Cutler Park Needham/Newton
The parking area for Cutler Park is located in Needham MA. But the park itself extends into Dedham, Newton, Brookline and Boston. The park consists of a few hills and a lot of trails near an 800-acre marsh along the Charles River and beside route 128.
Cutler Park is right on the dividing lines of three NEMBA chapters. Greater Boston NEMBA, BlackstonValley NEMBA and SE MASS NEMBA. but don't let that confusion stop you, everyone's welcome here. :-) It's quite close to boston, bordeing on route 128 in Newton and Needham.
There is a large lake near the parking area and the more challenging singletracks are located between it and route 128. The singletracks nearest to the highway go up and down Cutler's only hill. They are quite fun and include one roller coaster section. See if you can do it without pedaling.
There are many more trails however, stretching out into the marshes on plank bridges. So expect to spend a bit of time exploring. If you do that you'll eventually make your way out of Cutler Park and into Riverdale Park, Millennium Park, The Brook Farm Conservation Area, and Newton's Nahanton Park. Succeed in doing this and you'll do a 16-mile loop. Cutler Park itself has about 9 miles of trails.
The first map above shows that entire route. But the second map is more detailed. Clicking on the numbered parks brings up the indivual maps of those properties.
Southeast Mass NEMBA has been doing trailwork at Cutler for many years. One of these pictures was taken at a recent trail day where we replaced some of the planks on one of those long bog bridges.
Cutler's singletracks range from moderately technical to the most buffed singletracks imaginable. There are also some wide dirt roads that are fine for beginners and families. The road around the lake is the best example of that. My favorite trails are on Powell Island which is located after the first long wooden bridge. The trails on Powell's Island roughtly form a figure eight. They are very fast and fun to ride in both directions.
So close to Boston, and yet so far from most people's radar the trails at Cutler and the surrounding parksare worth exploring.
By Bill Boles