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New York City, NY: John Kieran Nature Trail Loop

Connect quiet forests, wetlands, and an 18th century landmark on this 2.1-mile loop in Van Cortlandt Park.

Rating

It’s easy to escape the hustle of the city on this scenic, 2.1-miler in Van Cortlandt Park. The picturesque loop skirts the park’s namesake lake and links wetlands, woods, meadows, and the Van Cortlandt House Museum, a national landmark built in 1748. From the clubhouse next to the Van Cortlandt Lake, the route starts off with a trip to Tibbetts Wetlands. Head-high grasses and reeds provide a stark contrast with the surrounding woodland areas.
Next, walk northeast toward the forest, turning under a shaded, green canopy to explore the 13 stone pillars left by the New York Central Railroad. (The pillars were used to determine which type of stone would be the most durable for the Grand Central Terminal.) After passing the pillars, walk back to the four-way junction at the bridge (mile 0.6) and follow the dirt pathway that traces the lake; look for blue jays and red-winged blackbirds.
At the northern tip of the lake (mile 0.9), the route continues north for 500 feet before curving south toward the Parade Ground and ball fields. Half a mile later, bear right at the Y-junction to visit the Nature Center and Van Cortlandt House Museum, the Bronx’s oldest building. Backtrack to the Y-junction and turn right to return to the parking lot.
-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

To Trailhead

Take the 1/9 Train to 242nd Street/Van Cortlandt Park Station. Access the park from the west side by crossing Broadway and walking north. Turn right at signs for Van Cortlandt House Museum and Nature Center. Follow the multi-use path to Van Cortlandt Lake.

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