Mystic Valley Parkway, this northern path is currently planed to be a crushed stone aggregate. Bidding for construction started in January of 2010. Support and advocacy for this path is done through Somerville Friends of the Path.

Bedford Reformatory Branch Trail (Minuteman extension)[Link]
The Bedford Selectmen have expressed interest in extending the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway from its current terminus in Bedford to the Concord town line near Route 62. The trail from Route 62 into Bedford town center is open and passable, the trail surface varies from good packed earth to roots and former rail ties. Concord’s portion of the right-of-way is currently passable but not in good shape. Extension of the Minuteman Bikeway from Concord to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in West Concord on the old right-of-way faces major obstacles and will most likely require use of Route 62 as a connection. In March of 2010 at the Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting $210,000 in Community Preservation funds were appropriated to prepare 25% design plans to surface the Reformatory Branch Trail with asphalt. Construction costs are currently being sought from state and federal sources.

Bike to the Sea [Link] [map]
A group of cyclists in Malden thought up this rail-with-trail bikepath from the center of Malden through Everett to Revere Beach . A preliminary feasibility study was undertaken in 1995. There are possible connections to the north and to the Mystic River bikepaths. The City of Everett has applied for design money for the first phase of the Bike to the Sea path. This runs along a rail line that parallels the Malden River. The private developer of the old Monsanto property has committed to extend the path across that property. The developer has sought Bike to the Sea’s assistance in connecting a road and the path to Route 99 near the Mystic Station Power plant at the Boston line. Even if the developer does not come through on the underpass, the path can easily go under the Salem MBTA line Mystic River bridge and connect to Route 99. Work is currently ongoing with monies approved for another 1000foot section to be improved to allow access. Requests for funding for construction work have been presented to the Boston MPO as well as possible work with the Iron Horse Society on removing rails in Everett and Malden are currently being explored.

Central Mass. Rail Trail [Link][East Map][West Map]
104 miles connecting Boston to Northampton and points west. This trail is planned to connect a number of current and planned trails through central Mass. West from the end of the proposed Wayside Rail Trail in Berlin, the Central Mass. Line, while in private hands, is mostly undeveloped and may be recoverable. There is a wonderful 1/4-mile tunnel in Clinton right above the Wachusett Reservoir Dam which could be the terminus of a 40-mile-long trail from Boston and the start of a longer trail west. This trail parallels US. 20 through Waltham, Weston, Wayland, and Sudbury. After the reservoir, the right-of-way continues across the middle of the state. North of Worcester it would connect with existing rail trails in the Holden and Jefferson area and some open sections north of Rutland. In Amherst, it picks up the Norwottuck Trail following it to Northampton. Past Northampton the Northampton Bikeway continues the trail partway toward the town center of Williamsburg. Use sections at own risk, the maps above give information on sections that are currently open. Various groups are working on the sections of the right-of-way in their towns one at a time. West Boylston recently got a state greenway grant to develop a mile-and-a-half section. This would be a planned connection with the East Coast Greenway.

Cochituate Rail Trail [New Link][Old Link]
This projected rail trail utilizes the Saxonville Branch Line roadbed to create a thickly-wooded, multi-access linear park from the commuter-rail station in downtown Natick north along Lake Cochituate and to the day-use area of Cochituate State Park, plus car-free bike access past major highways to the very popular Natick Mall, Shoppers World and the Logan Express airport bus terminal in Framingham. The northern section, along the west bank of Cochituate Brook and up to Route 126 at the Sudbury River in Saxonville, will provide the same access from north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Side branches will attach schools and other neighborhoods. Framingham is close to completing plans and begin building by fall of 2010 on its 1.3 mile stretch, currently owned by the Mass. Turnpike Authority and the MBTA but already mostly prepared for trail use. A minor remaining rail use of Natick’s longer section will be phased out by mid-2006; Natick and CSX are negotiating accordingly. Natick is currently in the final planning stages. The entire path promises a well-wooded 4 mile bike and walking trail through a very dense, high-speed highway network, with inter-community connectivity to parks, offices, green-spaces, major recreational spots in eastern Massachusetts, schools, shopping destinations, commuter rail, local, intercity and airport buses. No parts of this trail are open for public access yet.

