The Emerald Necklace is a greenway originally conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted. It runs nearly 10 miles from the State House to Franklin Park. This is a spectacular urban run, with many sections of different nature and sights. Just about the entire Necklace is a dedicated, off-road path. There are a couple of on-road ‘connector sections’. Typical of Boston, it is not very well signed.

The initial section, headed southwest, takes you by the famous Boston Common, Public Garden, and the Comm. Ave. Mall, in Back Bay, with gorgeous brownstones on either side. It is a couple of blocks inland from the Charles River. Then the Necklace becomes more of a green linear trail, through the Fens, and to Jamaica Pond, the Arnold Arboretum, and eventually Franklin Park.

There are many loop and there and back options. If running one way, there are some ways to take public transportation back to the start. See table below with key distances, segment highlights, and public transportation options. Also, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy publishes a wonderful park map. Stop by their Shattuck Visitor Center along the Fens for some info (and a restroom!).

Table of Emerald Necklace Distances and Highlights  Emerald Necklace Map



  • 5 mile loop: Museum of Fine Arts to Jamaica Pond
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Green Line E Line: Museum of Fine Arts