Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park is a rare rural retreat in the midst of the concrete jungle that is NYC. It is the only naturally occurring forest in the city. The hilly terrain and wild landscape makes this park have an idyllic and peaceful feel to it that can’t be found anywhere else in Manhattan. The uphill location also makes it a great spot to see the rest of the city from a vantage point of view. Read below to learn more about this historic and intriguing park!
Inwood Hill Park is open every day of the week from 6 to 1am. The expansive green space is located in the heart of Washington Heights by Dyckman Street. It’s the perfect place to bring your loved one along for a picnic during the warmer months of the year. The park has an open bbq area for family cookouts as well as many sport courts. Play or catch one of the ongoing baseball games or just go for a quiet stroll to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city in this lovely urban oasis.
Inwood Hill Park has plenty of athletic facilities including courts for baseball, soccer, tennis, basketball, handball. There’s also a running track for cross country and tons of walking and biking trails. A game is always taking place here and many local (and even national) leagues use the park’s facilities throughout the year.
There are restrooms located within the park and they are located by the main entrance. You can easily spot them during the summertime by their close location to the ice cream trucks. The park’s also a great to take your dog out for a walk. There’s a dog park that’s clean and safe as well as other hiking trails that are optimal to do with our furry friends. The park’s got panoramic views to the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River and the neighboring state of New Jersey.
The Hudson River Bike Trail is great for those who truly appreciate nature and want to get a feel of the park’s beauty. These trails offer a spectacular view to surrounding Harlem River, the Bronx, and Marble Hill. There’s a peace here that’s difficult to find in other parts of the city. You’ll feel like you’re talking a walk in the woods as you go on your hike.
There are three playgrounds designed exclusively for the use of young kids and toddlers. The playgrounds are equipped with sprinklers, swings, climbing features, ponds, and other various wooden structures. One of them is named the Indian Road Playground in remembrance of the Native American tribe who used to frequent the park’s grounds.
Inwood Hill Park is the last natural forest in Manhattan. It’s also the second biggest one after man made Central Park. The park’s almost 200 acres in size and has a hilly and uneven terrain. This is due to the past formation of glaciers that shifted underneath the ground. The retreat created a series of cave-like formations and valleys that are still visible in the park today.
Inwood Hill Park is home to the last naturally occurring salt marsh in the city. It receives fresh water from the mouth of the Hudson River and salt water coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. Salt marshes act as purifiers and they clean the water from pollutants. This makes them act as protective barriers that create thriving environments for various types of wildlife.
The park’s caves were used by a Native American tribe called the Lenape Indians during the 17th century. They took advantage of the park’s close location to the Hudson River as a source of food and water. The Lenape tribe settled in the caves that were formed by a shift in the glacier formations below the ground. They lived there for thousands of years and some pottery and camping artifacts from their time here still remain today.
At the center of the park stands Fort Cockhill which was built by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It’s one of three forts to be built around the area. The others being Fort Washington and Fort Tryon. This fort in particular was equipped with two cannons in order to fire at enemy ships heading north along the Hudson River. The park’s elevation at about 200 feet above sea level provided the Continental troops with an early advantage. However, it was taken from them by a brigade of Hessian fighters who later used it against Washington’s shrinking army. Fort Cockhill offers phenomenal views and overlooks the beginning of Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
A new area recently opened in 2014 called Muscota Marsh. The marsh is home to exciting biodiversity and offers prime bird watching opportunities. Birds such as the bald eagle, the great blue heron and the snowy egret are common here. The marsh offers great views to the Henry Hudson Bridge. The new area features a wildlife observation deck and a wooden deck that traverses the water.
Inwoood Hill Park is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. A nature center is located at the north end of the park and serves as the headquarters for the Urban Park Rangers. The center is a valued resource for educational and recreational activities.
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Edgar is a a film fanatic, a food lover, and an Upper West Side enthusiast. After working in PR and marketing in Chicago, he is pursuing his dream of becoming a writer. He loves photography and on his spare time you can find him hiking or biking the great outdoors (while also snapping some pretty awesome Instagram pics!).