Blue Heron Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, January 29, 2007

More Wonderful Winter Hikes

In the January 3 edition of The Daily Plant, we highlighted some great winter hikes you can go on in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Today we present some featured hikes in Manhattan and Staten Island.


Inwood Hill Nature Trail, Inwood Hill Park

Start out at the Inwood Hill Nature Center for your map, then go around the water and look for Shorakapok Rock. The walk starts here where, according to legend, Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the native Lenape people. From there, take the path to the left that slopes upward. Keep an eye out for the rock shelters which were formed by the Wisconsin glacier. The Lenape used them for temporary shelters during warmer weather. At the top of the hill, look for Whaleback Rock. It looks like the back of a whale breaking through the water’s surface! The bedrock you’re seeing here is called Manhattan schist, which is what most of Manhattan Island is built on. Keep your eyes peeled for Inwood Marble underneath the schist. Turn left here and follow the path down and head back to the center to warm up.

The Ramble, Central Park

Begin your hike with a visit to Belvedere Castle, which dates back to 1872. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a map and check out the weather station, which is used to report weather conditions in Central Park every day. Coming out of the Castle, make a left turn down the stairs. You can choose to go right or left from there, and either option will take you into the heart of the Ramble. Your map will help guide you through the winding trails, which were designed to make you feel lost, so try to enjoy that sensation. The Ramble is not very large (38 acres), so no matter which way you go, you will eventually find your way out. Use an old Ranger trick to help you figure out where you are in the park. Some light poles have an identifying alpha-numeric code. The letter "E" means you’re on the east side of the park, the letter "W" means you’re on the west side of the park, and the letter "C" means that you’re in the center of the park. Numbers 59-99 tell you which street you are equivalent to. From 100 to 110, the first "1" is dropped, so put it back on to tell which street you’re at. For example, if you see a light pole marked W82, it means you’re closest to West 82nd Street. If you see a pole that says E09, it means that you’re closest to East 109th Street. Good luck.


Blue Heron Nature Trail, Blue Heron Park

Start off with a quick visit to the Blue Heron Nature Center to pick up a map and use the restrooms. Make a right turn as you exit the center and head on over to the nature trail. The Spring Pond Trail is a short, 1/3 mile-trail that loops around Spring Pond. It has a permanent bird blind and leads to a small bridge that crosses over part of the pond. The rest of the trail is much narrower and has some inclines. It can get a little muddy after rain, but it is still negotiable.

Moses Mountain Hike, Greenbelt

Begin with a visit to the High Rock Ranger Station to pick up a trail map. Walk back to the parking lot and you’ll see the Yellow Trail starts next to the shed. It’s also the Green Trail, so pay attention to the markers. The Green Trail will go straight, so make sure you turn left when the Yellow Trail does. You’ll meet up with the Green Trail again because they share the same path. When they both turn right, you should too. When the Green Trail turns right again, follow the Yellow Trail left. You’ll have to cross Manor Road, so be careful! When you get across, turn left and follow the Yellow Trail up to Moses Mountain. Great view, right? Follow the trail back to the Ranger Station.

Article courtesy of "OUTDOORS in New York City," the new free newspaper of outdoor adventure published by the NYC Urban Park Rangers.


(Thursday, January 27, 1994)

Staten Island Borough Commissioner Thomas Paulo announces the release of the "South Shore Active Recreation Report." The goal of the report was to help resolve intensive demand for active recreational sites in a section of Staten Island with a growing population.


"It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative."

John Burroughs


Directions to Blue Heron Park

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