Inwood Hill Park
The last native forests in Manhattan stand in Inwood Hill Park, at the northern tip of the island. In fact, of the park's 197 acres, more than 100 are lush woodlands and forests. One-hundred-year-old native trees include red oaks and some of the largest tulip trees in the city, which measure 15 feet around and tower 90 feet above the forest floor. Walking through the woods or meadows, you'll come upon the wildflowers for which the park is famous. Jack-in-the-pulpit, butterflyweed, drifts of day lilies, and long stretches of jewelweed appear unexpectedly.
In spring and fall, you'll find the woods alive with warblers migrating along the Atlantic flyway. In September, on days when the wind is right, broad wing hawks fill the sky over the Hudson. If you walk on the high ridge running along the park's western edge, you'll have majestic views of the Hudson- west to the Palisades, south to the George Washington Bridge, and north as far as the Tappan Zee. Lining the paths in this part of the park are blackberry, raspberry, and black currant bushes.
The northern tip of the park overlooks the point where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers meet: Spuyten Duyvil, or "in spite of the devil", a Dutch description of the point's treacherous currents. At water's edge lies a saltmarsh, a refuge for a rich variety of waterfowl: mute swans, belted kingfishers, and all kinds of ducks, including mallards, canvasbacks, buffleheads, redheads, and black ducks. Here, on a late afternoon in autumn, you might see a great blue heron, standing motionless as it hunts for fish. Or, in early spring, you might find a snowy egret ruffling its elegant plumage in the warm April wind.