Dedham Rail-Trail
An abandoned rail line from the Readville station in Boston runs past the high school and almost to Route 1. Connections can be made to quite a bit of Dedham’s greenspace from this right-of-way, and it is being considered as part of Dedham’s Open Space Plan along with other bicycle amenities.

Minuteman Charles River Connector
Cathy Lewis of the state’s Central Transportation Planning Staff is working with local governments and citizens to create formal connecting routes and paths between the end of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway at Alewife Station in Cambridge and the Charles River bikepaths. The Somerville Community Path to Lowell Street and its extension along the planned(and delayed) Green Line Extension from Lechmere would fulfill this connection to Science Park and the Charles River bikepaths.

Mystic Crossing [Link]
Mystic Crossing’s core mission is to increase the vitality of the Lower Mystic Basin through construction of continuous and accessible pedestrian and bicycle connection across the Amelia Earhart Dam. This would connect the Draw 7 Path and the Assembly Square area in Somerville with the future Bike to the Sea bikepath which will run from Malden to Lynn. Eventually, connections can be made to the Charles River Bikepaths and the future Somerville Community Path, too. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation received $250,000 to plan this connection in January 2004 from Exelon, the operator of the Everett power generating station, as part of an EPA penalty for polluting the air. Design work was expected to start in 2004, but due to escalating costs upward of $6 million, plans and work have been reevaluated.

Somerville Community Path [Link] [Map]
The Community Path is a proposed linear park that would connect the existing bicycle/community path, which connects to the Red Line Linear Park and thus to the Minuteman Bikeway, from where it ends at Cedar Street to Lechmere and eventually to downtown Boston. It would go along the abandoned railroad right of way to Lowell Street, which is currently in phase 1 planning; then parallel the railroad tracks at street level (along the embankment) to City Hall/Somerville High School; it would descend into the railroad right of way before the McGrath Highway and continue to Lechmere, separated from the Commuter Rail and future Green Line trains by a fence and a safe distance. Other routes are also under consideration. The City report is online in Acrobat format. The Friends of the Path are urging the City of Somerville to apply for a DEM Greenways Grant to start construction of the trail. the proposed and planned Green Line expansion provides an opportunity to complete this connection, and would have the funds to do it.

Assembly Square/Mystic River Connection
The Somerville Office of Housing and Community Development is working with the Massachusetts Highway Department, the Metropolitan District Commission, and private developers in the Assembly Square area to design and build a bicycle and pedestrian connection along the Mystic River under the Wellington Bridge. This “undercarriage” connection would connect the Somerville-side Mystic River Reservation paths to Assembly Square and the existing Draw Seven Path. The planned mixed-use redevelopment of this waterfront area will provide an excellent opportunity to continue the connection, Phase 1 is currently in progress. It will eventually allow connections with Somerville’s entire riverfront.

Tri-Community Bikeway [Link] [Map]
This path through Woburn, Winchester, and Stoneham would connect the Mystic River, the Middlesex Fells, and the Bike to the Sea path, as well as much of the parkland in these three communities.

Upper Charles Trail [Link] [Map]
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council conducted a feasibility study for this trail which would run mostly on abandoned railroad rights-of-way through Framingham, Sherborn, Holliston, Milford, Hopkinton, and Ashland for at distance of 24 miles. The Town of Holliston has a website describing their portion, part of which is already a trail.

Watertown Branch Rail Trail [Link]
This not-yet-abandoned right-of-way runs from just behind the Fresh Pond Cinemas in Cambridge, past Fresh Pond through Kingsley Park, under Huron Ave. and Mount Auburn St., past Mount Auburn Cemetery and on to Watertown Square east of and roughly parallel to Arsenal St. Other than the difficult crossing of Concord Ave., it could provide a traffic-free connection from the Minuteman Bikeway and Danehy Park bikepaths to the Charles River bikepaths in Watertown Square. With some creativity, it might be possible to make a connection near the Arsenal St. Bridge as well. Acquisition from Alewife to School St. is currently being studied by the Massachusetts EOTC. The City of Watertown is planning construction from Grove to School Streets for Summer 2004.

