Cochituate Rail Trail


12 Reviews

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Cochituate Rail Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Middlesex
Length: 3.3 miles
Trail end points: 1504 Concord St (Framingham) and 41 Washington Ave (Natick)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015995

Cochituate Rail Trail Description


The Cochituate Rail Trail (CRT) is a multi-use trail that runs almost 4 miles between Framingham and Natick, in the western suburbs of Boston. Passing near streams and wetlands in Framingham and Lake Cochituate in Natick, the trail is a scenic linear park, providing valuable open space through heavily developed sections of both towns. With work underway to connect its southern terminus directly with the MBTA Commuter Rail, this trail is a local asset for recreation, scenery, and connectivity. 

About the Route 

The Cochituate Rail Trail’s northern endpoint is 1504 Concord St, in the Saxonville neighborhood of Framingham. Heading south, the trail makes its way through a forested stretch, before crossing underneath I-90 (and soon after, an onramp) via two underpasses. As the trail crosses into Natick, it comes to Lake Cochituate State Park, where its namesake lake boasts options for swimming, boating and fishing. Here, the trail runs southeast along the lake before a narrow stretch of land carries the trail with the lake on either side.

Continuing south from Lake Cochituate, the trail crosses Route 9 via an overpass, and through forested residential communities of Natick. The Cochituate Rail Trail’s southern endpoint is at 41 Washington Avenue (Natick) adjacent to Whitney Field/Navy Yard Park, home to a playground and sports fields.  The Natick Center MBTA is about 1/3 of a mile further south, and can be accessed via a short walk along Mechanic Street and N Main St. A extension connecting the trail directly to the station is underway.  

Trail History 

The trail follows the former Saxonville Branch rail line southeast from Saxonville. Operated from 1846, the Saxonville Branch was used to construct the dam for Lake Cochituate, which supplied water to the City of Boston from 1848 to 1951. Passenger service on the line operated for 90 years, until 1936. The line continuously serviced freight from textile mills in Saxonville until the area’s last remaining carpet manufacturer closed in 1973. The line was used for miscellaneous cargo trips until 2006. The first section of the rail-trail was opened in 2015. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Cochituate Rail Trail runs between 1504 Concord St (Framingham) and 41 Washington Avenue (Natick) with parking available at both trail ends.  

An additional parking option is available at Cochituate State Park, at 43 Commonwealth Rd (Natick)

The Cochituate Rail Trail is easily accessible by MBTA Commuter Rail from Natick Center station. As of 2024, work is underway to directly connect the trail to the station. In the meantime, it is currently accessible by a short walk. If taking your bike aboard a train, please observe the transit agency’s rules.

Cochituate Rail Trail Reviews

Does it allow fishing from the rail trail framingham?

Does it allow fishing from the rail trail framingham?

Good for a quick in-line skate if you’re somewhat experienced

It’s relatively flat, very smooth, and a quick punchy trail to skate. There are a couple of bigger inclines (particularly a bridge that goes over Cochituate Rd) and a lot of road crossings, so I don’t recommend for first time skaters to do the whole trail. However, I learned to skate on sections of the trail and now do the whole thing in about 12 minutes, so if you take it slow you can use this trail for a long time.

Best trail for a quick ride!

I highly recommend this trail for beginner bike riders. It’s approximately 8 miles from Natick (Washington Ave) to Framingham. The terrain is mostly flat with very few gentle inclines. There is one hill but can be avoided by going across route 30…I do not recommend this! The trail is well maintained. Nice foliage and of course the Cochituate River. You will meet friendly adults, kids and dogs along the way. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Th

Great morning walk!

My son and I decided to try out the trail as I had seen it being built. We were not disappointed - the trail was clear and had interesting historical facts along the way. We did have a little trouble finding the Natick entrance to the trail.


Beautiful Walk with Lots of Water Views

So wonderful to discover this beautiful trail on a recent trip back home from California. What a pleasure to walk where before we only glimpsed these views passing by in the car from Route 9 or 30. I easily found a few various entry points by using Google Maps and was delighted with the gorgeous fall views. Most of the path had some nearby water features whether it was Lake Cochituate or a smaller stream. The path was well maintained and we enjoyed the feeling of being far removed from the hustle and traffic of the rest of the busy area, What a gift to the community!

work in progress

Have walked the entire trail from Saxonville to Natick, as far as it goes. It’s a great trail, but clearly a work in progress. The Framingham side has no signs, and it took us several tries before we found it (just to the right of the fire station). The Natick side is complete as far as it goes, but it stops abruptly in the woods. Also along the length there are no designated parking areas.

CRT update

The Cochituate Rail Trail is complete and extends from Saxonville in Framingham going south passing Cochituate lake to Natick, a distance of four miles. Parking is available at or near Home Depot on Route 30. The southern end in Natick is just north of the Railroad station at Natick Center. Benches and bicycle racks as well as refuse containers are available along the trail.

CRT review 2

Now the Cochituate Rail Trail has more than doubled in length stretching from Saxonville to Natick ad going past Lake Cochituate alongside North Main St (Rte 27). Railroad Whistle monuments along the way and many benches and bicycle rings for a brief respite.

short but nice

I used this trail to roller skate, it was pretty short but a nice straightforward skating path

Great Trail

Love this trail and as soon as it is warm enough my walking group will be there at least 3x a week- that is if the parking is no longer a problem and there will be a safe place to park and walk to the trail. Right now - no designated
parking and if we park at Walgreen's there is only a 12 inch strip to walk on the street to reach the Trail- very dangerous- Have brought this to the attention of Chris Walsh but no answers

nice trail far

I agree with the other review on this trail...the Framingham trail is very nice and I hope that Natick completes its part the trail so far is not very long and not really enough for biking...though a walk on it is ok..and the path is really nice and scenic even though it goes through a populated area..there are marshes and a little stream ... its very well done... it will be great when its done...

CRT trail review1

Excellent trail, asphalt and concrete, perfect for walking, running, running, and biking. Nice views and convenient way to get to Saxonville center from Rte 30 in Framingham. About 1.6 miles or 2200 steps on my Fitbit. I hope it will be completed and go to Natick center soon.

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