Explore the Putnam Trail

Far from being “abandoned,” the Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park is walked, cycled, jogged, birded.  Families, school classes, senior citizens, fishermen and cyclists use it. The 1.5 mile Trail is a narrow corridor surrounded by trees, flowers, and birds, and is a rural utopia in the heart of the city. These special areas have laws and regulations protecting them for a reason. The trail runs through one of the largest freshwater wetlands in the city (56-plus acres) and Forever Wild Preserves. This project is a model for how to use best practices to protect nature in urban settings.

The Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park stretches between the VCP golf house and Yonkers border. North of the park, the rail line is paved for 40 miles.  That is one of the ironies: pavers say they need more asphalt paving; there’s not enough in VCP. But they have 40 miles of almost exclusive biking trail to the north of the city line. They have many miles going in an East/West trajectory on what’s called the East Coast Greenway through Yonkers and the Bronx. And they have 30-plus miles of paved greenway around Manhattan. They are trying to get the state/city to commit $100 million-plus of taxpayer dollars to a Hudson River Greenway that could wind up under water due to climate change and rising sea levels. Originally the rail line was owned by New York Central and operated between Sedgwick Avenue and Brewster, NY.

Click to open a PDF of the map

If you wish to explore the Putnam Trail and the many other great things in Van Cortlandt Park we recommend you check out Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, www.vancortlandt.org  They help to maintain and support the park and rely on donations for doing so.

You may be interested in following the blog called Putnam Trail Chronicle run by a local artist and naturalist.  The site contains photos, videos, updates, insights about the trail and for those interested in preserving natural areas in the city.

For more information or if you have any questions please e-mail: