Pelham Bay Park Hiking Trails
At 2,772 acres, Pelham Bay Park is New York City’s largest park. Visitors to the park enjoy miles of hiking trails, bike and bridle paths, forests and meadows, as well as picnic grounds, playing fields, two golf courses, Orchard Beach, Bartow-Pell Mansion, and a breathtaking 13-mile saltwater shoreline that hugs Long Island Sound. The park’s natural areas include a variety of habitats making it an excellent place for hiking, birdwatching and viewing wildlife.
Kazimiroff Nature Trail (Red and Blue Loops): Leave the city far behind on the Kazimiroff Nature Trail, which provides self-guided long 1.24 mile (Blue Loop) and short 0.94 mile (Red Loop) trails around 189-acre Hunter Island. Visitors are led along the island’s wetland border, through its interior forest, and onto the shore of beautiful Orchard Beach. This nature trail honors Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff (1914-1980), who is remembered for his dedication to the fight for the protection of the delicate ecosystems that still thrive in the Bronx.
Siwanoy Trail: This trail is named after the Native American Siwanoy who inhabited the land along the coastlines of the Long Island Sound, Eastchester Bay and Pelham Bay, between Connecticut and the southern Bronx. The Appalachian Mountain Club cleared the then 1.8-mile trail in the winter of 1988, and the Siwanoy Trail opened to the public on March 20, 1989. The trail, now over three miles long runs through a 23-acre forest southwest of Orchard Beach and passes through The Meadow, Central Woodlands, and Bartow-Pell Woods.
Bridle Trail: The bridle path, first opened in 1931, is just over four miles long and provides beautiful vistas of marshland in the 375-acre Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary and of the surrounding woods.
Split Rock Trail: Split Rock is a glacial boulder, divided in half about 10,000 years ago with a large crevice between the two pieces. This famous rock is an important part of the history of Pelham Bay Park and the Bronx. It was in this gap that Anne Hutchinson and her daughter, Susannah, supposedly hid when local Siwanoy Native Americans retaliated in 1643 in response to harsh treatment by New Amsterdam Govenor Willem Kieft. Split Rock is located near the 375-acre Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary, which was designated on October 11, 1967, to preserve the natural wetlands of Pelham Bay Park. This short 0.32 mile trail to the Split Rock, which is located near the on-ramp of the New England Thruway from the Hutchinson River Parkway is less than half a mile long and begins near the corner of Eastchester Place and Huguenot Ave just outside of the north-western edge park.
Kazimiroff Nature Trail (Red)
Kazimiroff Nature Trail (Blue)
Split Rock Trail
Paved Official Trail
Unmarked Official Trail
Point of Interest
Points of Interest
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
Completed in 1842, the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is a city and national landmark designed in the federal style and made of local stone. In 1914, the International Garden Club (now known as the Bartow-Pell Conservancy) leased the building and opened it as a public museum in 1946.
Bronx Victory Column
The Bronx Victory Column and Memorial Grove honors servicemen from the Bronx who lost their lives while defending their country during World War I. Built in 1933, the 75-foot-tall limestone column supports a bronze statue of the Greek goddess Athena.
Turtle Cove is a tidal inlet separated by roadways between Eastchester Bay and The Lagoon. At its center are two basins of open water and a pedestrian bridge surrounded by a high marsh buffer of switchgrass, seaside goldenrod, rose mallow and marsh elder. The salt marsh habitat provides shelter and feeding grounds for herons, egrets and other wading birds.
The Kazimiroff Nature Trail provides long and short loop paths around Hunter Island, allowing visitors to explore wetland edges, rocky shores, and interior forests. Forests make up about half of Pelham’s natural landscape, and Hunter Island contains the park’s oldest oaks, towering over numerous native wildflowers, such as wood anemone, Dutchman’s breeches, and wild geraniums. Two stands of conifers attract a variety of owls.
The islands, originally known as East and West Twin, were joined to the Orchard Beach complex through the addition of landfill in 1947. For a small space, Twin Island is home to a wide variety of animal and plant life within its woods, rocky coast and salt marsh. The footpaths here are short and easy, and the views of Long Island Sound are spectacular.
Located on Orchard Beach Road, not far from its intersection with Park Drive, Glover’s Rock is a glacial erratic composed of gneiss, a rock type that forms the bedrock underlying the park and most of The Bronx. The site contains a plaque commemorating a Revolutionary War battle led by Colonel John Glover. Glover and his men held off a large British contingent, giving General George Washington the opportunity to lead his troops safely north to White Plains.
Goose Creek Marsh
One of the few relatively pristine saltwater marshes left in New York City, Goose Creek Marsh has been protected as part of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary since 1967. The marsh is a mosiac of salt meadow and saltwater cordgrass, with spikegrass, blackgrass, and marsh elder.
Orchard Beach Meadow
Orchard Beach Meadow is a unique plant community reminiscent of a mid-western prairie, composed mainly of sesame grass, goldenrod, and bayberry shrubs that provide excellent wildlife habitat, especially for butterflies. The ecosystem was created when soil was scraped from the surface to be used as topsoil and fill during the 1930s beach construction, leaving a shallow ground layer with close proximity to the water table.
The South Meadow formed in the mid 1980s when landscaped space in the park was allowed to “go natural.” The area contains thickets of young trees, small remnant meadows, mature oaks, and a large glacial erratic, dropped in place by a melting glacier.
Opened in July 1936, Orchard Beach is a 1.1-mile crescent of fine white sand abutting Long Island Sound. Known as the “Riviera of New York City,” Orchard Beach attracts over one million visitors per year or 100,000 visitors on a busy summer weekend day, as it is the only public beach in the borough.
The Lagoon is a remnant of the original Pelham Bay, having been formed when Orchard Beach was created in the 1930s. The Lagoon was widened and dredged when it was chosen as the site of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Rowing trials. A quiet inlet, it is a good spot to catch sight of osprey swooping in to catch fish for a mid-day meal.