Willow Lake Hiking Trails
The Pat Dolan Trail was named after founder and first president of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy. Ms. Dolan is remembered as a dedicated park advocate who frequented the trail, which crosses the Willow Lake Forever Wild Preserve.
Hikers can access the trail from the east at the Van Wyck Expressway overpass at Mauro Playground (73rd Terrace and Park Drive East) and from the west at 72nd Road and the Grand Central Parkway Service Road. Near the Van Wyck Expressway, the trail passes through an extensive habitat restoration project that was completed in 2018 by the Forestry, Horticulture & Natural Resources division of NYC Parks. This project removed invasive plants and planted native species. Hikers can access a short trail leading north to a bird blind and scenic viewpoint of the lake. The main trail runs along the south side of the lake and over a wooden bridge. Through generous funding from the Recreational Trails Program grant, GreenerNYC, and Con-Ed, various volunteer groups installed paving stones and wooden puncheons for travel through the wetland areas on the west side of the lake near the Grand Central Parkway.
Pat Dolan Trail
Unpaved Official Trail
Point of Interest
Download the Willow Lake Trail Guide.
Points of Interest
Flushing Meadows Bird Blind
The bird blind was installed by the Flushing Meadows - Corona Park Conservancy in 2012 at the south-eastern lake edge. Willow Lake is a bird watcher’s paradise and the blind can be used to view many different species.
Flushing Meadows Scenic Viewpoint
A second scenic viewpoint is located on the south-western edge of the lake just west of the bridge on the Pat Dolan Trail. It offers a quiet respite on the west side of the lake and additional bird and wildlife viewing.