The Reservoir is better known to most as "the Res." It is located off of Lowell Street, just north of Park Ave and south of Lexington's Busa farm. There is a public parking lot located just off of Lowell Street. The 65 acre park is home to a 28 acre Reservoir. There is a 1 mile walking trail around the water and parts of this path connect with Hurd Park (bordered by the Minuteman Trail and just opposite Trader Joes and Walgreens) and a small playground area off of Rindge Ave - Rindge Park. A sectioned off part of the Reservoirhas a beach and a protected swimming area that is open during the summer. Fisherman can also be found along the banks of the Res during the warmer times of the year.
The Res Beach
The beach area at the Reservoir is quite popular in the summer. The swimming area is open from mid-June through late August. There is a fee to use the beach and its facilities. Arlington residents pay slightly lower fees than non-residents. There are daily use fees or you can purchase a seasonal beach tag.
There swimming area is separated from the main body of the Reservoir and is chlorinated and filtered. Beach staff included certified lifeguards, which are on duty during the hours the beach is open. There is a bathhouse (changing area and bathrooms), a playground, a volleyball net and vending machines in the beach area. Swimming lessons are offered during the week.
Details about fees, swimming lessons, dates and hours the beach are open, and more are found here.
The Reservoir was created by damming a small brook that flows out of Lexington and into Mill Brook. This occurred in 1871 and for the next 28 years the water supplied drinking water to the town of Arlington. In 1899 the town become part of the Metropolitan Water District and no longer needed the Res as a source of drinking water.
A gate on the dam failed in 1990, flooding part of the apartment complex adjacent to the park. A subsequent inspection revealed the entire dam was a hazard but it took until 2002 for any real progress to be made on rebuilding the dam. When you walk around the Res today the entire portion of the trail that is covered in gravel is what is now the rebuilt dam.
The park is a great place to see birds. Over one hundred species can be spotted here over the course of the year. There are also numerous species of fish and some resident turtles. At the edge of the parking lot, near a small sign that has a map of the trail, is a bat house. You might catch them if you were to go wait and watch for them to come out at dusk.
Photos of the Reservoir.
A sunny August day leads to a full parking lot at the Res.
A full parking lots also means there are plenty of kids playing at the edge of the water.
There is still plenty of room for more folks on the beach, despite the crowd.
The playground area is on the far end of the fenced off beach area.
The gravel path that loops around the southern end of the water is the top of the earthen dam that was rebuilt just a few years ago.
The gravel path serves as a part of the 1 mile trail that goes completely around the Reservoir.
The swimming beach looks quite different in the winter. The beach is covered in snow and the swimming area is frozen over.
For a list of all the parks in town please visit the town website.