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Biking Through the Emerald Necklace Parks

Touring Boston via public parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview:  This series of parks and green spaces essentially serves as the urban Boston city dweller's backyard. Frederick Law Olmsted (yes, he... more »

Tips:  A bicycle is the way to go through the Emerald Necklace, if you can, though you can certainly walk it. It just makes for a longer day.... more »

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Points of Interest

The Fens was a marsh, which was drained and filled in, and then turned into parkland by Olmsted. It is fun to walk through the Victory Gardens, the nation’s oldest remaining WWII gardens. There is also a rose garden— absolutely stunning in bloom—and myriad pathways to explore. A playground at Mother's Rest is a great spot for kids.

2. The Riverway

The Riverway connects the Fens to Olmsted Park and offers shady paths, a gazebo and charming little stone bridges to cross.

Photo: Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

3. Olmsted Park

This namesake park for the master planner of the Emerald Necklace is composed of three ponds, numerous walkways with footbridges and a bike path. It is between the Jamaica Pond area and the Riverway. You could meander endlessly throughout the park system.

Photo: Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

Few neighborhood parks are so well used and well loved as Jamaica Pond, and for good reason. The grounds are well maintained, the vibe is relaxed and friendly, and glimpses of nature are everywhere to be enjoyed, right in the middle of a city neighborhood. It also happens to be the site of America’s first reservoir.

In every season and at just... More

The arboretum offers more than 250 acres of open space to bike, in-line skate, run or just stroll among the walkways (but you can't picnic here).

It is North America's first public arboretum and has meadows, forest and ponds with 15,000 trees, shrubs and vines. Head to Peter's Hill for the highest point in the Emerald Necklace with a great view... More

The 527-acre Franklin Park has an 18-hole course, a pond and a 100-acre woods (not the Hundred Acre Woods, alas), plus playgrounds, walking trails, tennis courts and a bandstand for summertime entertainment.

While not technically park of the Emerald Necklace, the 72-acre zoo sits in Franklin Park and makes for a great way to end your day of tour. Check out the giraffes, lions, gorillas and more.

If you've got an appetite, there's the indoor, southwestern-themed Giddy-Up Grill concession stand and, in season, the outdoor Kalahari Kitchen with... More