Follow the Cascades of Central Park

One of my favorite experiences in life is to discover something new.

Even though I have lived in New York City for many years,  I only recently found a meandering stream with three waterfalls in a forest. It is only about a 10-minute ramble from the subway.

I found the Loch in Central Park.

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The Huddlestone Cascade

“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” – Diane Arbus

Discover the Pools and Cascades of the Loch

Central Park’s most well-known and popular destinations like the Sheep Meadow and Bethesda Fountain are in the southern portion of the park (59th Streets to 79th Streets). For a quieter nature retreat in the city, try heading further north.

Start out at the 103rd Street (B/C) subway stop.

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Head into the 103rd Street entrance and follow the path leading towards the Pool. It’s a lovely and calm way to begin your nature walk.

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A view of The Pool

Follow the banks of the Pool and you’ll see the first of the three cascades, the Glen Span Cascade. It’s an earth-and-boulder dam that creates a 14-foot waterfall.

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The first of three cascades

Then slip through the Glen Span Arch and officially enter the Loch.

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Glen Span Arch

Follow a Meandering Stream Through the Ravine

The name Loch (Scottish for “lake”) is a misnomer. The Loch is a stream that flows through a series of pools and cascades before emptying into the Harlem Meer.

The Hidden Waters Blog has an excellent description of the history of the Loch, from original design of a lake-like pool to the recently rehabilitated forest brook you see today.

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The winding stream of the Loch

It’s a beautiful, tranquil forest walk.  Thread your way through caves and grottoes and climb over rustic bridges.

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The Huddlestone Arch made entirely of huge, uncut boulders. Built in 1866, no mortar keeps the rocks in place, only  gravity and pressure.
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New rustic bridges

A Nature Retreat in New York City

The Loch is a good place to go leaf peeping in the fall or bud-spotting in the spring. You’ll see Black Cherry,  Pin Oak, Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, American Elm, and Hickory.

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You can try a few nature attention experiments on your forest walk:

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Plan Your Visit to the Loch

To help you plan your visit to the Loch, the Central Park Conservancy put together a great self tour. You can download the tour map here.

Have you visited the Loch before? Do you like to discover a new (to you) place? Let me know what you think in the comments.


Add yours →

  1. Wow! Beautiful pictures. Thanks for a look at a place I never imagined in the middle of NYC!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post!! Thank you for taking me on this magical ramble while I am squeezed in between strangers, eating lunch with right hand and scrolling down with left hand, in front of harried people walking down the street before my window seat.

    Liked by 1 person

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