Trails in 495/MetroWest

The 495/MetroWest region is home to numerous rail trails and other multi-use paths which enhance options for walking and biking. The 495/MetroWest Partnership advocates for continuously improved livability through transit options, including improved rail trail connectivity, walkability, and cycling opportunities.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is a trail through the communities of Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. The trail follows the 25-mile route of the old New Haven Railroad Framingham and Lowell line. The trail has a 10-foot-wide pavement with a 2-foot-wide packed shoulder on each side. Recent construction projects on the rail trail include a multi-phased project focused on expanding the number of municipalities with access to the rail trail. Expansion of the trail remains ongoing; further expansion in Framingham is planned.

Mass. Central Rail Trail
The Mass. Central Rail Trail (MCRT) is a trail that goes through many communities spanning 100 miles between Northampton and Boston. Towns along the MCRT include (from West to East) Northampton, Hadley, Amherst, Belchertown, Ware, Hardwick, Barre, Rutland, Holden, West Boylston, Clinton, Berlin, Hudson, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston. Along this route are completed trails that are either paved or stone dusted. Some of the trails are protected yet remained unimproved. Plans are in place to further extend the trail into parts of Hudson, Sudbury, and Waltham.

Assabet Valley Rail Trail
The Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT) is a multi-use trail slated to be 12.5 miles long connecting the communities of Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Maynard, and Acton. Construction on the first 5.8-mile segment of the trail, through Marlborough and Hudson, began in the Fall of 2003 and was completed in 2005. The trail has 4 places with access to the Assabet River.

Blackstone River Bikeway
The Blackstone River Bikeway is envisioned as a 50-mile greenway and paved multi-use pathway that will connect Providence, Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts along the Blackstone River corridor. In Massachusetts, the Blackstone River Greenway is being planned, designed, and constructed in seven separate segments running from the Rhode Island border through Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Northbridge, Grafton, Sutton, Millbury, and Worcester. 24 miles of the trail is already completed with future plans to complete the remaining sections of the trail.

Cochituate Rail Trail
The Cochituate Rail Trail is publicly accessible in Framingham and Natick. The Natick section of the Cochituate Rail Trail ends around Mechanic Street and Whitney Field, with further extensions planned to integrate the trail to popular spots around the town such as Main Street and the Natick MBTA Commuter Rail station. In 2021, MassDOT held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Cochituate Rail Trail celebrating its connection to Framingham.

Franklin and Bellingham Rail Trail (Southern New England Trunkline Trail)
The Franklin and Bellingham Rail Trail is accessible in Bellingham and Franklin. The trail is a multi-use recreation path as part of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT). The Franklin and Bellingham Rail Trail Committee is pursuing plans to connect the trail to Downtown Franklin.

Nashua and Acton Rail Trail
The Nashua and Acton Rail Trail is accessible in Acton, Dunstable, Groton, and Westford. The Nashua and Acton Rail Trail is a set of existing public paths and proposed rail trails in these communities. Approximately half of the Rail Trail paths are unofficial paths that are walkable and mountain bikeable, but unpaved.

Stony Brook Rail Trail
The Stony Brook Rail Trail is accessible in Westford. The trail is a complete 1.8-mile gravel path along the route of the former Mass Electric Trolley.

Upper Charles Trail
The Upper Charles Trail is accessible in Holliston and Milford. The Upper Charles Trail is a partially-completed 25-mile trail that will incorporate the communities of Milford, Ashland, Sherborn, Holliston, and Hopkinton. The trail will link the towns via an abandoned CSX rail bed. Milford was the first to open a complete 6.58-mile paved section. There are proposed sections in Hopkinton and Sherborn.

Wachusett Aqueduct Trail
The Wachusett Aqueduct Trail is accessible in Berlin, Clinton, Marlborough, and Northborough. The 9-mile Wachusett Aqueduct extends from the Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton to the  Sudbury Reservoir in Southborough, passing through Berlin and Northborough. In total, 4.3 miles (49%) of the trail is paved with the remaining 4.4 miles (51%) left unpaved.

Wayland Rail Trail
The Wayland Rail Trail is accessible via Wayland. There are plans to improve the existing informal trail by paving or stone dusting the 3 miles of the trail in Wayland and connecting it to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Sudbury.