When most people ride on the Charles River trail, they keep to the popular loop around Boston and Cambridge. However, the trail goes on (and on and on), through beautiful reservation lands along the narrowing Charles River all the way to West Newton, Waltham and Weston.
The last time I mentioned this route, a couple of people asked me for more information, since most Charles River Trail maps indicate that it ends in Watertown. The best online maps I have found are these:
. from Boston to Watertown (the popular loop)
. from Watertown to West Newton
. from West Newton to Weston
These show you the side-streets you need to look for in your neighborhood in order to get to the trail (everything represented in green has the trail going through it).
Once you pass the point in Watertown where the popular route ends, the trail continues across the street. The entrance is narrow and easy to miss, so watch for the sign above.
There are a few instances where the trail interrupts, in which case the connector route is marked on the sidewalk with these "Blue Heron tracks".
An actual heron on the trail.
Here are some photos to give you an idea what this lesser-known part of the trail looks like. It is narrower and more "woodsy" than the popular Charles River loop. Fewer people, too.
The river is quite narrow here, and most of the bridges across it are pedestrian. They are beautiful and fun to cross, offering views of lily pads and miniature waterfalls.
There are several unpaved stretches, and many long stretches of boardwalk over marshland, with built-in observation decks. We had no problems cycling through the unpaved stretches on the Pashleys, and we saw roadbikes riding through them as well.
Another wooden bridge, and the entrance to Landry Park in Waltham.
This is home to the Charles River Museum of Industry. We have not gotten beyond this point yet, but as the map here indicates, the trail continues in the same manner towards Weston.
Altogether, it looks like the Charles River Trail might be 15 miles or so each way. If you are looking to get from West Newton to the center of Boston like MamaVee, I am guessing that this is maybe a 10 mile trip? If you are local and do this regularly, I welcome your thoughts about this trail and its use as a commuter route.