Needham, Dedham

This six hundred-acre reservation is administered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Formerly the water supply site for the town of Newton, Cutler Park was acquired by the DCR, formerly MDC, in 1962 with the help of State Senator Leslie B. Cutler. Today this public park protects the largest remaining freshwater marsh on the middle Charles River, provides flood control, and also provides passive recreation for thousands of visitors.

Cutler Park Reservation stretches from Kendrick Street in Needham to Great Plain Avenue in Dedham and is mostly situated between Route 128 and the Charles River. Prominent features of the park include Kendrick Pond and the Charles itself. Other features include a large freshwater marsh, and glacial eskers and drumlins. Railroad tracks cross the park in the south.   

Several natural communities may be explored here, including cattail marsh, mixed evergreen/deciduous forest, and freshwater pond. The marsh community is home to muskrats, red-winged blackbirds, mallards and Canada geese, as well as acting as a nursery for newly hatched fish. Red oak, black oak and white pine dominate the upland forest, where gray squirrels, blue jays and eastern phoebes live. Around Kendrick Pond, great blue herons, warblers and hawks are regularly spotted, while white-tailed deer range across the entire reservation. Just south of the pond you may notice a large stand of red pine, which was planted for watershed protection in the early 1900’s.

The focal point of Cutler Park is the historic Charles River, accessible by trail from the eastern side of the Kendrick Pond trail loop. This is just a small section of the eighty-mile-long Charles, which slowly winds its way from Hopkinton to Boston. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has permanently protected Cutler Park Reservation as part of the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area because of its importance in flood control in this section of the river. The large tract of wetland in the reservation acts as a giant sponge, soaking up water during wet periods, holding it, and gradually releasing it over time.

We invite you to explore Cutler Park. Walking along the 1.5 mile Kendrick Pond loop trail will allow you to see the major highlights of the park. Other popular activities include canoeing, fishing, bird watching and hiking. Cross-country skiing is an ideal winter activity. Motorized vehicle use, hunting and trapping are strictly prohibited.

If you have questions regarding Cutler Park, please call the (617) 698-1802. Please be respectful of this valuable, park and conservation land, and enjoy your visit to Cutler Park Reservation.

Parking Directions

Driving from Route 95: Take Great Plain Ave exit towards Dedham. Parking lot on left.
By Public Transportation: Take the Needham Heights Commuter Rail from South Station
More Directions