Hemlock Gorge Reservation

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Hemlock Gorge Reservation
Echo Bridge.JPG
View through Echo Bridge
Map showing the location of Hemlock Gorge Reservation
Map showing the location of Hemlock Gorge Reservation
Location in Massachusetts
LocationNewton Upper Falls, Needham, Middlesex, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates42°18′52″N 71°13′35″W / 42.31444°N 71.22639°W / 42.31444; -71.22639Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 71°13′35″W / 42.31444°N 71.22639°W / 42.31444; -71.22639[1]
Area16 acres (6.5 ha)[2]
Elevation79 ft (24 m)[1]
OperatorMassachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
WebsiteHemlock Gorge Reservation

Hemlock Gorge Reservation is a state-owned, public recreation area and urban wild comprising 16 acres (6.5 ha) on the Charles River in Newton and Needham, Massachusetts. The reservation is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.[4]


An original part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston designed by landscape architect Charles Eliot in the 1890s, Hemlock Gorge Reservation protects the banks of the Charles River where it passes through the corners of Needham and Newton Upper Falls. The park takes its name from a gorge through which a side branch of the Charles River once passed, whose ledges were, according to Eliot, "clothed with hemlocks".[5] The side channel was cut off in the 20th century by the construction of nearby Interstate 95, and water flowing through the gorge now enters a holding pond, from which water is returned to the river when water levels are low.

The main features are the steep Hemlock Gorge, the river, and Echo Bridge, a carrier of the Sudbury Aqueduct, which now forms part of backup systems of the Boston area water supply. The bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. A platform under the bridge's central arch lets visitors hear the echo that earned the bridge its name. There is direct access to the top of the bridge from the parking area. At the northern end of the park, just before the river flows under Route 9, it flows over a horseshoe-shaped dam constructed in the early 20th century at a site that housed a mill as early as the 18th century.

Activities and amenities[edit]

Picnic benches and trails for hiking are maintained. The park is open year round from dawn to dusk.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Hemlock Gorge". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "Hemlock Gorge Reservation". Newton Conservators. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Hemlock Gorge Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 4, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  5. ^ "Charles Eliot and Hemlock Gorge". Friends of Hemlock Gorge. March 9, 1997. Retrieved August 11, 2011.

External links[edit]