New York City: New York Botanical Gardens

Experience chromatic rose gardens, exotic conifers, and old-growth forest on the most beautiful 4-mile walk in New York City.
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Experience chromatic rose gardens, exotic conifers, and old-growth forest on the most beautiful 4-mile walk in New York City.

Few walks in New York City can even come close to the Botanical Gardens. Visitors have the opportunity to travel between different ecosystems within less than a mile—and it’s free of charge. This 4-mile loop samples the best of the Botanical Gardens from culinary herbs to perennials to ornamental conifers, roses, and old-growth forest.

From the Visitor Center, follow Perennial Garden Way to Martha Stewart's Culinary Herb Garden and the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden. While the herbs are surprisingly not very aromatic, the perennial garden’s collections of yellow roses, red dahlias, and orange lilies compensate for any lost time on this section of the park. Continue north through the Daylily Daffodil Walk, which has an early spring bloom.

From here, the route traverses the alpine flowers of the Rock Garden before going south through a native, old-growth forest along the Bronx River. A short, out-and-back detour on the Overlook Trail reveals a small waterfall in the midst of these beautiful woods.

Wander southward through more woodlands, eventually looping through the Benenson Ornamental Conifers. The strikingly rare trees found here are not to be missed: weeping sequoias, Snakebranch spruces, and Dawn redwoods, among other jaw-dropping giants.

As the route loops north and back to the start, it visits the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. This is arguably the most dramatic and unbelievably gorgeous part of the park. Roses of every color imaginable tumble over wrought-iron fences and fill tiny plots. After exploring the garden, circle the outer rim of the forest and continue through the Rock Garden to the Visitor Center.

-mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

Mass transit: Take the Metro-North Harlem local line train to Botanical Garden Station. Walk across Kazimiroff Boulevard to access the Mosholu Gate entrance. Subway users can take the B, D, or 4 train to Bedford Park Boulevard Station. Walk eight blocks down Bedford Park Boulevard, then turn left onto Kazimiroff Boulevard. Continue one block to the entrance. Otherwise, transfer to the Bx26 bus from Bedford Park and ride it to the entrance.

From NYC: Take 9A North to exit 14 for I-95 North/George Washington Bridge toward 178th Street/Cross Bronx Expressway. Keep right at the fork and continue to I-95N. Keep left at the fork and follow signs for I-95/Cross Bronx Expressway. Merge onto I-95 North. Take exit 2B for US-1/Webster Avenue. At 1.9 miles, turn right at Belford Park Boulevard. Turn left at Dr Theordore Kazimiroff Boulevard. Turn right at Bronx Park Road and park at the gardens. Fee is $12.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.6

Waypoints

BOT001

Location: 40.862722, -73.880094

From the Shop in the Garden bear L @ Y-junction onto Perennial Garden Way.

BOT002

Location: 40.863514, -73.880795

Turn L for a short sidetrip into Martha Stewart's Culinary Herb Garden.

BOT003

Location: 40.8637408, -73.880897

Turn L to explore the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden.

BOT004

Location: 40.8646978, -73.8817228

Bear R @ the L-junction merging Daylily Daffodil Walk.

BOT006

Location: 40.865266, -73.879557

Turn R @ four-way onto Garden Way.

BOT007

Location: 40.863624, -73.879659

Bear L @ three-way taking Rock Garden Path.

BOT008

Location: 40.8641, -73.878487

Continue straight @ three-way past Rock Garden and Native Plant Garden.

BOT009

Location: 40.865156, -73.87774

Turn L @ T-junction.

BOT010

Location: 40.865803, -73.877826

Bear R @ Y-junction.

BOT011

Location: 40.866376, -73.875845

Enter The Forest.

BOT012

Location: 40.86242, -73.876763

Go L @ T-junction taking the Bridge Trail.

BOT013

Location: 40.86128, -73.875772

Turn R @ three-way, taking the Overlook Trail to a small waterfall in a quiet gorge. When finished, retrace steps back to this junction and continue straight on the Sweetgum Trail.

BOT014

Location: 40.859588, -73.877615

Go L @ T-junction merging onto Azalea Way.

BOT015

Location: 40.85908, -73.877768

Continue straight @ five-way junction.

BOT016

Location: 40.858241, -73.8779908

Go straight @ three-way.

BOT017

Location: 40.85711, -73.877785

Bear L @ Y-junction.

BOT018

Location: 40.856915, -73.877666

Cross over road and bear R @ Y-junction.

BOT019

Location: 40.8578508, -73.8768878

Bear R @ Y-junction following the Bronx River.

BOT020

Location: 40.85919, -73.876774

Go L @ T-junction and walk along Snuff Mill Road.

BOT021

Location: 40.859156, -73.8753398

Turn R into Benenson Ornamental Conifers and Nolen Greenhouses.

BOT022

Location: 40.858229, -73.875473

Bear L @ Y-junction.

BOT023

Location: 40.856121, -73.875556

Bear L @ Y-junction.

BOT024

Location: 40.85781, -73.875013

Go L to close loop then retrace steps to Snuff Mill Road and bear R.

BOT025

Location: 40.859206, -73.874329

Bear R @ overlook of Rockefeller Rose Garden. Then bear R out of the overlook circle.

BOT026

Location: 40.860652, -73.874039

Bear R @ Y-junction staying on Magnolia Way.

BOT027

Location: 40.86237, -73.87345

Continue straight @ three-way junction.

BOT028

Location: 40.86589, -73.877741

Bear L @ Y-junction.

BOT029

Location: 40.865208, -73.87781

Bear R @ Y-junction into Rock Garden.

BOT030

Location: 40.863193, -73.879361

Go R onto Garden Way then loop around the Reflecting Pool bearing L toward the Visitor Center and the finish.