Van Cortlandt Park: Greenway
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:115 Van Cortlandt Park South, Bronx, NY
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; call 311 or 718-601-1553

Bathrooms: Pool complex; nature center; golf house; stadium; playgrounds on Cortlandt Avenue at West 239th Street and at Gouverneur Avenue
Water/Snacks: Golf house

USGS Mount Vernon and Yonkers;

An easy-to-follow network of bike paths within the southeastern corner of this vast park is a good place to learn the rules of the road.

View of Van Cortlandt Lake from the Putnam Trail
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons/Jim Henderson

It may be hard to imagine that the Bronx was once a perfect location to build a rural farm or deep-woods retreat, but Van Cortlandt Park offers a glimpse of the region’s past. The 1,100-acre tract is home to a series of hiking trails that wend through forests and wetlands. The park is named for Jacobus Van Cortlandt, who bought a swath of land in this area in 1694.

Van Cortlandt Park features a number of sporting fields and courts; a crosscountry running course that is nearly a century old; a pool complex that has a large, 3.6-foot-deep intermediate pool and a small, foot-deep wading pool; and several large playgrounds. In short, there’s something here for anyone who loves being outdoors.

The park is also the eastern launch for the North Bronx Greenway (a.k.a. the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway), which ultimately runs past the New York Botanical Garden (Trip 62) and onto Pelham Bay Park (Trips 63 to 66). Biking the paved path within Van Cortlandt’s southeast corner will give new riders the chance to practice some steady slopes across varied landscapes. The path is also good for strollers.

For those who want to follow a walking or cycling route, enter the park at Broadway and West 242nd Street. At the fork, turn right at the pool complex. The stadium will be on your right, and then, staying on the main trail, you will pass through wetlands just south of the John Kiernan Nature Trail (Trip 68). You will cross over Putnam Trail, which is a wide former rail bed, and pass the golf clubhouse on your left. The clearly marked Greenway continues north, heading uphill to a bridge that loops back over itself then runs south along the right side of Mosholu Parkway, which is separated by a wide concrete barrier. After a short distance, the trail descends back into the woods and ultimately meets Van Cortlandt Park South. Turn right, then right again at Broadway to return to the starting point. Remember: Bike riding is prohibited on all other trails. If you are planning to swim, observe city pool rules.

Plan B:

Visit the Van Cortlandt Mansion and Museum, set in the borough’s oldest house, located behind the pool complex.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Shops are along Broadway.


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