Saturday, January 3, 2015

Charles River Greenway: Watertown, MA

Directions: Click here for Google map (you can park along the street)

This lovely park is part of the Upper Charles River Reservation and the East Coast Greenway.  There are lots of things blooming brilliantly in the warmer months, although my pictures above are from January.  It's a bit stark in the winter, but still a fabulous place to walk your dog.  Since the park runs along the Charles, you could walk for miles and miles, but we chose to meander around for about a mile or so near the Watertown Dam, enjoying the footbridges, old mill buildings and many mallard ducks.  
There is free on-street parking right next to the park, paved and dirt walkways, picnic tables, park benches, and beautiful scenery.  There are also areas where your pup can access the water for a splash or a drink.  You probably won't feel very isolated here, as it's a fairly thin strip of parkland along the main road, but it's still charming in its own right!  

The Watertown Dam is an interesting site, with a history of fish weirs dating back hundreds of years.  The Pequossette tribe inserted stakes into the river here, then interwove brushwood to create a weir that would trap herring as the tide went out.  The current dam was constructed in 1900 and includes a fish ladder that provides access to upstream spawning habitats for Blueback herring and Alewife.  In the spring, you'll see lots of Herons and Gulls fishing here!

For more information about the Charles River Reservation, click here.  
For more information about the East Coast Greenway, click here.  

Dogs are required to be leashed in the park.  

Information sources: Division of Marine Fisheries

Here are the positive features:
  • Beautiful paths and foot bridges along and over the Charles river
  • Wheelchair / stroller accessible walkways
  • Free street parking
  • Picnic tables and park benches
  • Open year-round 
  • Bugs and ticks don't seem to be an issue in this somewhat urban setting
Negative features:
  • No restrooms available (although there are businesses in the area with restrooms)
  • No doggie bags are provided, so plan to bring your own
  • No trash barrels when we were there, but they may appear in the summer
  • Some of the path runs along a main street, so you don't quite feel enveloped in nature

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