New York

Inwood Hill Park Orange Trail

The Inwood Hill Park Orange Trail is almost 100 years old and showcases the geological and human history of the park with glacial potholes, an overlook of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades, historic structures, and giant slabs of glacial schist that are believed to have been used by people of the Lenape tribe for shelter. The trail boasts both historic and new rock work that facilitates steeper climbs and reminds park goers of a bygone era.

photo: Overlook in the fog

Length: 1.43 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Nature Trail
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Rock Climbing
Snow - Snowshoeing
Wildlife Observation

     Views of the Hudson River

See more details.


Location: Manhattan, New York City
State(s): New York
Counties: Manhattan
Longitude: -73.929889
Latitude: 40.867889

Driving Directions

Multiple access points from Dyckman Street, Seaman Ave, Payson Ave, Indian Road, and 214th street.


A walk on the Orange Trail through Inwood Hill Park takes you up close to American history, and even to the very formation of Manhattan Island. Evidence of the park’s prehistoric roots exists as dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges left as the result of shifting glaciers. The trail is almost 100 years old and showcases the geological and human history of the park with a walk through the only forest in Manhattan, glacial potholes, visits to historic structures such as Straus Mansion and Cock Hill Fort, and giant slabs of glacial schist that are believed to have been used as shelter by people of the Lenape tribe. This moderate-vigorous hike will take you off the paved paths through the heart of the park’s Shorakapok Preserve with dramatic views of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Hudson River, and the New Jersey Palisades.
The forest grove contains native species such as tulip trees, oaks, and maples and the trail will lead you to the top of the hill, where some of the park’s oldest trees live. The trail contains seven intersections with the Blue Trail, as well as over ten intersections with unnamed official trails throughout the park, connecting visitors to all of the parks amenities such as athletic fields, playgrounds, dog runs, a barbecue area, the Inwood Hill Nature Center and the Hudson River Bike Trail which takes you down the entire length of Manhattan along the Hudson River. The park is also one of the best places to spot a bald eagle in the City, after the Urban Park Rangers launched a bald eagle release project in the park in 2002.
The trail boasts beautiful rock work, both historic and new, that facilitates steeper climbs and reminds park goers of a bygone era. A significant portion of the Orange Trail was constructed between 1934-1941 as part of the New Deal. Crews from the National Youth Administration and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created a natural rock staircase, installed over half a mile of belgian block drainage gullies and installed coping stones along steep sections of the Orange Trail. More recently, the Citywide Trails Team (a partnership between the Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks) installed rock check steps north of the existing WPA to build upon their work and further stabilize the northern section of the trail. The team also recently installed checksteps and water bars on the trail for erosion control. Unlike other trails throughout the city, the Orange Trail and others in Inwood Hill Park have enhanced wayfinding signage to help visitors find their way through the park.
Earlier this year the Natural Areas Conservancy released the Strategic Trails Plan, which lays out a blueprint for the long term management of the citywide nature trail system. The plan includes trail management and design guidelines, which proposes the use of Trail Management Objectives (TMO) that outline the fundamental components of contemporary, sustainable trail planning and management for every trail. Inwood Hill Park’s Orange Trail is one of the few pilot sites to test the new tool before it is implemented to support citywide trail management efforts.
The park is supported by the Friends of Inwood Hill Park, as well as local Scouts troops, and has been stewarded throughout the years through various volunteer engagement efforts. The trail also has a dedicated advanced volunteer who stewards a portion of the trail throughout all four seasons. This steward conducts basic trail maintenance tasks such as pruning, invasive species management, debris removal, reporting trail concerns and supporting the team’s trail improvement projects. The NAC is recruiting more volunteers to maintain the rest of the trail, building the community of stewards who work throughout the park to support larger projects and raise awareness about the trails in the community.
Marble Hill and Washington Heights, the two neighborhoods surrounding the park, together have a population of over 170K made up of majority Latino and Hispanic communities. Marble Hill has a median household income of $36,480, and Washington heights $54,527 compared to Manhattan's median household income of $86,553. Multiple census tracts in Marble Hill, the immediate surrounding neighborhood, are 40% below the poverty level and the DEC has identified both neighborhoods as potential environmental justice communities.

Additional Details

Width: 72 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt
Rock, boulders
Rock, smooth
Soil, compacted

Average Grade: 4%
Maximum Grade: 20%
Elevation Low Point: 14
Elevation High Point: 215
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trails with Points of Interest

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Jennifer Hoppa
Administrator Northern Manhattan Parks
NYC Parks and Recreation and Natural Areas Cons.
Fort Tryon Park Cottage
741 Fort Washington Ave
New York, NY 10040
(347) 865-5399
[email protected]

Public Contact:
Jennifer Hoppa
Administrator Northern Manhattan Parks
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Fort Tryon Park Cottage
741 Fort Washington Ave
New York, NY 10040
(347) 865-5399
[email protected]

Trail Management:
Julia Raskin
Trail Program Manager
Natural Areas Conservancy
Natural Areas Conservancy
1234 5th avenue
2nd floor
New York, NY 10029
(914) 419-0430
[email protected]




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