The open meadow surrounded by trees is perfect for picnics and lawn games, while a quarter-mile soft surface path offers runners a road less traveled. Visitors to the Great Hill can take a rest at one of the many benches or check out the children’s glade at the woodland edge, which features family activities and winding country paths.
Long before Central Park was formed, the northern slope of the Great Hill was the site of a British encampment during the Revolutionary War—chosen for its strategic view of the North River (now the Hudson) and access to McGowan’s Pass. When designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created plans for the Park decades later, they designed a carriage concourse with sweeping views of the river and the Palisades. Though the vista was gradually overtaken by trees, the Great Hill became a popular recreation area in the 1940s and ’50s.