Visitors will feel they have been transported to the Adirondacks. Under the forest canopy of the Ravine, the City's skyline is nowhere to be seen and the continual din of traffic recedes against the rushing sound of a hidden waterfall and the chatter of birds.
The Ravine, the only stream valley in the Park, is part of the 90-acre woodland in the Upper Park called the North Woods. It is bounded to the north and south by two rustic arches - Huddlestone and Glen Span. The Loch, a stream that flows beside the pathway under both bridges, is dammed in several places to create the cascades you hear as you stroll through the Ravine.
Huddlestone Arch is constructed of huge Manhattan schist boulders that are held together by gravity alone. There is no metal reinforcement; there are no concrete supports.
The northwest slope of the Ravine is a true deciduous forest of oak, hickory, maple, and ash. The forest floor is covered with leaf litter, deadwood, and herbaceous plants, such as white wood aster, Allegheny spurge, and woodland goldenrod. From the trail, visitors have a bird's-eye view of the central part of the Loch. Designed by Olmsted and Vaux as a long narrow lake (loch is the Scottish word for lake), it has over the past century reverted to its pre-Park form as a stream. The thickets growing on the islands of accumulated silt attract a wide variety of birds, including the rarely seen glossy ibis.
Another birding locale is the tall grass and wildflower meadow on the Ravine's southeastern slope. The meadow is at its most glorious in the late summer and fall. Cone flower, cup plant, and bee balm mixed in with a variety of goldenrods, asters, and native grasses set the hillside ablaze with color.
Pictures of the Ravine
Huddlestone Arch. December 2005.
Waterfall in the Ravine.
Rustic bridge in the Ravine.
Glen Span Arch.
Ravine. March 2002.
Huddlestone Arch. March 2002.