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Nature Walks in NYC


Note on the 2020 public health crisis: When the pandemic arrived, many residents of the New York City began to discover the importance of walking outdoors for their health and well-being. The city was turned inside out. In a city famous for its density and standing-room-only attractions, its atmospheric cozy restaurants and crowded theaters, New Yorkers were left with little options other than taking a walk in the park and in other natural areas. The prescription was to find clear air and room to exercise away from others.


While the city has well-maintained parks throughout the boroughs, some of the parks are rather intimate and too small for social distancing. Though parts of Central Park can get crowded, the park’s large lawns and more remote areas of the North Woods and The Ramble allow plenty of elbow room. Two parks in Northern Manhattan, Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park, provide good escapes for city dwellers feeling claustrophobic. 

In the Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is the 3rd largest park in the city. In Brooklyn, residents know they can find room to roam in Prospect Park. At the far edges of the boroughs, Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn and Freshkills Park in Staten Island provide ample opportunities to get away from the city’s urban canyons. 

Below are several options for natural explorations in New York City. In addition, consider the long parks of the waterfront. 

The Season of Owls: A Walk in Inwood Hill Park           

An Early Autumn Walk in Central Park:2020 Edition

The Company of Nature: Walking With Butterflies in Fort Tryon Park

A Walk in the Forest Primeval: Inwood Hill Park

A Walk in the Heights: From Fort Tryon Park to Fort Washington Park

Central Park in Winter: A Walk to Belvedere Castle

From Manhattan to the Bronx: A Walk Over the Henry Hudson Bridge to Henry Hudson Park

In the Unruffled Waters at the Top of Manhattan

Forest Bathing in Central Park

A Rambling Walk in Central Park from Summit Rock to Conservatory Water

At the Bronx Zoo in a New York Autumn

A Sunny Walk in Central Park: From the Met to Columbus Circle

The Wilderness and the Garden: A Walk through Northern Central Park

From the Waterfront to Joan of Arc: Locating the Past in Riverside Park

On the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Ready to get out of the city? Consider walks on the trail from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to Croton. Find details in the following posts.

North Towards Autumn: A Day Trip on Metro-North Hudson Line

In Washington Irving Country: A Walk Between Irvington and Tarrytown on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail 

A Weekend Walk on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

A Walk to the Marvelous High Bridge and its Tower

Images from the archives of Walking Off the Big Apple.

See the page Walking for Fitness for more about the benefits of walking.

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