Wayside Rail Trail [Link]
The MBTA owns the Waltham to Hudson section of the unused Central Mass. Line right-of-way, which runs from the Belmont border of Waltham to Northampton. On April 3, 1997, the state Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) released a preliminary feasibility study for a trail on 23 miles of this right-of-way from Waltham through Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, and Hudson to Berlin. By January 1, 1998, all of these towns except Weston approved the project. An inward extension through Belmont to Cambridge which would connect through the Fitchburg Cutoff Trail to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, Red Line Linear Park, and the MBTA Red Line Rapid Transit. To find out more about current activity on this trail, contact Dick Williamson at williamson@ll.mit.edu.

North Shore

Current

Northeastern Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Bay Circuit [Link] [Map]
120 miles of the projected 170-200 miles of this hiking trail are open to the public. When completed, it will encircle Boston from Newburyport to Duxbury at about the distance of I-495. Much of the trail is rideable. The nonprofit Bay Circuit Alliance is coordinating the cooperation of 50 cities and towns to make this trail possible.

Danvers Rail Trail[Link][Map](opening Sept 18th 2010!!)
The town signed a 99yr lease with the MBTA back in January of 2009 for an abandoned right of way section of 4.3 miles from around exit 47 on I95 Northeast crossing route 114 and continuing through downtown Danvers and ending near the Putnamville Reservoir to the North.

Recently the Iron Horse Society was contacted to remove rails and ties and replace with a crushed stone surface, future surfacing may be possible depending on usage. Iron Horse does this work for free and is relatively new to the area, but has a proven record of success. Iron Horse are working on at least 3 other trails in MA at the moment. Because of their work there will be an opening day for the completed rail trail September 18th 2010 at 10am. This will be one of the fastest rail trails to be successfully completed in the region and is great progress for the North Shore. There may be room for future expansion but there are no talks for that at the moment. The town has a rail trail committee as well as a not-for-profit called the Danvers Bi-Peds.

Gloucester
Several biking and walking trails start at Stage Fort Park Visitor Welcoming Center.

Independence Greenway[Map]
This 4.6 mile multi-use trail in Peabody was officially opened fall 2009. The trail follows the abandoned Boston and Maine railroad at Russell Street near the Middleton town line and continues east towards Route 1. Just west of the highway at Lt. Ross Park is a trail head and ample parking. From the park follow Johnson Street to Lowell Street under the highways to Peabody Road where the off-street trail begins again. This section continues east towards the North Shore Mall and Lahey Clinic. Parking is available at Lahey as well.

The trail, constructed by Mass Highway and funded by Peabody’s Community Preservation Committee and federal TEA-21 money, connects over 465 acres of publicly owned open space, numerous neighborhoods, and two shopping destinations. Proctor Brook, Ipswich River, and Norris Brook are all visible from the trail. The surface is a 10-foot wide bituminous path with 2-feet wide crushed stone shoulders; yellow striping designates travel lanes and location markers are every 1/10th mile.

Marblehead[Map] [Marblehead map] This trail on abandoned B&M rail right of way in Salem and Marblehead isn’t paved, but it is rideable. The Marblehead section is stonedust which is hard enough for touring bikes and passes through several conservation areas. SPIRIT, the Swampscott Partnership Initiative: Rails Into Trails is trying to extend the trail eastward into Swampscott, where it would connect to the high school and the commuter rail station.

Maudslay State Park [Link]
In Newburyport, this former estate has crushed stone bikepaths along the Merrimack River.

Planned

Proposed Northeastern Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Peabody and Salem
Abandoned rail rights-of-way in Peabody and Salem are the gateway to this truly long-distance trail which could connect Salem to Salisbury, at the New Hampshire Border.

