Central Park Preserve
The North Woods
Habitat Type: Forest
The North Woods is home to the Ravine, the only stream valley in Central Park. The Loch, a stream that flows beside the pathway under both bridges, is dammed at several places to create cascades. The northwest slope of the Ravine is a true deciduous forest of oak, hickory, maple, and ash. The forest floor is covered with leaf litter, deadwood, and herbaceous plants, such as white wood aster, Allegheny spurge, and woodland goldenrod. From the trail, visitors have a bird's-eye view of the central part of the Loch. Designed by Olmsted and Vaux as a long narrow lake ("loch" is the Scottish word for "lake") it has over the past century reverted to its pre-Park form as a stream. The thickets growing on the islands of accumulated silt attract a wide variety of birds, including glossy ibis.
Another birding locale is the tall grass and wildflower meadow on the Ravine's southeastern slope. The meadow is at its most glorious in the late summer and fall. Cone flower, cup plant, and bee balm mixed in with a variety of goldenrods, asters, and native grasses set the hillside ablaze with color.
Public Transit: Take the 2/3 train to 110th Street. Walk straight into Central Park at this entrance on the North Side of the Park and walk right around the Harlem Meer. The North Woods are on the hill to the right of this entrance. An access point to the North Woods is along the road behind the ice skating rink. A small waterfall is visible at this entrance.
Take the B or C train to 103rd or 110th street. Entrances to the Park along Central Park West along this section lead to the North Woods.