Under the forest canopy of the Ravine, Manhattan’s skyline is hidden and the rushing sound of a waterfall drowns the city noise. When Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created this area of the Park, they envisioned an urban escape, where visitors — particularly those who could not afford a vacation away from the City — could come and appreciate the wonders of nature. Though it was intended to resemble the wilderness of the Adirondacks, the Ravine, like all of Central Park, is completely manmade.
The Ravine, the only stream valley in the Park, is part of a 40-acre woodland called the North Woods. At its southwestern and northeastern borders are two rustic arches — Huddlestone and Glen Span. Huddlestone Arch is constructed of huge Manhattan schist boulders that are held together by gravity alone.
The Loch, a stream that flows beside the pathway under both bridges, is dammed in several places to create the cascades. The northwest slope of the Ravine is a true deciduous forest of oak, hickory, maple, and ash.