Updated: Jul 18, 2020
Inwood Hill Park is the only natural forest left on Manhattan. Walking through the 196.4 acres park today, tree roots tear into asphalt paths. Lamp posts are covered by climbing vines until they seem more a part of the scenery than a piece infrastructure. Huge rock formations are pock-marked with “Glacial Pot Holes,” vestiges of the ice age and the great glacial retreat right in Manhattan. And New York City Audubon remarks that, “in a single year, 150 bird species have been spotted in Inwood Hill Park.”
Officially opened as a city park in 1926, Inwood Hill has a long history before becoming city property. The park was a fishing ground for the Lenape Tribe who inhabited the island and it was in this park that Peter Minuit traded for the island in the name of the Dutch. In fact, the stream connecting the Hudson River to the Harlem River still bears it’s Dutch name Spuyten Duyvil, which Chris Whitney defined as Dutch for, “In Spite of the Devil” due to the treacherous nature of navigating the current.
If you’re interested in a more extensive history of the park, check out this timeline created by local historian Jim Cole: http://myinwood.net/inwood-hill-park-historical-timeline/. Cole’s timeline gives a detailed account of the park from Pre-Columbian to contemporary times.
There are three designated hiking trails in the park along with a myriad of other paved walking ways. The gallery is a compilation of photos from points along the trails and other paths throughout all the seasons.