Wellesley Town Offices
Charles River Link Trail
www.charlesriverlink.org

CRLink WTC web.jpg
Charles River in Dover, Massachusetts


Trail Description
The Charles River Link is a 16-mile regional trail along one of the most scenic parts of the Charles and that will eventually provide a connection between the Bay Circuit Trail in Medfield and downtown Boston. This diverse and spectacular suburban trail, opened in June of 2009, connects 24 open space jewels in six towns - Newton, Wellesley, Needham, Natick, Dover and Medfield.

CRL line map layer2a 200dpi.jpgThe trail starts along the future extension of the Upper Charles River Reservation trail at the Mary Hunnewell Fyffe Footbridge located near the intersection of I-95/Rt-128 and Rt-16 in Newton.  

For the first 7 miles the Charles River Link is part of the Wellesley Trails network.  It follows the Charles River Path along the river, through the Wellesley Town Forest, and past Longfellow Pond. When reaching the Sudbury Aqueduct, it follows the Sudbury Path along the aqueduct through Babson and Olin Colleges to the Waban Arches.  It then connects to the Guernsey Path, which runs along the Charles River to the Needham town line.  

In Needham the Charles River Link crosses the Charles into Dover at the Charles River Street bridge. It follows roads to Pegan Lane and takes trails through Pegan Hill Reservation.  Entering the Mumford Wildlife Forest in Natick, there are views of Nobscot Hill, Mt. Wachusett, and Mt. Monadnock. It then takes roads to Glen Street and follows trails through Peters Reservation to the Charles River.  The trail continues through Chase Woodlands and follows roads to the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School.  It enters the Medfield State Forest in back of the school and takes trails to and along the Charles River to a steep bluff overlooking Rocky Narrows, known as the "Gates of the Charles."

The trail continues along the Charles River in Medfield, runs along an old woods road adjacent to the Medfield State Hospital, and ends at Hospital Road where it intersects with the Bay Circuit Trail.

Trail Guide & Maps

Before hiking the Charles River Link, please read the trail guide for information about parking, trail usage restrictions, distances and stops for scenic attractions.   Two online versions of the trail guide are available - normal and printable booklet. Also, see our Google Map for trail route, trailheads, parking, and directions.

Trail Guide & Maps
Guide
Trail Guide - Trail description and maps (Rev 2, July, 2013)*
2.8 MB
Printable 5.5"x 8.5" 8-page booklet Trail Guide (Rev 2, July, 2013)**
2.8 MB
View the trail on Google Maps - street and satellite trail maps, directions to trailheads and parking locations.

* Revision 2:  Minor text changes and mileage corrections.
** For a compact booklet, use landscape, two-sided printing (if manual, no rotation) on 8.5"x11" paper.  Fold in half and staple together along the fold.

GPS/GIS Data

Downloadable Data
File
GPS Data:  Track and waypoint data in GPX format
748 KB
Waypoints Data:  Attributes, mileage and off-road percentage
31 KB
Shapefile:  Zip file for ArcView track files  (July, 2013)
61 KB

Contact crlink@verizon.net with any comments or questions.

Trail Development

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Trail Dedication on National Trails Day 2009

Development of the Charles River Link was a partnership between the Wellesley Trails Committee, the Bay Circuit Alliance, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the towns the trail traverses.

The trail was first proposed in the fall of 2002 by the Wellesley Trails Committee to the Bay Circuit Alliance as a linkage to surrounding communities. Goals for the trail were to provide trail along one of the most scenic parts of the Charles River, a linkage between open space and conservation reservations along the river, and eventually a connection between the Bay Circuit Trail and downtown Boston.  Trail access was evaluated, on-road walking was minimized and connection of conservation lands was maximized, and by the spring of 2003 a feasible trail route was developed. The Natick Trails Committee and the Dover Open Space Committee joined in helping to develop a workable route.

In the fall of 2003 a trek was led by the Wellesley and Natick Trails Committees along the proposed Charles River Link route to demonstrate feasibility and introduce the trail to the public.  The trek attracted 43 participants in support of the trail from 15 towns.  

On the day after Thanksgiving, 2003, the Friends of Medfield Forest and Trails, Dover Open Space Committee, and Bay Circuit Alliance sponsored guided walks along the Charles through the Medfield State Hospital to emphasize the importance of preserving open space and trail access with the impending sale of the hospital property. Over 100 residents from surrounding towns participated in the walks.     

Although we tried to use existing trails, completion of the Charles River Link required clearing new trails through Peters Reservation, Mumford Wildlife Forest and Medfield State Forest.  A total of 1.5 miles of new trails were developed under Appalachian Mountain Club trail projects that resulted in the final trail being 68% off-road.   Fifty-eight volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Bay Circuit Alliance, Natick Trails, Dover Open Space, Wellesley Trails, New England Forestry Foundation, The Trustees of Reservations, TrailWrights, Boy Scouts and local residents spent a total of 198 volunteer-hours working on our trail projects. We appreciate their commitment and hard work that helped made this trail a reality.  The projects were:

November, 2008:  Nine volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, The Trustees of Reservations and neighborhood trail supporters cut a new 0.25 mile trail to permit trail access to the Charles River in Peters Reservation.

May, 2006:  To minimize wet areas at Mumford Wildlife Forest, improvements were made to trail drainage and sections of the trail were moved to higher ground.  Five volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Natick Trails and local residents made a significant improvement in trail conditions.

May, 2005:  An alternate 0.25 mile trail was developed to provide a drier path through the Mumford Wildlife Forest and to serve as a loop trail back to the parking area.  A team of 10 volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Natick Trails, Dover Open Space, New England Forestry Foundation, and local residents worked on this project.

October, 2004: The Appalachian Mountain Club, Natick Trails, local residents and Bedford Boy Scouts joined together to improve drainage and access long muddy sections of the trail in the Mumford Wildlife Forest.

September, 2004:  A team of 17 volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Bay Circuit Alliance, Natick Trails, New England Forestry Foundation, TrailWrights, and local residents braved the rain of hurricane Ivan to develop a new 0.6 mile trail through the Mumford Wildlife Forest.

May, 2004:  A joint Appalachian Mountain Club and Bay Circuit Alliance trails project was held at the Medfield State Forest, and a new 0.35 mile trail was cut to route hikers directly to Rocky Narrows along the Charles River.

Late in 2008 final access agreements were completed, and the trail was dedicated on National Trails Day, June 6, 2009, followed by a 16-mile trek with 31 hikers from 15 towns.


Last updated:  7/5/13