Bordering the Lake in the center of Central Park, this 36-acre wooded district was envisioned by Olmsted and Vaux as a core component of their rural retreat in the city. It is the also the park’s most prominent example of picturesque design, part of their intent to create the impression of an “unlimited range of rural conditions” throughout the park. Inspired by the rugged character of the Adirondacks and the Catskills, the Ramble’s intricate design provides visitors with a more intimate and immersive experience of nature.
The Ramble is defined by the winding and interlacing paths which traverse its hilly and rocky terrain. The Gill, the watercourse which emerges from a pipe concealed under a rocky ledge, meanders down the hill, widening in some spots, before ending in a small cascade and spilling into the Lake. Small sunny lawns, exposed rock outcrops, and clearings along the shoreline provide views of the Lake and Bethesda Terrace, in contrast with the more densely planted and secluded areas of the Ramble. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the migratory route that follows the eastern coastline from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, the Ramble is a popular destination for bird-watching in New York City. The Ramble along with all of Central Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.