Boston has become a fairly bike-able city. Designated bike lanes, tons of trendy bike shops, and cycle racks galore – it’s wheelie easy to get around (don’t hate). In fact, last year Forbes ranked us as the 5th most bike-friendly city in the U.S. Not bad.
But while hopping on a two-wheeler is simply to get from point A to point B for some, there are others who prefer to hit the open(ish) road and cruise for hours on end. And for any of you cycle enthusiasts living in the Boston area, you’re in luck, friends. Boston has a few solid trails and paths perfect for taking your bike for a spin. Literally.
Biking Arnold Arboretum is nice and all…but what if you could tack on 25 or so more miles of gorgeous pathway on a journey around some of Boston’s most historic landmarks? Cue the Emerald Necklace. This famous oasis of gardens, reserves and winding pathways is a must for any cycle fanatic. Bring water and snacks — you could be at it for a while.
Charlestown Waterfront Bike Path
The Charlestown Waterfront Bike Path is a great option for anyone looking for a short, easy, and oh-so-scenic bike ride. At only about a mile long, this route gives you the most history bang for your buck. Cruise along the ocean and zip pass Charlestown Navy Yard, home of the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned warship in the world). Venture off path to stop by the famous Bunker Hill Monument and climb its 294 steps. Your bike ride was only one mile after all.
Southwest Corridor Path
With just over six miles of bike paths, the Southwest Corridor offers a nice leisurely ride from Back Bay to Forest Hills. Get a serious taste of Boston’s Victorian beauty when you meander through small residential South End streets lined with old brownstones. Then just a few blocks later, gaze up at the more modern additions to our fine city with clear views of the Prudential Center and 200 Clarendon (or as we know better as, the Hancock Tower). But if the bike ride isn’t enough for you, the parkland is decked out with spray pools, basketball courts, hockey rinks, tennis courts, even a couple amphitheaters — so much space for activities!
Paul Dudley White Bike Path
AKA the Charles River Bike Path – did you really expect it not to be on here? C’mon, it’s over 13 miles of beautiful river-side trails perfect for cruising on a sunny summer day. Obviously, this path is no secret, so expect to share the road with fellow riders, joggers, walkers…the works. And be sure to make a pit-stop near the eastern end of the trail at North Point Park for a gorgeous view of the river. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could end your ride at Christian A. Herter Park and rent a kayak. Sounds like the perfect full body workout to us!
For a cycling route that really lets you get in touch with nature, there’s no better choice than the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. The loop around the tree-heavy haven is five miles long, but if you venture off through the interior trails that snake their way throughout, you could extend the mileage to your liking. Consider hopping off for a quick hike to Peters Hill summit for an epic view of the Boston skyline. If you’re into that sorta thing… and brought a bike lock.
How about ten miles of paved rail trail to guide you on an unobstructed journey from Bedford to Alewife? How about a history lesson while you’re at it? (Seems like a theme in Boston.) This trail approximates the route that Paul Revere took during that famous little ride he took back in 1775. You know, the one that started the American Revolution. No big.
Stony Brook Reservation
To avoid the crowds, roll over to this West Roxbury reservation that offers bikers 12 miles of wooded trails. Aside from the fact that this is one of Boston’s hidden gems, the best part about this area is Turtle Pond. After an hour of biking in that blistering summer heat, take a dip in the seriously refreshing pond. Heck, make a day out of it and enjoy a well-deserved lunch in one of the reservation’s picnic areas.
Just a half hour north of Boston, following the abandoned Salem and Lowell Railroad (creepy enough for you?) is the Independence Greenway. The well-paved path offers eight miles of tranquil woods, marsh, and wetlands, making a wonderful escape from the city. Just be prepared for a little choppiness in your ride; one section is along a road with heavy traffic, so walking your bike on the sidewalk is highly encouraged.
Bonus Road Trip: Cape Cod Rail Trail
Twenty-two miles of mostly flat, paved pathway winding through quaint villages, sandy beaches, colorful cranberry bogs, and everything else that makes the Cape a must-see? We’ll sacrifice a two-hour road trip for that! The route is filled with plenty of restrooms, bike shops, picnic areas, restaurants, bars, shops, and, hello, the beach! So pack a bag, throw on some sunscreen, and put the pedal to the metal (well, towards the pavement).