Pelham Bay Park: Hunter Island
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Park Drive, Bronx, NY
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free; $8 parking fee applies in summer
Bathrooms: Nature center; Pelican Playground; pavilion
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at the bathrooms; concessions at the pavilion

The wetlands along the Kazimiroff Nature Trail attract a variety of animals all year long.

Northern tip of Hunter Island in Pelham Bay Park.
Photo by: Wikimedia/Peter J. Romano 2nd

Kazimiroff Nature Trail, located on Hunter Island (now connected to the mainland), can provide a much-needed respite from a crowded day on Orchard Beach. This destination, however, is attractive in any season—especially if trying to spot great-horned owls in winter is your fancy. You may also see deer, osprey, ducks, and raccoons in these woods.

The trail is named for Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff, a Bronx-born dentist who also served as the borough’s official historian from 1953 until his death in 1980. An amateur zoologist, archeologist, and botanist, Kazimiroff was a consultant to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, and the American Museum of Natural History. The outdoors was his passion, and preserving its delicate ecosystems his mission.

Two well-marked trails, red- and blue-blazed, take you through wetlands, around the bedrock cliffs that form the coast, and into deep coastal forest. From the Orchard Beach promenade, enter at section 3, to the left of the nature center. Keeping the vast picnic area to your left, you will see the trailhead in the woods in the distance. Upon entering the trail, you’ll be among thick trees. The narrow path has short detours onto the bedrock bluffs that overlook the Hunter Island Marine Zoology and Geology Sanctuary. In summer, when the tide moves out, the pools left among the rocks are ad hoc aquariums, with baby fish and crabs swimming about. In fall, the foliage over Long Island Sound is spectacular.

Both the red and blue trails lead to a loop at the preserve’s northern edge. Shortly after the loop, the red trail turns off to the left. The blue trail, which we recommend, is about 2.0 miles in total. It takes you through a deeply wooded area and then joins the red trail back to the trailhead. If you want to take to the water, you can head to the canoe and kayak launch, which is southwest of Hunter Island, near the parking lot.

Remember: The trail can be muddy and marked by small puddles after it has rained, so wear boots.

Plan B:

The trail on Twin Islands offers a shorter loop through similar terrain.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It is best to pack a picnic.


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