LENGTH: 3.5 mi
TRAIL SURFACE: Clay, turf, and pavement
HIKING TIME: 1.5-2 hours
This hike follows the course of the Muddy River from the edge of Boston's Back Bay to Jamaica Plain through parkland designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
To reach the parking area on Pond Ave by car take the Jamaicaway south to where it intersects with Perkins St. Turn right onto Perkins St and the right onto Chestnut St, at the next intersection. Exit the rotary at the first right. The parking lot is immediately to the right on Pond Ave.
By Public Transportation:
Green Line D train to Longwood or take the #39 bus.
The Muddy River is a series of brooks and ponds that runs through sections of Boston's Emerald Necklace, including along the south boundary of Brookline, Massachusetts (a town that went by the name of Muddy River Hamlet before it was incorporated in 1705). The river, which is narrower than most waterways designated as rivers in the United States, is a protected public recreation area surrounded by parks and hiking trails, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The river flows from Jamaica Pond through Olmsted Park's Wards Pond, Willow Pond and Leverett Pond. It then flows through a conduit under Route 9 and into a narrow park called The Riverway, from which it flows through underground pipes to a gatehouse located at Brookline Avenue. At this point some of the water runs north to drain into the Charles River, while some drains into the Back Bay Fens, which were formerly a saltwater marsh. The Muddy River continues from the Fens in a stone-paved channel surrounded by a narrow strip of parklands, toward its connection with the Charles River via the Charlesgate area. In a series of stone bridges and tunnels, it passes under Boylston Street, Massachusetts Turnpike, Commonwealth Avenue, Storrow Drive, and a series of elevated connecting ramps (the Bowker Overpass).