The giraffe urban path opens up a whole new green world in the midst of the concrete city.

What do giraffes and Northern Manhattan parks have in common? The annual Hike the Heights urban trail that connects the Cloisters to Central Park takes its giraffe shape from existing trails and streets that connect Fort Tryon Park, Highbridge Park, Jackie Robinson Park, St. Nicholas Park, Morningside Park, and Central Park. This year, the family-friendly event will take place on June 1st and for the 9th year will draw New Yorkers to explore and celebrate the area’s natural treasures by combining physical activity, art, and fun. 

Hike the Heights is an annual community hike and celebration in northern Manhattan parks that occurs every first Saturday of June. On the day of Hike the Heights, participants meet in each of these parks and hike together on the giraffe path, growing the hiking group along the way in a snowball-like effect. Giraffe sculptures crafted by local youth & coordinated by Creative Arts Workshops for Kids line the hike path.

Celebratory giraffes waiting for the hikers to arrive

All groups end their hikes at a community celebration at the Sunken Playground of Highbridge Park where food, music, art, and games give the community a chance to get together and mingle while having fun. The community flavor of the event makes it feel like a family picnic, even though many of the participants are meeting for the first time. In 2012, more than 1,500 people participated in Hike the Heights!
Hikers arrive at the Sunken Playground in Highbridge Park for the celebratory finale.

Arts and games and the sound of music color the landscape of Highbridge Park

Hike the Heights is a volunteer-led event that began in 2005 and has become the flagship event of City Life Is Moving Bodies (CLIMB), a community group aiming to increase the physical, social, and civic activity in the communities of northern Manhattan. Hike the Heights began as an initiative  to reinvigorate the parks of northern Manhattan that were abandoned by residents during epidemics of violence plaguing northern Manhattan neighborhoods in the 1980s and early ’90s. Together with other neighborhood efforts and initiatives from agencies like Partnerships for Parks and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, significant portions of these parks have been restored.

Today, the parks of northern Manhattan are a welcoming space that brings together neighbors and visitors alike. Come discover and celebrate with us the vibrancy of the giraffe path this Saturday June 1st! For more information and the hike schedule beginning at 10 am, go to Hike the Heights 2013.

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