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The Bronx River travels from the mouth of the East River north to the Kensico Dam, providing views of the natural history of the area. Because the trail is under development, there are several gaps between its completed sections. Therefore, carrying a trail map with you (or on your smartphone) is recommended.
Beginning at the trail’s southern end, you’ll explore a restored salt marsh at the mouth of the Bronx River. You can access the trail at the eastern entrance to Soundview Park at Leland and O’Brien Avenues. The path travels uninterrupted 1.5 miles through the park, which is well used by families from around the area. This trail segment ends at Lafayette Avenue.
There’s a 0.5-mile gap to reach the next section of trail, which traverses Concrete Plant Park. Walkers can use the sidewalks along city streets to bridge this gap, but thru-cyclists will need to be comfortable with on-street biking until the trail is completed here. Concrete Plant Park, finished in 2009, shows a unique and thought-provoking mix of industrial uses and public space that shouldn’t be missed.
After traveling 0.4 mile through Concrete Plant Park, the trail continues as an on-street connection along the access road of Sheridan Expressway 0.4 mile to the southern end of Starlight Park, where you’ll find one of the many attractive river access points for boats. The Bronx River Alliance is completing Phase 2 of Starlight Park, which will fill this gap with an off-street trail, anticipated to be finished by the end of 2019. In the park, plan a stop at the Bronx River House, the new headquarters of the Bronx River Alliance, for maps, restrooms, and a water fountain.
Continue north from Starlight Park, where the trail jogs east as the Bronx River enters the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden. If time permits, spend an afternoon off the trail wandering through the zoo or the famous botanical garden and its living museum. You can also enjoy the multitude of free public parks that dot the trail throughout this 2-mile section. Not to be missed is the Bronx River Forest, just north of the botanical garden, which is being restored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bronx River Alliance and provides an oasis of green in one of the nation’s most urban areas.
The trail continues north to the Kensico Dam, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are several on-street connections along the remaining journey to the Kensico Dam, ranging in length from 0.5 to 2 miles. Side streets can complete these connections until the trail is constructed, but there are no signs to guide you through them to the next section of trail, so bringing a map will be important for doing a thru-journey on the Bronx River Greenway. Work was finished in 2021 on a section of trail between Scarsdale and Hartsdale, helping to bridge one of the major gaps along the trail's route.
The trail crosses below the Bronx River Parkway a number of times, and some of these crossings have very low clearance, requiring cyclists to walk their bikes. A section of trail between Hartsdale and White Plains is unpaved, and may have loose gravel. Cyclists should proceed with caution in this section. Once you make it to the Kensico Dam, end your journey on the Bronx River Greenway by heading up to West Westlake Drive, the road on top of the Kensico Dam, which is open only to walkers and bikers. You’ll get a unique view of Kensico Dam Plaza and a great sense of accomplishment.
To reach the southern terminus in the Bronx from I-95, take Exit 4B for Rosedale Ave. to Bronx River Pkwy. From I-95 W, merge onto E. 177th St. and turn right onto Rosedale Ave. in 0.2 mile. From I-95 E, turn left onto Rosedale Ave. From Rosedale Ave., go 0.1 mile, and turn right onto E. 174th St. Go another 0.1 mile, and turn left onto Bronx River Pkwy. Go 0.7 mile, and take Exit 2E for Bruckner Expy. toward I-278 E. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right onto Sound View Ave. After 0.8 mile, take a slight right onto Leland Ave. The trail begins at the intersection of Leland Ave. and O’Brien Ave. in 0.3 mile.
To reach the northern terminus in Valhalla from I-287, take Exit 4, and head north on NY 100A/Knollwood Road. In 1.8 miles turn right onto NY 100 S/Grasslands Road. After 1.3 miles, turn left onto Virginia Road. Travel 0.4 mile, and take a sharp left onto the Bronx River Pkwy. At Kensico Cir. in 0.2 mile, take the second exit onto Park Dr. In about 0.1 mile turn left onto Park Dr. W, and follow it 0.2 mile to the Kensico Dam Plaza parking area.
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