Summit Rock, on the western edge of Central Park at 83rd St., is the highest elevation in the park. Peaking at 141.8′, it stands just a few feet above Vista Rock, home of Belvedere Castle. Shielded from the park drive by a thick grove of trees, it is sometimes overlooked by park visitors. It is just north of the site once occupied by the 19th century community of Seneca Village and legend has it that it was traditionally used by the local Native Americans as a meeting place.
It can be approached from either the north or south sides, however the path on the south side, just north of Diana Ross playground, is definitely more dramatic. It starts as a gently sloping trail that leads to a stone stairway, cut into the side of the hill. At the top there is a small meadow, while on the eastern side there is a flag stone terrace. On the western side, if you peak through the trees directly up 83rd St., you can see New Jersey. Just in case you were worried it had gone somewhere!
In 1921 an equestrian statue of South American statesman Simon Bolivar was erected on the site and the Bolivar Apartments still stand just across the street. In 1951 it was moved to a less exclusive site at 6th Ave. and Central Park South. It is certainly true that more visitors can view the statue there, but it must have been quite impressive to climb up the side of Summit Rock in mid-summer, winding your way through the thick foliage, only to come upon Senor Bolivar sitting proudly astride his steed.
Summit Rock remains a great place to sunbathe quietly, read or momentarily get away from the city below.
Location : Central Park West and 83rd St.