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.
“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.
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.
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.
Then slip through the Glen Span Arch and officially enter the Loch.
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.
It’s a beautiful, tranquil forest walk. Thread your way through caves and grottoes and climb over 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.
You can try a few nature attention experiments on your forest walk:
- Look for the small, subtle, and overlooked like mushrooms, lichen, and tree sap
- Listen for song birds or other non-human voices
- Notice how time in nature makes you feel
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.
Wow! Beautiful pictures. Thanks for a look at a place I never imagined in the middle of NYC!
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Thank you so much, Susan! I really appreciate your kind comment.
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.
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Thank you, Joanne! I love that you took this as a “magic ramble” on your lunch hour.