Methuen Rail Trail[Link][Map]
Methuen is working to extend the current trail under construction and partially completed that goes from Derry, NH to the MA state line. This would bring the trail a further 2.5mi south from the state line. Parts are currently accessible by foot as basic clearing and cleaning have been done. Talks have started with The Iron Horse Preservation Society about completing the trail and if the lease from the MBTA goes through, work could be completed very quickly. This will be part of a greater network extending North and South with connections to the Salem NH Bike Ped corridor, Derry rail trail, and the future Spicket Greenway.

Newburyport
In August 1997, it was announced that a four-mile trail along two old rail lines would be built as part of the Newburyport/Newbury line commuter rail station project. From the train station near the Route 1 traffic circle, the path will follow two abandoned rail spurs, one winding through the South End and along the waterfront, and the other alongside Route 1, to the site of the city’s former train station on Winter Street. Connections to Plum Island, Maudslay State Park, and the Border to Boston Rail Trail are future possibilities.

Wakefield-Lynnfield Reedy Meadow Trail [Link]
This proposed recreational trail runs along the abandoned MBTA track that extends from the Junction in Wakefield through Reedy Meadow, and into Lynnfield.

South Shore

Current

Southeastern Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Fields Park
The main trail is on the road and is about 4.5 miles long. The road is 22 feet wide with 10 feet being used for the bike trail. The whole road is closed to cars week end mornings until about noon. There are several other shorter off road asphalt trails all in all a pleasant urban bike experience. John Dorgan, the park superintendent, has been given two grants to improve the bike trails and will start work next year.

New Bedford Bikepath
Currently a 1-mile path on New Bedford’s waterfront, this path might be extended to downtown, making it useful for transportation as well as recreation.

Phoenix Bike Trail, Fairhaven [Link] [Map] [more about trail]
This 3.3 mile trail runs from the ocean in Fairhaven to the Wareham town line following an old New Haven Railroad spur. Named after the Revolutionary and Civil War Fort Phoenix (several blocks from the waterfront path terminus), the right-of-way was bought by the town in 1954, though a path wasn’t planned until 1978. Construction wasn’t until 20 years later, in 1998. In 2004, a 2 mile spur from the DPW yard to the shore was completed.

Planned

Proposed Southeastern Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Franklin
The Metacomet Land Trust announced plans in August 1997 for a north-south trail corridor between Grove Street in Franklin and the Charles River at the Medway town line. The new trail would take up where the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) now ends. In addition to being the backbone of a network of trails and access routes linking open and recreation space throughout Franklin, this trail would connect the SNETT through Franklin to an abandoned rail bed off Village Street in Medway, not real far from the Upper Charles Bikepaths, on the eastern edge of Milford.

Mattapoisett Multi-Use Trail [Link] [Map] [More maps]
This proposed multi-access trail is part of a three-town project, starting with Fairhaven’s completed 3.5-mile Phoenix Bike Trai, and to be followed by a bike path network in Marion. The four-mile Mattapoisett trail is divided into four phases. The first phase passed two votes by the townspeople: the first approved the land taking, and the second vote approved the funding.

Wareham
for more information about proposed trails in wareham go here.

Norwood to Attleborough Rail Trail
This abandoned rail right-of-way is an important link in the future connection of Boston and Providence by the East Coast Greenway.

Old Colony Rail Trail
The Town of Mansfield owns 6 miles of right-of-way from the town center to the sewage treatment plant in Norton, and is currently planning a rail trail, both unpaved for horses and paved for bikes over most of its length.

Quequechan River Regional Bike Path [Link]
The City of Fall River has been working to develop a Pedestrian/Bike Path to be used for recreation and transportation purposes. Upon completion of all phases, the path will link many of Fall River’s most beautiful areas including Bicentennial Park, Heritage State Park and Britland Park. The path will traverse along scenic Watuppa Pond and the Quequechan and Taunton Rive

Central Massachusetts

Current

Central Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Snett
This 20-mile-long, multiple-use, unpaved trail runs between the Franklin and Douglas State Forests. It connects to other trails in Connecticut and Rhode Island and is recognized as a National Recreational Trail. It is owned and maintained by the DEM.

