Inwood Hill Park
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Payson Avenue and Dyckman Street, Manhattan, NY
Hours:Park: 6 A.M. to 1 A.M. daily; Nature Center: 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Wednesday through Sunday
Fee: Free
Contact: or call 311; Nature Center, 212-304-2365

Bathrooms: Nature Center; tennis courts; Payson Playground
Water/Snacks: Water fountains throughout park; vendors often on the park's perimeter

USGS Central Park; USGS Yonkers;

This park is the only place in Manhattan where you can hike in old-growth forest and one of two places where you can observe a salt-marsh habitat.

Looking northwest at the Henry Hudson Bridge from Inwood Hill Park in spring.
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Largely nonlandscaped, Inwood Hill Park is home to the last natural forest and the only preserved salt marsh in Manhattan (see Trip 13). The rugged topography still bears the marks of the last ice age, which began 1.5 million years ago. The end of this era, roughly 10,000 years ago, left in its wake glacial potholes, caves, and deep rocky ridges that are still visible in the park—just as they are in the Adirondack Mountains and the Great Lakes region.

At nearly 200 acres, the park contains miles of trails and bike paths that take you from a busy city intersection into old-growth forest and onto the waterfront. The main pedestrian path, Bolton Road, is another vestige of an earlier era: It once led to the Bolton estate, one of several private summer homes that dotted the area in the nineteenth century. The entrance is on Payson Avenue near Dyckman Street (closer to the A train stop), and Bolton Road connects to a network of paved paths that was developed under the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. To see both forest and river, head west on the path (straight as you go in), and follow it as it curves to the right (north) to Spuyten Duyvel Creek. You can pass under the Henry Hudson Parkway bridge and continue on to the Hudson River. This path crosses back under the parkway near Dyckman Street.

Visit the Nature Center, near the salt marsh at 118th Street and Indian Road (closer to the 1 train stop), to learn more about the natural and human history of Inwood Hill Park. Playgrounds are at Payson Avenue and Dyckman Street, and at Seaman Avenue near 207th and 214th streets.

Remember: Picnicking is discouraged in the forest areas but is encouraged on the manicured peninsula at the northern part of the park.

Plan B:

Fort Tryon Park overlooks Inwood Hill Park and features a hardy walk up a wooded mountain.


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