The Ravine is the most well-known of the landscapes in the North Woods—Central Park’s largest woodland.
A densely wooded valley, its defining feature is the long, narrow watercourse called the Loch, known for its three waterfalls. (The word “Loch” is Scottish for “lake.”) Paths on both sides of the Loch provide views of the water, with some leading directly to its edge. One of the most peaceful spots in the Park, the Ravine’s soaring trees block out the surrounding cityscape and the sounds of small waterfalls muffle other signs of urban life. This is also a popular spot for birdwatching and other forms of nature observation.
Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed woodland landscapes to provide urban dwellers access to nature in the middle of a growing city. Inspired by upstate landscapes such as the Catskills and the Adirondacks, they hoped that those who could not afford a vacation to these places would be able to enjoy nature closer to home. Even though the Ravine looks natural, it was designed and built, like the rest of the Park. The designers did take some cues from the existing landscape and topography, creating the Ravine and Loch in an existing valley carved out by a meandering stream known as Montayne’s Rivulet. Park builders dammed and widened the stream, deepened the valley, and added plantings and features such as bridges and cascades.
Marking the entrances to the Ravine on both sides are impressive combinations of rustic stone arches and cascades: Glen Span Arch and cascade and on the west side and Huddlestone Arch and cascade on the east side.
Things you can do here
The North Woods Tour2:00 pm
Escape the chaos of New York City in Central Park’s North Woods, an idyllic woodland oasis showcasing cascades, streams, and thriving greenery.
Tags: Art & Architecture / Wildlife / Plants and Trees
Discovery Walks for Families: The North Woods Tour11:00 am
The rocky landscape surrounding the Harlem Meer has a storied history and more than a few secret nooks for young explorers to enjoy.
Tags: Kids and Families / Plants and Trees
Guide to the Perfect Weekend in Central Park
Whether you’re just stopping by for a visit, heading to a concert, or consider Central Park your backyard, we have you covered for your perfect weekend in the Park.
Tags: Kids and Families / Health & Fitness / Art & Architecture / Wildlife
Hidden Highlights of the North End Tour2:00 pm
Lace up your comfortable walking shoes for an energetic hike through Central Park’s north end!
Tags: History / Art & Architecture
Also in the area
Restoration and Maintenance
A Year of Improvements: Planning, Design & Construction in Central Park
Whether we're improving access or rebuilding infrastructure, the Conservancy works year-round to preserve the Park.
Restoration and Maintenance