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The Mount Auburn Cemetery

What to Bring

Walking shoes   Backpack
Sunglasses   Hat (in summer)
Windbreaker   Water
Snacks   Plastic bag for
trash
 

Specs

  Directions
 
By Car
From Boston, take Storrow Drive West
After passing by Harvard Business School and the Kennedy Bridge in Cambridge, take exit for Fresh Pond Parkway
At the second light, take left on Mount
Auburn Street
The cemetery entrance is 0.5 mi on the left, before the next lights
You can park on any cemetery road without a green line – there is generally space on the right as you enter
Public transportation:
Take T Red Line Outbound for Alewife
Stop at Harvard
In the T station (lower level), board bus 71 or 73
Ask the driver to stop at the cemetery
(there is a bus stop right in front of the
gate)
Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge MA 02138, Tel 617-547-7105
  Good to know in advance
 
Map available for $0.50 at the entrance gate office

Open 8 am-8 pm in summer, 8 am-5 pm in
winter

The tower is generally opened daily in
summer until 6 pm
Bird sightings and horticultural highlights
(blooming trees and flowers) indicated on a board at the gate office
Audio tours available at the entrance gate office
No restrooms
  Etiquette
 
No pets
Biking, jogging, roller-blading and picnicking prohibited
 
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The Mount Auburn Cemetery
 
 

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 30 minutes
  Duration: A few hours
  Cost:

Free

  Main activity:

Walking

 
 
 
 
Yes, this is a cemetery, but you are likely to quickly forget it: entirely landscaped, crisscrossed by a network of grassy trails with flowery names, Mount Auburn Cemetery is an outstanding destination for a long walk.

It will likely be a somewhat challenging walk, since a key feature of the cemetery is its central hill and the tower capping it. The name of the road that leads to the tower says it all: Mountain road. From there, you will have a 360° panorama on Cambridge and the Boston skyline. Except for that short but steep climb and a short ascent at the start, this walk is mostly flat and leads you to the main features of the cemetery, including Willow Pond, Auburn Lake and Halcyon Lake. The loop is fit for strollers as well, with only a few steps that can be easily handled.

At a normal pace this loop will take about an hour and a half, including stops. We encourage you to buy a map at the gate (only 25 cents) to explore the cemetery beyond this walk.

Detailed directions are as follows:
From the gate, go straight up on Central Avenue
Turn right on Chapel Avenue on top of the small hill, and walk past Bigelow Chapel on your right
Turn left on Pine Avenue 20 yards after the Chapel (no sign, but this is the only paved road); Pine Avenue becomes Cedar Avenue
When reaching Walnut Avenue, continue straight on narrow Moss Path, then immediately right on Sumac Path to climb the hill
Turn left on Laurel Avenue and on Walnut Avenue
Take right on Orchis Path, then right again at the next trail intersection (Greeley tombstone), then left to walk down the hill
Turn right on the road and left on Mound Avenue, which becomes Pond Road
When you reach Willow Pond, take Azalea Path on your left to walk at the edge of the water; on the other side of the pond, you will take Spelman Road (no sign, but large Corleto tombstone) then left on Bigelow (again no sign but Freund T.S. tombstone); cross Crystal Avenue and take left at the next fork on Eagle Avenue
Climb up Mountain Road to the tower; the tower’s top level offers great views once you have ascended the 95 steps (yes, we did count them)
To continue, walk back on Mountain Avenue and take left on Magnolia Avenue; continue straight on this road at the intersection with Chestnut
Take left on Oak Avenue, becoming Rosebay when you reach upper Auburn Lake; cross the small bridge and walk ahead through Auburn Court (the large monument with the passageway in the middle)
Take left on Fountain Avenue, then right on Halcyon Avenue to walk around Halcyon Lake
Turn right on Sycamore Avenue on the other side of the lake, then immediately left on Caltha Path, becoming Daphne Path, which brings you back to the entrance.