Biking & Hiking Worcester
A map published in 1999 by the City of Worcester, shows existing and proposed bike routes which will eventually connect most of the greenspace in the city to the Blackstone River Heritage Park. Half of the routes are complete. Paths go through Green Hill and Hadwien Parks. For further information, contact the Worcester Office of Planning and Community Development at (508)799-1400.

Massachusetts Central Rail Trail [Link]
This path is being promoted by Wachusett Greenways, The first stone-dust-surfaced 1-1/3-mile segment runs westward from Oakdale to just short of I-190 and opened in October 1997. It was built by the town of West Boylston with a grant from the DEM Greenways Program, and materials from DEM. Eventually the trail will be 30 miles long between Sterling and Oakham/Barre. The 104-mile long Central Massachusetts rail line originally ran from Boston to Northampton. The eastern end includes the Fitchburg Cutoff in Cambridge and the Wayside Rail Trail from Belmont to Berlin, and an interesting, privately-owned possibility between Berlin and the Wachusett Reservoir. To the west, it goes south of the Quabbin Reservoir, through Ware, Palmer, and Belchertown, becoming to the Norwottuck Trail between Amherst and Northampton.

Nashua River Rail Trail [Link] [Map] [Photos]
In the north central part of the Commonwealth, a 11-mile-long trail is being built along the Hollis Branch, a corridor running from Ayer to Dunstable through Groton and Pepperell. This path will have a 12-foot paved cyclist/skater trail, and a parallel 6-foot wide equestrian/pedestrian trail, separated by a 10-foot median. Final plans were completed in September 1997, and construction by the MHD finally began in the spring of 2001, with the first half completed by the end of that year. By fall of 2002, the entire trail has been paved. Danny O’Brien (727-3160 x557) is the DEM contact.

Gardner
This mile of paved bike path in Gardner starts at the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink parking lot (corner of Park St. & Central St. (Rt. 101)), and travels north along Crystal Lake ending at the edge of the Gardner Municipal Golf Course on Green St. There is a paved parking lot on the Green St. end (across from Mt. Wachusett Community College). There is a proposal to extend the trail in 2 directions from Green St. One spur would go over to the Heritage State Park at Dunn’s Pond on Rt. 101 in Gardner. A longer spur is proposed to travel north into Winchendon along an old rail bed which continues on into New Hampshire. As of the summer of 2004, it looks like this trail has reached Route 140 from Winchendon, and there is supposed to be another piece done in Gardner. Eventually the trail will link downtown Gardner to downtown Winchendon, for a total length of 12-16 miles (depending on the source of the information).

Ware River Rail-Trail [Link]
This unpaved state-owned trail is open for public use from Coldbrook to Baldwinville. An on-road detour is necessary through the village of Baldwinville, but the right-of-way is open for public use on an informal basis from the outskirts of Baldwinville to the outskirts of Winchendon, except where it is blocked by the Route 2 embankment 0.9 miles north of Templeton. Two rights-of-way extend into New Hampshire from Winchendon, making this trail a key link in an extensive network of interstate trails.

Planned

Proposed Central Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Belchertown
This 13-mile eastward extension of the Norwottuck Trail began its initial design phase with ISTEA funding. Lewis Louraine of the Belchertown Rail Trail Committee can provide further information. At a meeting on November 17, 1997, the town conducted a straw poll which defeated this 5.52 mile extension of the Norwottuck Rail Trail, despite support from the 800-member-strong Friends of the Belchertown Rail Trail.

Blackstone River Heritage Park [Link] [Map]
The Blackstone Valley Bikeway is a proposed recreational and commuting facility through the Blackstone River Valley. It will use both on- and off-road routes in transportation corridors established by the historic Blackstone Canal and by railroads, both active and long since abandoned. It will connect the City of Worcester with the Town of Blackstone, passing through Millbury, Sutton, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge and Millville. At the state line in Blackstone it will connect with the Rhode Island Blackstone River Bikeway (a 19-mile designed bike route terminating in the City of Providence). The bike route in both states will link together urban areas, mill villages, state parks and historic sites in the nationally recognized Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor, as both an alternate transportation route and linear park.Preliminary design for the bikeway, including the identification of a preferred alignment, will be complete by September 1996. With available funding, final design for the project would follow the completion of the current study and construction would follow completion of final design. Construction of the bikeway would occur in segments.

