Cutler Park Needham/Newton
The best parking area for Cutler Park is located in Needham MA. But the park itself extends into Dedham, Newton, Brookline and Boston. Cutler 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, Blackstone Valley NEMBA and SE MASS NEMBA. but don't let that confusion stop you, everyone's welcome here. :-) It's quite close to boston, bordering 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 whole complex has about 22 miles of trails to explore.
The first map above shows the entire complex. While the succeeding maps are of individual properties.
Southeast Mass NEMBA has been doing trailwork at Cutler for many years including the bog bridges. How many times have you been northbound on Route 128 and looked into that marsh, never realizing that there was a trail right through the middle of it?
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 roughly form a figure eight. They are quite 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 parks are worth exploring.
By Bill Boles