Click a point on the map to explore the trail
One of New York City's best-kept secrets! Follow this 160-year-old route and keep a sharp eye out for the history at your feet.
The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail follows the path of the original Croton Aqueduct where it traveled through the Bronx and Manhattan. The trail reflects the changes that the aqueduct has gone through since it was first built — some sections are packed–dirt paths running through a forest, while others are asphalt and concrete streets and sidewalks. In some places history will unfold right before your eyes — for some you will need to use your imagination. The rewards are worth the effort. A stroll (or hike, or bike ride) through Old New York is mapped out below. Directions are given from the starting point in the Bronx to the end in Midtown Manhattan, but you can start anywhere in between.
The Old Croton Aqueduct was New York City's major source of clean drinking water for many years. It was built between 1839 and 1842 and was used, along with later water tunnels, until 1959.
The aqueduct reaches from the Croton Dam and reservoir in Westchester County all the way to 42nd Street in Manhattan, a distance of 41 miles. Almost 15 miles of the aqueduct lie within New York City, and about 5 miles are inside New York City parks. The Old Croton Aqueduct was engineered by John B. Jervis, who was also the engineer of the Erie Canal. It was built according to the same principles as ancient Roman aqueducts, and the water was conveyed along those 41 miles entirely by gravity. Water began flowing through it on June 22, 1842, and took 22 hours to reach Manhattan. A day-long celebration was held around the City Hall fountain. The celebrations were for a good reason, as the water enabled New York City to fight the twin scourges of disease and fire.Click a point on the map to explore the trail or follow the links below:
- Van Cortlandt Park
- Jerome Park Reservoir
- Aqueduct Walk
- High Bridge
- Amsterdam Avenue
- Central Park
To learn more about the history of the aqueduct, visit the New York City Department of Environmental Protection website.