Forest Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Park Lane and Forest Park Drive, Queens, NY
Hours:Dawn to 9 P.M. daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 718-846-2731 or call 311

Bathrooms: Near playground at park entrance; visitor center
Water/Snacks: Vendors on both sides of Woodhaven Boulevard

USGS Jamaica

This thickly forested park features a network of blazed hiking trails and instructions on how to follow them, making it a good “starter park” for more-serious hikes outside the city.

Forest Park
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Forest Park is aptly named for its profound wilderness. It is one of only a few largely untouched and densely forested parks in the city, and it contains an enormous continuous oak forest (413 acres) that boasts some specimens more than 150 years old. Forest Park also features 4.75 miles of forested hiking trails, as well as trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. Forest Park Drive, which leads you through the park, is reminiscent of the drives circulating Central Park (see Trips 15), and provides easy access to the trails.

From the entrance of Forest Park at Park Lane and 80th Road, follow the paved path past ball courts and the William Sobelsohn Playground. You will arrive at Forest Park Drive, which soon intersects with Metropolitan Avenue. After crossing Metropolitan, Forest Park Drive becomes pedestrian-only. On your right will be the yellow-blazed trail leading through the Northern Forest. This trail takes you on a 1.5-mile hike, and begins with an explanation of how to read and understand trail blazes—a great help for first-time hikers. As you continue along Forest Park Drive you will next come to the longer, blue-blazed Gully Trail, which provides a 1.75-mile hike through thick forest. Both of these trails also connect to a 0.5-mile, red-blazed trail. Remember: If you do not take either of the side trails, but instead stay on Forest Park Drive to Myrtle Avenue, you will have walked 1.5 miles, and you will arrive at the visitor center. Past the visitor center, you’ll find an antique carousel, the Victory Field Sports Complex (opened in 1927 and dedicated to veterans of World War I), and an 18-hole golf course that dates to 1905.

Plan B:

Return to coastal Queens to visit Gantry Plaza State Park (Trip 43), where you can fish, explore the piers leading out into the East River, and visit a delightful playground.


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