Fort Tryon Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Fort Washington Avenue and Cabrini Boulevard, Manhattan, NY
Hours:6 A.M. to midnight daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Anne Loftus Playground; The Cloisters museum; Fort Tryon Café
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at playground and throughout park; high-end restaurant New Leaf Restaurant and Bar on main walkway

This all-seasons destination should not be missed during fall's foliage.

Fort Tryon Park.
Photo by: iStock

Fort Tryon Park is designed to be stunning all year round, but our favorite season to visit—autumn—owes its grandeur to the views of Palisades Interstate Park, a dense forest preserve set along dramatic cliffs in New Jersey. When the trees are dressed in yellow, orange, red, and fading green, it is a vista worth traveling for.

This is exactly what John D. Rockefeller Jr. wanted. Fort Tryon sits atop a similar escarpment on the New York side of the Hudson River. Rockefeller donated Fort Tryon Park to New York City in 1935, and established the Palisades in part to protect the views across the river. It can be said that Fort Tryon is a descendant of Central Park, as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son and namesake of Central Park’s landscape architect. In 1983, it was designated an official city landmark.

At nearly 70 acres, Fort Tryon is renowned for its many distinct gardens and lawns. These are most easily accessed via a network of paved and gravel paths that begin at the main entrance at Fort Washington Avenue, one block northwest of the 190th Street stop on the A train. This would be the best route if you have a stroller or toddler.

You can also access the park by hiking up the trails, rough and steep in parts, from the entrance near the Dyckman Street stop on the A train. Exit the stop and walk two blocks south to Arden Street, and enter the park on your right. After a short distance, turn right and follow the path to an elevation of nearly 200 feet. The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that features medieval European art, commands this area. Follow the path to the western side, overlooking the Hudson, and absorb the view of the Palisades.

Remember: Some of the gardens are designated quiet zones. If children need to burn off energy, playgrounds are near Dyckman Street and Fort Washington Avenue.

Plan B:

Leave Fort Tryon Park via the paths to the north to hike down to Inwood Hill Park (Trip 9).


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