Fitchburg-Leominster Bikepath
This proposed 4.2 mile rail trail would run along Route 12 between the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster. A Friends of the Rail Trail group has been formed to support the creation of this rail trail. The group would like to locate the trail along the former railroad bed currently owned by CSX Railroad. The group, in collaboration with both the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster, has begun negotiation efforts with the railroad in order to purchase the land. Funding for land purchase and some design work might be in the federal TEA-21 extension.

Hardwick Bike Path
This path could be built on an approximately 4.8 mile abandoned rail bed stretching from the village of Gilbertville to the village of Wheelwright, both sections of Hardwick. Much of the trail would run along the Ware River. The trail could eventually continue into New Braintree and Barre to connect with the Mass. Central Rail Trail, which will eventually connect Boston to the Pioneer Valley. TEA-21 extension funding would allow for the design and construction of the Hardwick path.

Quinebaug
This 10.8 mile trail on the former Providence and Worcester railroad line links Southbridge, Dudley, and Webster, as well as a Thompson, Connecticut. The Grand Trunk Trail Blazers are the citizen’s group working on this trail.

Squannacook River Rail Trail
The Squannacook River Rail Trail will be a 9.4 mile long trail running through Townsend and Groton. Funding for the 6.8 mile Townsend portion might be in the federal TEA-21 extension. The northern terminus of the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail is the existing 10-mile Mason-Greenville Trail in New Hampshire. This linkage would create a 19.4 mile trail system. Eventually, the trail system could continue south another 3.8 miles to connect to the existing Nashua River Rail Trail.

Sturbridge
A plan has been drafted for a series of multi-access trails to crisscross Sturbridge, connecting tourist attractions and town facilities, such as schools. Paved trails would run along MA 49 from Spencer to the Town Common, then along MA 15 to Connecticut. The other leg of the “X” would follow MA 148 from Brookfield and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land along the Quinebaug River to Southbridge. The project is being run out of the Town Administrators Office, 308 Main St., Sturbridge, MA 01500-1078.

Western Massachusetts

Current

Western Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Ashuwillticook River Trail [Link] [DCR GIF map]
Running 10.5 miles from Lanesborough to Adams along the Hoosic river, parallelling, but far from Route 8, this path is the anchor for a north-south route from Vermont to Connecticut. The first 5 miles north of Pittsfield opened August 27, 2001, and construction of the rest was finished in 2004. Moves are afoot to extend the path in both directions, to downtown Pittsfield on the south–it just hits the northern border of that city now–and North Adams to the north. The current northern end, at the Berkshire County Visitors in Adams, is easiest to find. There is more information on the Berkshire Bike Path Council web site.

Keystone Arch Bridge Trail
The 2 mile long KAB trail’s signature features are massive granite arch railroad bridges built in 1839 with no mortar. Bikes are OK, though a popular way to travel is to hike in, and float on tubes back to the start. The trail is maintained by a volunteer group, Friends of the Keystone Arches, PO Box 276, Huntington, MA 01050. A trail map is available for a small donation.

Manhan Rail Trail [Link]
This 4.2 mile multi-use recreational path stretches from South Street in Easthampton, MA to Mt. Tom Junction at the Route 5 CT River boat launch, with a connecting on-road bike lane to downtown Northampton. The trail will eventually connect with the Norwottuck Trail to Amherst and the Northampton Bike Path to Williamsburg.

Northampton Bike Path [Map (pdf)]
This 1.75 mile paved path is on a section of the same abandoned right-of-way as the Norwottuck Trail, but there is an intervening piece of active rail between them. The right-of-way continues westward, where there is an effort being made to extend it through Williamsburg, Mass.

