Running Map – Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Park
Within this 655-acre park, there are the best running trails in Queens. It is also packed with other activities, such as an outdoor adventure course, fishing, and an Environmental Center with lots of activities for your kids (while you run). There is a mix of paved and dirt trails, but all provide great scenery. It is also surprising that this park is divided by major highways, the Grand Central Parkway, and Cross-Island Parkway, and the Long Island Expressway. Yet, the trees are dense enough for you to forget all that during your run. Alley Pond like Flushing Meadows Park, is one of the bookends of the Greenway, which means that it is a great place to park and head out for a long run.
Finding the trails are the first task at hand. The trails are not incredibly long, but are numerous and the combinations of different routes adds to the appeal. The map above was taken from the map given at the Environmental Center. It roughly (trust me, when I say the trail measurements are not that accurate), sketches out the major trails and how to find the ponds. The listed trails are just the main paths, but there are many more and they are all interconnected.
The South End – Alley Woodlands
Being that you have access to the most variety of trails from this section, we’ll start here. If you park in the parking lot in the lower right of the map, you’ll be just steps away from the beginning of the Queens Greenway. There is a paved bike trail that will take you all the way to Flushing Meadows Park. A great out and back run. If you park in the middle parking lot, you have a few options. You can head south and run towards the Greenway, or circle through the southern trails. If you head north, you can wind your way through a variety of paths (some paved, mostly dirt) which meanders around the central ponds of the park. If you stay towards the east trails and head north, you’ll be running parallel to the Cross-Island Parkway, which will eventually lead you to Oakland Lake. This out and back run is about 5 miles (I’ll try to add more exact measurements and path info soon). The trails to the west, wind through the woods and eventually open up into the four cornered baseball field, which you can circle and head back.
The North End – Woodlands and Wetlands
If you are running from the south end of the park, you’ll have to cross the Long Island Expressway. Essentially, you pop out of the woods at the corner of the Long Island Expressway and 233rd Street. From here you’ll head north at the crosswalk, and veer slightly left. If you don’t pay attention you’ll miss the entrance to the park, which is a narrow paved path that drops into a quick and steep downhill into the woods. It is a little tricky, so here is a close-up.
From here, there is a single path that runs along the Cross-Island Expressway towards Oakland Lake. It is a bit hilly, but nothing extreme. You can either continue around the lake for a little less than a mile, or you can head further north towards Northern Boulevard and extend the run along the Cross-Island Bike Path (which leads to Crocheron Park or the beautiful Throggs Neck Bridge). Again, the connections are a little tough to explain, so here is map to help explain your options.
The Wetlands – Pitobik Trail
According to the map from the Environmental Center, Pitobik Trail is a easy 1.8 mile trail. I have not run this trail, but suspect that the wetlands are a bit tricky to navigate. I’ll try it the next time I’m up there.
Talk with other runners about Alley Pond Park at our message board.
Running: Run east along the Greenway to enter the southern end of Alley Pond Park. Or, run south from the Cross-Island Bike Path.
Driving: Cross Island Parkway to Northern Boulevard East. Park at APEC on right OR Grand Central Parkway to Alley Park/Winchester Blvd exit.
Public Transportation: 7 train to Main Street, Flushing, then Q12 bus to Northern Blvd. E, F train to Union Turnpike/Kew Gardens, then Q44A bus.
- Review of Wetlands
- More detailed running routes
- Approximate distances