New York City: Ward's Island

Walk along the East River waterfront for views of Mill Rock Park and the New York City skyline on this TK-miler on Ward's Island.
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Walk along the East River waterfront for views of Mill Rock Park and the New York City skyline on this TK-miler on Ward's Island.

A riverside recreational destination for New Yorker on the East Side, Ward’s Island encompasses Randall’s Island Park, Ward’s Island, and Icahn Stadium and about four miles of trails for hikers and cyclists.
Visitors can start at Carl Schurz Park and take the Bobby Wagner Walk, a multi-use path along the East River that runs from East 96th to East 125th Street. The Ward’s Island Pedestrian Bridge provides easy access to the park from East 102 Street and offers truly gorgeous views of the river. After crossing over the bridge, head north along the waterfront to explore the north end of the island. Gardens line the right side of the trail. An abandoned pier, decaying and overgrown with vegetation, juts out of the water. Wetlands and a lagoon are due south of Icahn Stadium grounds. When finished with the north side, retrace steps back to the pedestrian bridge and walk south to Ward’s Island Park. A waterfront trail showcases Mill Rock Park, a seemingly untouched, tree-covered island in the middle of the East River. Beyond it is Roosevelt Island. As the pathway wraps around the island’s south side, it also tours Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges. The trail ends at Hell Gate. From here, retrace steps back to Carl Schurz Park.
-mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

From NYC Midtown: Go southeast on West 42nd Street toward Broadway. Turn left at United Nations Plaza. Make a slight right to continue on United Nations Plaza. Turn right at the FDR Drive ramp. Merge onto FDR Drive North. Carl Schurz Park is on the right.

Mass transit: Take the 4/5/6 train to Lexington and East 86th Street. Walk west on East 86 Street, then turn right at East End Avenue. Cross the street to Carl Schurz Park.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.3

Waypoints

WAR001

Location: 40.7773567, -73.9425266

From Carl Schurz Park and the NY Water Taxi Pier, walk north on TK pathway.

WAR002

Location: 40.786247, -73.9389998

Turn L and walk up the ramp to the Wards Island Pedestrian Bridge.

WAR003

Location: 40.785275, -73.935283

From the pedestrian bridge, turn L and walk north along the pedestrian-only pathway. A bike path is to the right. On the way back from the north end of the island, continue past this junction and walk along the path to Wards Island Park.

WAR004

Location: 40.78741, -73.934233

Pass an abandoned pier in the East River. To the right are stables for the New York City Riding Academy. Continue north along the gardens.

WAR005

Location: 40.7911688, -73.929927

Reach a bench area with views of the Harlem River and RFK Bridge.

WAR006

Location: 40.7911798, -73.9295828

Merge onto multi-use path but stay L. Cycles use the right side of the pathway.

WAR007

Location: 40.79078, -73.928129

Turn L and walk over the bridge. Very short nature trails allow visitors to explore the wetlands, which are being restored.

WAR008

Location: 40.791927, -73.927025

Turn L @ T-junction, exploring the western shore and Icahn Stadium grounds.

WAR009

Location: 40.796374, -73.926703

Stay L @ Y-junction, continuing along the water.

WAR010

Location: 40.797302, -73.927013

At the kiosk and pier for NY Waterway Sightseeing Cruises, turn around and retrace the way back to the pedestrian bridge. From there, continue south to explore the south end of the island and Wards Island Park.

WAR011

Location: 40.78103, -73.928128

Cross under the Triborough Bridge.

WAR012

Location: 40.7836285, -73.9236599

Turn around where the path ends beneath Hell Gate Bridge. Retrace steps back to Carl Schulz Park.

Looking at Ward's

Location: 40.7805739, -73.9436209

North-facing view of the river

Location: 40.7860168, -73.936969

Abandoned pier

Location: 40.7873165, -73.9341795

Willow

Location: 40.7895748, -73.932184

RFK Bridge

Location: 40.7912318, -73.9299417

Bridge over wetlands

Location: 40.7911668, -73.9276564

Lagoon

Location: 40.791638, -73.9271843

Mill Rock Park and the East River

Location: 40.7829624, -73.9342225

East River

Location: 40.7828161, -73.932935

Pedestrian Bridge

Location: 40.7853182, -73.9354026

Triborough Bridge

Location: 40.7809476, -73.9277422

Hell Gate Bridge

Location: 40.7825074, -73.9255321

Underneath Hell Gate Bridge

Location: 40.7836285, -73.9236546