• Location: Long Island
  • Type: Run
  • address: West Bay Shore, New York

Important Map is a simple search for the park that has not been verified and may not be accurate

Relatively little known except to local residents and avid dog walkers, the park is one of the rare places where bringing leashed dogs is permitted! There is even a separate “Canine Loop.” Dozens of dogs and their owners may be seen sharing the trail with nature walkers and joggers. Gardiner Park offers 3.5 miles of wide trails through a nature-oriented setting. The main trail, Beach Road, leads straight to Great South Bay from the parking lot and park office, a distance of 0.7 miles. In the spring birders can witness the America woodcock engaged it its unique courtship display. The bay vista is outstanding, and reminds us of how Long Island appeared before development. “Imagine, it all once looked like this!” To your east, you see a giant, healthy salt marsh with osprey nesting towers in the distance. Across the bay to your left is a clear view of the Fire Island Lighthouse, while directly in front of you (south) is Robert Moses State Park’s water tower and Captree Island. To the southwest, the Robert Moses Causeway arches over the bay. Far to the right, you see the last housing development. You may even spy some clam digging in the bay. Closest to the road, the woods are beech, black cherry, red maple, pitch pine and Atlantic White Cedar. As you get closer to the bay, it changes to shrub thickets and a red cedar grove. Then you emerge into wetlands of tall reed grass (Phragmites) and groundselbush, followed by a stretch of salt marsh cord grass up to the beach. Storm-driven eelgrass (a valuable wildlife food) thatches the trail surface at the beach. How to Get There: Take Southern State Parkway to exit 40 south. Go south on Robert Moses Parkway and get off at exit C2 east. Head east on Montauk Highway (Route 27A) for about a half-mile and turn right into the parking lot. Pick up a trail map at the office. Restrooms are located here. Park information is available by calling (631) 854-0935), (only during the warm season). Stand in the parking lot facing the pond. Take the trail to the right of the pond and follow it ¾ mile all the way down to the waters edge. Notice the change in vegetation as you walk from the forested area to the bay. On the return route, take the first possible right and follow it around to the many intertwining trails. Whichever trail you take, you can easily head north (to your car) by always keeping the tributary and wetlands to your right. Soon the trail will veer left to an open field. You can see the parking lot from here. Take time to explore the other trails as well.

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