How Long is the Prospect Park Loop? Runners, Walkers, Cyclists Shortcut

Running and Cycling in Prospect Park

View of Prospect Park
••• Prospect Park. Philippe Intraligi/EyeEm/Getty Images

People often ask how long the loop is in Prospect Park. But actually, there's more than one loop. Most folks are referring to Center Drive, the road that drivers use, that encircles the park. But if you are a cyclist or runner and you want to do a shorter route, there's another internal loop that's faster.

Loop Da Loops in Prospect Park

  • Center Drive Loop: A full loop around Prospect Park, according to the Prospect Park Alliance, is 3.35 miles.
  • Shortcut Loop: The so-called upper loop is 2.44 miles. (This was measured starting at Grand Army Plaza, running counter-clockwise and cutting across on Center Drive, just above the lake, according to the Prospect Park Track Club website.
  • Sidewalk/Perimeter Loop: The distance around the perimeter of the park (along with the bordering sidewalks) is 3.75 miles.

Practical Information about Prospect Park Loops

  • If you want to walk and burn off the most calories or spend the longest time talking on your cell phone while outside, then walk the perimeter of the park, on the outside sidewalks.
  • If you want to "walk the park" and take the fastest, shortest route, use the cutaway road above the lake.
  • For cyclists and runners: No, you do not avoid the big uphill climb by taking the shorter loop.
  • If you are driving in a car, you can only use Central Drive at designated hours (the 3.35-mile loop).
  • If you are cycling or running, you can do any combination of shorter or longer loops.
  • Note to parents: The inner loop is not as well paved in all places as Center Drive, so you may or may not wish to take young cyclists on this path.

If you're interested in participating in a race in Prospect Park, there are many races that take place throughout the year. Check the Prospect Park Track Club website for races and group runs or peruse the New York Road Runners race calendar for upcoming races in Prospect Park.

 

Not up for running? You can walk the loop, but be mindful of the runners and stay out of the bike lane. The loop is quite congested with people on weekend mornings, which is one of the most popular times to run the loop. In the warmer months, you might want to reward yourself with a trip to the Smorgasburg which is located in Prospect Park on Sundays and right off the loop. 

Edited by Alison Lowenstein