With miles of trails, dozens of playgrounds and fitness stations, the river offers many free ways to get active while exploring local history, native wildlife, and a natural side of the Bronx that may surprise you.
1) Restored Salt Marsh at Soundview Park
Soundview Park is a 205-acre park at the mouth of the Bronx River with wide, sweeping views of Manhattan, Queens, and the East River. In addition to offering many recreational options—fitness equipment, ball fields, and playgrounds—a 1.5-mile waterfront path leads visitors to the newly-restored salt marsh at the southeastern corner of the park.
The goal of the restoration project was to bring back aquatic ecosystems to improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife. This makes Soundview Park an excellent place to bird-watch, run, bike, and skate on scenic waterfront paths.
Interested in getting more involved with this park? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. They hold regular meetings at the Soundview Park Field House to plan free events and activities.
2) Hunts Point Riverside Park
Once a street end strewn with trash and debris, today Hunts Point Riverside Park is a beautiful, green oasis. Thanks to tireless efforts of community residents to reclaim their waterfront and a capital project by NYC Parks, the park boasts BBQ stands, a spray play area, amphitheater, a fishing pier, and boat launch.
THE POINT CDC’s Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment, is next to the park, featuring a garden and art gallery. Also adjacent is Rocking the Boat, which offers wooden boat-building, sailing and free community rowing during the summer out of Hunts Point Riverside Park.
3) Concrete Plant Park
For many years, industry and highways have limited public access to southern stretches of the Bronx River. A unique partnership between local community organizations and NYC Parks led to the transformation of an abandoned concrete plant into this waterfront park and link in the Bronx River Greenway.
Today, Concrete Plant Park is a popular location for fishing and for launching canoe trips in the river’s estuary.
Join us on an Estuary Paddle out of Concrete Plant Park. Visit www.bronxriver.org/calendar to find out about upcoming trips.
4) The Westchester Avenue Railroad Station
This abandoned station, located along the Bronx River at Concrete Plant Park, was designed by Cass Gilbert, one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. The Westchester Ave station was one of twelve planned stations for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which operated until 1937.
Since then, the station has fallen into ruins, but is still appreciated for its architectural beauty and its potential to serve as a gateway to the Bronx River Greenway.
Come to Concrete Plant Park to explore the layers of history along the river!
5) Bronx River House at Starlight Park
Bronx River House is the base of operations for the restoration and management of the Bronx River, boasting a waterfront educational facility, community meeting space, and a boat house.
This innovative green building features energy efficient and water conservation elements, such rain water harvesting, ground-source heat, and solar panels.
Come to Starlight Park for its ball fields, playgrounds, trails and river access and stop by River House to learn more about upcoming river activities.
To find out more about educational activities on the Bronx River and how to get involved, go to www.bronxriver.org/education
6) The Bronx River Art Center
The Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) offers arts programs for youth and adults that use the Bronx River as a backdrop for creative exploration.
BRAC’s building, located on the banks of the river, has classroom studios, a multipurpose room for performance art and community events, an environmental educational garden and many environmental features like a green roof.
For more information, visit bronxriverart.org.
7) Bronx Park Connector
This one-mile in the Bronx River Greenway, which opened in 2013, connects the South Bronx neighborhoods of West Farms and East Tremont to an extensive trail system in the mid- and north Bronx. Following this link, cyclists, walkers and rollerbladers can easily reach the trails of the Bronx River Greenway and Mosholu—Pelham Greenway systems and connect to destinations like the Bronx Zoo, NY Botanical Garden, Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park, and Van Cortlandt Park.
8) Fish Ladder at River Park
The waterfall at 182nd St at River Park is scenic, but it is also a barrier to wildlife that depend on a free-flowing river. A fish ladder opened in 2015 to provide migratory fish with a way to access spawning habitat upstream. Their return will increase the biodiversity of the Bronx River by attracting more predatory fish and birds.
Enjoy a picnic at the barbeque stands in River Park, let your kids splash in the river-themed playground, and take in the view of the only fish passage currently in place on the Bronx River.
The Alliance offers guided tours of the ladder. Please contact us at (718) 542-4124 to arrange a tour.
9) Mitsubishi Riverwalk
The Bronx Zoo’s Riverwalk offers scenic views of the twin waterfalls and insights into the freshwater river ecosystem via path-side exhibits.
The stretch of the Bronx River that flows through the Bronx Zoo was created by dams built to power mills in the 19th century. The mill settlement that sprouted up on the east side of the river became known as Bronxdale.
Entry to the Riverwalk is free and is open to the public during Zoo hours.
10) The Bronx River Forest
If you are looking for a nature walk, the Bronx River Forest is the place for you!
The Bronx River Forest is a remnant of the original forests and floodplains that once blanketed the Bronx River corridor. Recent projects led by NYC Parks and the Bronx River Alliance have restored the river’s floodplain, increased habitat, upgraded the paths and nature trails, and added boardwalks and overlooks.
Today, the Bronx River Forest is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and observe the many birds and other wildlife that rely on the river for habitat and sustenance.
11) Duncomb Bridges
One of the best parts about paddling an urban river is passing under the many bridges along its length. There are over 75 bridges that span the Bronx River, ranging from historical stone ones built during the construction of the Bronx River Parkway to the modern steel ones supporting the Cross Westchester, Cross Bronx, and Bruckner Expressways.
A particularly scenic series of bridges to paddle under are the arches of the Duncomb bridges, which have carried the Bronx River Parkway over the river since 1925.
To paddle this stretch of the river, join us on an Upper River Run or follow our Paddling Guide (paddle.bronxriver.org) on a self-guided trip.
Visit www.bronxriver.org/calendar for upcoming canoe trips.
12) Shoelace Park
Shoelace Park is a ribbon of land along the river that was set aside in the early 20th century for the creation of the Bronx River Parkway, the first limited access highway in the country.
Today, this historic roadbed offers one-and-a-half miles of uninterrupted running, biking, and skating in the North Bronx. The northernmost boat launch on the Bronx River is located west of the Olinville Playground near 219th St.
- General park hours are from sunrise to 10pm. Playgrounds are open 8am to dusk. However, we advise you to check out the signage at each park, as hours may vary.
- Some places have high, dense vegetated areas, such as the Bronx River Forest. We advise you to use the buddy system. Stay on the trails and wear proper gear to avoid ticks and poison ivy.
- Please help protect the park and the Bronx River by leaving areas as you found them. Put trash in marked containers. Help us protect this natural resource by leaving plants and animals alone.
- For additional information about NYC parks, please visit www.nyc.gov/parks.