Know the New Hiking How-tos
By car, the park can be reached by taking the Jackie Robinson Parkway to the Forest Park Drive exit. Several city buses have stops in the area.
Forest Park is owned and managed by New York City, Department of Parks and Recreation. The park is located in Southern Queens and is over 500 acres. There are four main hiking and birding trails in the park.
The eastern portion of the park is traversed by several marked hiking trails. The Orange Trail (2.4 miles) loops around the entire eastern section of the Park. The Blue Trail (1.7 miles) loops through the Eastern section of the park with several bird watching spots. The Yellow Trail is in the Northeast section of the Park. The Western section of the Park has the PFC Laurence Strack Memorial Pond (Red Trail) that circles the pond which is home to numerous water fowl. The Park is bisected by Forest Park Drive which is closed to vehicle traffic and provides access to all the trailheads. Forest Park is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.
Forest Park is a 500+ acre park located in Queens.
Forest Park is one of the natural treasures of New York City. The Wisconsin glacier molded this land 20,000 years ago and left the Harbor Hill Moraine, a series of small hills known as “knob and kettle” terrain, within Forest Park. The land was inhabited by the Rockaway, Lenape, and Delaware Native Americans until the Dutch West India Company settled the area in 1635. They established towns, though it was not until 1834 that they were chartered as the independent City of Brooklyn.
Forest Park is divided by Woodhaven Boulevard and the Jackie Robinson Parkway, despite these thoroughfares, Forest Park is the third-largest park in Queens, and contains the largest continuous oak forest in Queens.
Forest Park now contains several species of trees, including the Northern red oak (Quercus rubra), Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), White oak (Quercus alba), and Wild black cherry (Prunus serrotina). Several trees here are more than 150 years old, and create a canopy with an under-layer of Dogwood (genus Cornus), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and Corktree (genus Phellodendron).
Within Forest Park is the Overlook, the administration building for Queens Parks and highest elevation in Queens. The park is surrounded by the neighborhoods of Kew Gardens, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Forest Hills, and Glendale.
Forest Park has a “knob and kettle” terrain (a series of small hills) and 165 acres of trees. Park goers interested in exploring Forest Park’s natural settings firsthand often travel to its eastern portion, which abounds in hiking trails and bridle paths. Horses can be hired from a private stable in order to cover more ground from a higher perspective. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forest-park/facilities/horseback
Located in the Eastern portion of the park is a vernal pond locally known to birders as the “Watering Hole.” This area is one of the best places in the city to witness spring migration of land birds. Nearly every species of warbler, vireo and thrush occurring in the northeastern United States has been seen here. There are two birding trails surrounding the Watering Hole. Birding in Forest Park is documented by Audubon and can be found here.
Heading west, Forest Park offer a sports area with softball, baseball, tennis, bocce, handball, and golf. The 110-acre, par 67 golf course was modeled after Scottish links and maintains its reputation as one of the City’s most challenging golf courses. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forest-park/facilities/golf
Music fans know that the western portion of Forest Park includes non-sports-related highlights as well. The George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell, which can accommodate 2,800 people, hosts free concerts throughout the warm season. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forest-park/highlights/12782
The Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village is nestled within the park and is home to one of two known surviving carousels hand-crafted by world-renowned artist, Daniel Carl Muller. It’s also a NYC Designated Landmark! https://forestparkcarousel.com