Norwottuck Trail [Link] [Map (gif)] [Map (pdf)]
This nine-mile-long bikepath connects Amherst and Northampton, through Hadley, paralleling MA Rt. 9 and avoiding that heavily traveled road. With its own bridge over the Connecticut River, it is the western end of the abandoned Central Mass. Railway line, the eastern end of which is being considered for a Waltham to Hudson trail. A group in Belchertown is working on extending this path eastward, and there is a possible connection to a Connecticut Valley bikeway to New Haven, CT, on the Northampton end. A connection to the UMass. campus has been built. There is an on-line history of the local Native Americans after whom the trail was named.

UMASS
This is a 2-mile connection between the Norwottuck Trail and the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts.

Planned

Proposed Western Mass. Bike Paths and Trails

Berkshire Bike Path
The Berkshire Bike Path Council is working on a countywide effort to create a path from Vermont to Connecticut. They are working on building community support in Pittsfield and working with the Ashwillticook path and the town of Adams.

Franklin County Bikeway
The Franklin County Commission is reviving and updating a 1985 plan for a bikeway through six Franklin County communities: Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Montague (the villages of Turners Falls and Montague City), and Northfield. Its 22.7 mile length primarily consists of a loop through Greenfield, Deerfield, Montague, and Gill, with a spur south to Historic Deerfield, and a spur north to the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. Including a combination of bike paths, bike lanes and bike routes/shared roadways, it provides access to employment, educational, cultural and recreational sites, and the scenic banks of the Connecticut, Deerfield, Fall and Green rivers.

Greenfield Bikeway
The Greenfield Bikeway Committee is creating a system of shared-road bike routes and off-road bike paths to link “schools, businesses, residences, and other points of interest around town.”

Highland Division Rail-Trail [Link] [map] In 2000, the City of Springfield received a grant to design the trail and hired Greenman-Pederson to prepare the engineering and design of this 1.7 mile project from Watershops Pond near Springfield College to the East Longmeadow line. The abandoned line runs a total of 12.5 miles to Hazardville, CT.

Mass. Central Rail Trail [Link] [Link]
This right-of way runs from Williamsburg in the west to Cambridge in the east, much of the way across the state, including the existing Northampton and Norwottuck bikepaths. Eastward extension has been stopped by opponents in Belchertown. Westward, it has been delayed by opponents in Williamsburg.

Pittsfield Bike Path
A movement to build bike paths across the City of Pittsfield is growing.

Southwick Rail/Trail
This 6 mile long rail trail would extend the Farmington Valley Greenway into Massachusetts.

Williamsburg Bike Path
The path will connect to the Northampton Bike Path at Look Park and follow a rail right-of-way along the Mill River to the Haydenville Line. There the Williamsburg section begins. The trail will follow the Mill River until it reaches Route 9. A Bike Path bridge will span Route 9, allowing the trail to continue along the railroad bed as it crosses High Street and parallels Route 9 about 100 yards from the street. The railroad bed ends at Kellogg Road. There the trail will go along the edge of Route 9 for a while, then curve behind some shops and hug the riverbank until it ends in Williamsburg center. At some time in the future the Mill River bridge may be rebuilt, allowing foot and bike traffic to cross the river at that point. There has been a lot of opposition to this trail, but the proponents have worked hard and are raising private money to proceed.

Cape Cod and the Islands

Current

Cape Cod and the Islands Bike Paths and Trails

The Cape Cod Trails Conference has a good page on Cape Cod bikepaths and bike ride routes.

Boston to Cape Cod (Claire Saltonstall) Bike Route
Bike Route 1 from Boston to Provincetown is marked with “Bike Route 1″ signs. It starts on the Charles River Bikepath near Boston University and follows streets and paths to Provincetown, Cape Cod, with occasional stretches of busier roads. Many of the signs have disappeared and the route is impossible to follow without maps, which are only available Web Doc.

Cape Cod Canal Bikeway[Link] [Map]
This pair of bikepaths runs on both sides of the Cape Cod Canal that separates Cape Cod from the rest of Massachusetts. They are maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers and provide a great place from which to watch ships going through the canal and cars stuck in traffic on the bridges.

