North Woods

Located in the northwest area of Central Park, the 40-acre North Woods is the largest of the Park’s three woodland landscapes.

The North Woods encompasses a variety of landscapes and experiences, including the Ravine and the area surrounding the Blockhouse, a fortification built during the War of 1812 that is the oldest structure in the Park. The North Woods is an ideal place for wandering and exploring—and escaping the hustle and bustle of the City. It’s also a popular spot for birdwatching and other forms of nature observation.

Inspired by the well-known forested landscapes in the northeast such as the Catskills and Adirondacks, the Park’s designers created woodlands such as the Ramble and the North Woods to provide opportunities for a more intimate and immersive experience of nature. They made these landscapes specifically for New Yorkers who could not afford a vacation to these places—to offer them an escape from urban life that was closer to home.

To create the North Woods, designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux incorporated the area’s existing dramatic topography (including hills and large rock outcrops); added trees and other vegetation; and designed new features such as water bodies, cascades, rustic bridges, and a network of paths for exploring it all. Their goal was to create an impression of a rugged wilderness in the heart of the City.

The Park Needs Us

Central Park is New York City’s backyard—and it needs all who visit to get involved in its care. Find out how you can help keep it a vital public treasure and thriving habitat.

View with audio description

For much of the 20th century, the North Woods suffered from lack of regular maintenance. Many of its landscapes became overgrown, water bodies silted in, and infrastructure deteriorated.

Quiet Moments at the North Woods

Transport yourself to the wilderness of the Adirondacks with a short visit to the North Woods.

View with audio description

In the 1980s, the Central Park Conservancy began developing a comprehensive approach to woodland management, which led to the implementation of major restoration projects such as the most recent project completed in the Ravine in 2017. These efforts have made the area an important scenic destination in the north end of the Park and greatly enhanced the health and ecological value of these landscapes.