Van Cortlandt Park (North)
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Mosholu Avenue and Broadway, Bronx, NY
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; call 311 or 718-601-1553

Bathrooms: Near the horse stables
Water/Snacks: At the golf house

USGS Mount Vernon and Yonkers;

Within moments of leaving a busy intersection, you will be in forest primeval.

You may see rabbits, raccoons or chipmunks along your way in Van Cortlandt Park.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Florence “Cass” Gallagher was one of the original “Friends of Van Cortlandt Park” in the mid-twentieth century, and today, a moderate, 1.4-mile hike through the Northwest Forest in Van Cortlandt Park bears her name. Enter the park at Broadway and Mosholu Avenue, and follow the paved path south to the horse stable. The trail begins across from the stables, and immediately takes you into the forest.

Follow the trail due north, staying to the left of the first two forks you encounter. Early on, you will be hiking parallel to a cross-country running route that has been a park feature since 1913. After the second fork, you will cross over the running route before looping back south near the park’s northern border. At this curve, you will be near the park’s—and the city’s—northern border with Yonkers, in Westchester County. Follow the trail—which is rocky and steep at points—back south. It splits; stay left for the longer hike. Both paths will take you back to the starting point. Along the way, you may see rabbits, raccoons, or chipmunks.

If after this solid hike you haven’t had enough, or you want to come back for more, follow John Muir Trail. Van Cortlandt’s only east–west route, the trail opened in 1997 and was named for the Scottish-born American naturalist who founded the Sierra Club and advocated for preserving wilderness through national parks such as Yosemite. This moderately difficult but easy- to-follow 1.5-mile path also starts across from the horse stable. It takes you from the southern fringes of the Northwest Forest, under the Henry Hudson Parkway, over the nation’s first municipal golf course (opened in 1895), up a steady incline through the Croton Woods, under the Major Deegan Expressway, and onto the Northeast Forest.

Remember: Dogs are permitted off leash only in the three designated dog runs, and must be leashed in the woods.

Plan B:

The Riverdale Equestrian Centre in this section of Van Cortlandt Park provides lessons by appointment. For more information call 718-548-4848.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Shops are along Broadway.


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