Cape Cod National Seashore Bikepaths [Link]
[Province Lands Map] [Nauset and Truro Maps] [National Park Service Page]
Three paved trails expose bicyclists to a variety of Cape Cod experiences. The Nauset Trail in Eastham, from the Salt Pond Visitor Center, runs from Route 6 to Coast Guard Beach. The Head of the Meadow Trail in Truro travels through an interesting inter-dune area. Watch for the well from which the Pilgrims got their first fresh water after crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The Province Lands Trails wind through the dunes from Provincetown to Race Point and Herring Cove Beaches. A map is available from the Visitor Centers at Salt Pond in Eastham and in the Province Lands in Provincetown.

Cape Cod Rail Trail [Link] [Map]
Recently extended to South Wellfleet, this 25-mile-long trail runs up the center of Cape Cod, with few views of the ocean but many encounters with ponds and salt marshes. It connects directly to Nickerson State Park, which has an extensive system of paved paths and inexpensive camping. It is managed and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (Superintendent, Nickerson State Park, P.O. Box 787, Brewster, MA 02631 (508)896-3491). The state has a good free map, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail Bicycle Map, published by The Butterworth Company (350 Main St., West Yarmouth, MA 02673 (508)775-4438), shows all of the roads in the towns through which the Rail Trail passes. The Cape Cod Commission has information on other transportation issues on Cape Cod.

Falmouth Shining Sea Trail [Link][Map]
10 miles of paved bikepath provide an alternate route down the coast to the Woods Hole Ferry Terminal from the center of Falmouth, where free parking is available.

Harwich-Chatham Bike Path
Branching off from the Cape Cod Rail Trail in a spectacular bicycle rotary (traffic circle to non-New Englanders), this path is finally paved all the way to the center of Chatham. It is fairly well signed, with interesting treatments of major road intersections and includes direct connections to parks and the Harwich Town Hall, and thus picturesque Harwich Center.

Martha’s Vineyard
Bikepaths parallel most of the major roads, but there are relatively few intersections, so you can move along pretty well. All Martha’s Vineyard Transportation Authority buses have bike racks, and the MVTA island map includes all of the bikepaths. At Menemsha, there is even a bike/pedestrian ferry, which at $4/bike but worth it for making a loop through Aquinnah doable with a family. While not a cyclist’s paradise, the island treats bicycles as a real part of the transportation system. There is a nice interactive map of Martha’s Vineyard and a mileage table.

Nantucket [Map]
Bikepaths parallel most of the major roads. There is a good interactive map online at “Wheels, Heels, & Pedals: The Nantucket Way to Get There”.

Nickerson State Park
This 1900-acre state park in Brewster has 420 campsites spread out in 7 areas throughout the park, all connected by a system of paved bikepaths as well as the main park road. The park bikepaths include several loops off into the woods which are great for animal watching and studying the landforms and vegetation of Cape Cod. The park paths do not connect directly to the Cape Cod Rail Trail; there is a rather awkward crossing of the main park entrance and a highly-trafficked parking lot, though the distance is only 100 yards or so.

Planned

Other Resources

Massachusetts Bicycle Facilities Inventory:
Read as a word doc. Prepared for the state by MassBike in 1995, this inventory was the basis for the State Bicycle Plan.

Massachusetts Highway Department Bike Page:
Includes popular bike maps focusing mostly on bikepaths, there are links to other state bicycle resources as well and tables of bikeway and other bicycle projects in Massachusetts. (link)

East Coast Greenway:
The East Coast Greenway is a developing trail system, spanning nearly 3,000 miles as it winds its way between Canada and Key West, linking all the major cities of the eastern seaboard. Over 21 percent of the route is already on safe, traffic-free paths. (link)

Resources for Bike Path Advocates:
Planning resources and studies of the effects of bike paths (doc)

Sharing the Path:
Riding on bikepaths requires different skills than riding on roads. This pamphlet describes some of them. (doc)