Central Park Geology: Exploring the Wonders of Central Park

Our Central Park tour offers unique insight into Manhattan’s fascinating geology. The Park is one of the few places where one can still see Manhattan before all the construction eliminated the original landscape. Frederick Law Olmsted, the visionary who designed and built Central Park with his partner Calvert Vaux predicted this when he wrote in 1858.


*The time will come when New York will be built up when all the grading and filling will be done and when the picturesquely varied, rocky formation of the island will have been converted into foundations for rows of monotonous straight streets, and piles of rectangular buildings. There will be no suggestion left of its present varied surface, with the single exception of the few acres contained in the Park. 


The rock strata underlying most of the island is Manhattan Schist. A heavy, extremely dense material that the skyscrapers of Manhattan stand on it. 


  • Central Park offers insight into Manhattan’s geology.
  • The Park preserves some of New York’s original landscape.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted predicted the transformation of Manhattan.
  • Manhattan Schist is the predominant rock strata.
  • Designers integrated rocks and boulders into the Park’s design.
  • Laborious construction involved moving tons of rock.
  • Various stone outcroppings are woven artfully into the landscape.
  • Famous areas include Umpire Rock, the most geologically diverse outcropping, and Summit Rock.
  • The Park provides recreational activities and attracts rock climbers.
  • Glaciers during the last ice age striated the Park’s stones.
  • Scattered throughout the landscape are glacial erratics. 
Man sitting on bench in front of large rock outcropping

Central Park Public Tour

Per Person
$ 50
  • Two Hour Tour

Central Park Private Tour

Per Group of Six
$ 400
  • Two Hour Tour


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