CENTRAL PARK LOOP:
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: May 31, 2009
Length: Central Park Loop; 6 3/4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate. The paved road is hilly in spots and utilizes a bike lane. However, on weekends the road is closed to traffic. May be tough for kids on bikes.
The NYC Subway has multiple stops around Central park. For more information concerning the NYC Subway visit; NYC SUBWAY . For information concerning taking your bike on the Subway visit; NYC SUBWAY; BIKES .
Central Park stretches from Central Park South (59th St.) to 110th St at the northern end and from 5th Ave on the East Side to Central Park West (8th Ave) on the West Side. East Drive, West Drive & Center Drive combine to create a road that encircles the park. These are one-way roads heading north along the eastern side of the park and south along the western side of the park. These roads include a bike lane and a joggers lane, however, the road is closed to vehicular traffic; Weekdays: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 7:00 am. Weekends: 7:00 pm Friday – 7:00 am Monday. Holidays: 7:00 pm the night before – 7:00 am the day after. There's tons of things to do and see in the park. For more information visit; CENTRAL PARK .
Starting from W 59th St & 7th Ave; Follow West Drive into the park and head east (right) as the Central Park Loop is one-way. West Drive becomes Center Drive as you head north. You'll travel between The Mall and East Green before coming to Terrace Drive (72nd St) after 0.9 miles. Your now on East Drive.
Note; You can take a quick detour by heading left on Terrace Drive to Bethesda Fountain & Terrace overlooking The Lake. To the south is the tree lined Mall.
Continuing along the road, you'll pass by the Boat House on your left. Here you can rent boats, as well as bikes. For more information visit; BOAT HOUSE BIKE RENTALS or CENTRAL PARK BIKE RENTALS . The road becomes hilly from this point north. After 1.6 miles you'll pass by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more information visit; THE MET . The Great Lawn is along your left. The road then travels past the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir on your left and museum row on your right (Guggenheim-Cooper Hewitt-Jewish Museums). At 2.2 miles you'll come to E 90th St entrance. On your left is an overlook of the reservoir worth checking out. A pedestrian only trail circles the reservoir.
Note; A bike lane along E 90th St (eastbound) and E 91st St (westbound) takes you out to the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway .
Continuing north, you pass by the ball fields in North Meadow along your left and on your right you'll soon pass by the Conservatory Gardens before an S curve takes you down past the Lasker Rink & Pool. This brings you alongside the Harlem Meer and a fork in the road at 3.5 miles.
Note; Heading right brings you out to Central Park N/W110th St and Malcolm X Blvd at the northern top of the park.
Continue left and pass by 7th Ave where the road becomes West Drive. Heading south along the west side of the park you ascend a long hill through the North Woods and crest out at 4 miles. A path on your right leads up to The Great Hill. A map board is located here. Now you get to descend the hill where you'll pass by a small waterfall that empties into The Pool. You pass along the reservoir again and the Great Lawn before coming to W 81st Transverse Rd.
Note; Turning right on W 81st Transverse Rd will take you out to the HAYDEN PLANETARIUM and AMERICAN MUSEUM/NATURAL HISTORY .
Continuing south you'll pass by The Lake and come to an access road for W 72nd St at 5.9 miles.
Note; If you take a detour up this road it will bring you to Strawberry Fields, a tribute to the late John Lennon, as well as, the Dakota on W 72nd St. You can return to West Drive by heading down the southern access road.
Next you'll pass by the Sheep Meadow (restrooms available) and the Tavern on the Green.
Note; As you come to the southern end of the park you can take a quick detour out to Columbus Circle at the SW corner of the park. A large fountain is located here.
After about 6 3/4 miles you'll return to W 59th St & 7th Ave.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT