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Bear Mountain

 

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The 5067 acre Bear Mountain State Park is situated in rugged mountains rising from the west bank of the Hudson River. The Perkins Memorial Tower atop Bear Mountain gives visitors spectacular views of the park, the Hudson Highlands and Harriman State Park.  The park first opened on July 5, 1913.  A scenic drive to the top of the mountain, called Perkins Memorial Drive, is a very popular destination in the park.  You can find more information on this great park from the NY State Parks website.

Bear Mountain is not very large, even by the gentle standards of the Empire State. However, located a mere 45 miles from New York City, it towers over the Hudson River below and provides commanding views into Westchester, Nassau, and Orange counties and the entire Hudson Highlands area. On a clear day, you can easily make out the skyscrapers of Manhattan from the broad, rocky summit.  

The first section of the Appalachian Trial was constructed at Bear Mountain, taking hikers south to the Delaware Water Gap. It opened on Oct. 7, 1923, and served as a pattern for the other sections of the trail, developed independently by local and regional organizations and then joined.  For more information on hiking on the Appalachian Trail, check out Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Mid-Atlantic States - Maryland Pennsylvania New Jersey New York and Appalachian Trail Guide to New York-New Jersey

There are numerous hiking trails in the park.  Look below for more information on the hiking trails.  Also check out Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails for a map on the hiking trails in the park.  The NY State Park Website has a great looking Park Trail Map.  A popular hike is exploring the abandoned town of Doodletown near Bear Mountain.  The town has been a ghost town since the mid 1960s.  Check out the NY-NJ Trail Conference for more information on Doodletown. 

The Palisades Parks Conservancy has a great looking brochure that features numerous hikes with maps in Bear Mountain State Park.

Directions

  • From the Palisades Interstate Parkway (north or south): Get off at exit 19 (Bear Mtn. Park) and take Seven Lakes Drive for 3 ˝ miles to the Bear mountain Circle. At the circle, take the second right. Follow the signs to Parking Lots. If you miss exit 19, take the Parkway to the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. At this circle, make the first right onto US 9W south and go to the traffic light. Bear right and go up the hill.

  • From the North via I-87 (NY Thruway): Take I-87 south to exit 16 (Harriman). At the traffic light turn left onto NY 32, At third light, turn left onto US 6 east. Take US 6 east to the Queensboro Traffic circle. At circle, make the third right onto Palisades Interstate Parkway north. Take exit 19.

  • From the North via US 9W: Take US 9W south to the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. At the circle, go ˝ way around to US 9W south. At the first traffic light bear right and go up the hill.

  • From the north via I-84: Take I-84 west to the second exit after the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (US 9W south). Take US 9W south about 18 miles to the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. At the circle, go ˝ way around to US 9W south. At first traffic light, bear right and go up hill.

  • From New York City via Palisades Interstate Parkway: Take the upper level of the George Washington Bridge. Take the very first right onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway north. Go about 42 miles to exit 19.

  • From the South via Garden State Parkway: Take the Garden State Parkway north to the last exit (I-87/287, NY Thruway). Go east/south on I-87 to exit 13N (Palisades Interstate Parkway north). Go about 19 miles to Exit 19.

  • From the West via NY 17 or I-84: Take NY 17 east to Exit 130A (Bear Mountain) to US 6/Long Mountain Parkway. Take US 6 east to the Queensboro Traffic Circle. At the circle, make the third right onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway north. Take exit 19.

 


Hiking Trails at Bear Mountain State Park

Appalachian Trail (6 miles) - It all started here in Bear Mountain State Park for the AT in 1923.

Brooks Lake Trail (1 miles) - This red blazed trail circles around Brooks Lake.  It is accessed from the 1777 West Trail.

Cornell Mine Trail (2 miles) - This blue blazed trail travels from Hessian Lake to Bald Mountain near the old Cornell Mine.

Fawn Trail (0.2 miles) - This red blazed trail starts off the AT and heads west into Harriman Park.

Major Welch Trail (2.5 miles) - This very popular red blazed trail travels along the western shore of Hessian Lake and then ascends steeply up Bear Mountain, crossing Perkins Drive several times before ending at the Appalachian Trail.  Hikers are rewarded with numerous spectacular views.

Popolopen Gorge Trail (1.8 miles) - This trail travels along the gorge and then coincides with the 1779 Trail/1777 West Trail/Timp Torne Trail as the trails head into Harriman Park.

Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (4.4 miles) - This extremely popular trail starts off US 9W and climbs Dunderberg Mountain, then Bald Mountain with numerous views.  The trail also visits "The Timp". The trail then meanders into Harriman State Park.  Many use this trail with the Timp Torne Trail for a nice loop hike.  Parts of the trail follows the failed Dunderberg Spiral Railway, a project never finished.  You may see some remains of the project and the trail follows some of the graded areas.

Ski Trail (5.8 miles) - This unmarked trail meanders in the park and travels to numerous historic sites in the park including Doodletown, Edison Mine, June Cemetery and Doodletown Mine.  The Edison Mine was owned by Thomas Edison.  The trail follows old roads that was once Doodletown.

Suffern-Bear Mtn. Trail (2.7 miles) - This yellow blazed trail travels from the main parking area toward West Mountain and on into Harriman State Park.

Timp Torne Trail (6.5 miles) - This trail starts off US 9W with the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and travels on the southern slopes of Dunderberg Mountain, then takes hikers onto "The Timp" before leaving the park for Harriman Park where the trail briefly coincides with the AT.  The trail reenters Bear Mountain State Park on West Mountain, leaves the AT and heads back into Harriman State Park. 

The trail reenters Bear Mountain park as it coincides with other trails and heads up to the 942 foot summit of Popolopen Torne or as its famously known as "The Torne".  This small bald summit has spectacular 360 degree views of the whole area.  The rock cairn on the summit stands as a memorial to the members of the US Armed Forces. 

The mileage is only for inside Bear Mountain State Park for the Timp Torne Trail.

Twin Forts Trail (0.4 miles) - This trail travels from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Fort Montgomery State Historic Site.

1777 Trail (2.3 miles) - This historic red blazed trail travels from US 9W, skirting between West and Bald Mountains aka Timp Pass, taking hikers to Doodletown passing Herbert Cemetery then splitting into the 1777 East/West Trails.  This trail does enter Harriman State Park briefly. The Trail travels along a trail once taken by the British under Sir Henry Clinton on October 6, 1777, to attack Forts Montgomery and Clinton during the Revolutionary War. The trail was built in 1974-75 by Boy Scouts.

1777 East Trail (2.4 miles) - This historic trail starts from the main 1777 Trail split and travels by the Bear Mountain Inn as well as the Bear Mountain Zoo, ending at the Bear Mountain Bridge.  This trail coincides with the AT briefly.

1777 West Trail (3.3 miles) - This historic trail starts from the main 1777 Trail split and travels around Bear Mountain on its way to Fort Montgomery State Historic Site.  The trail does enter Harriman State Park briefly (the mileage only shows for the trail in Bear Mountain Park).

1779 Trail (2.1 miles) - The 1779 Trail traces the route taken by Brigadier General Anthony Wayne’s Corps of Light Infantry in its assault on the British fortifications at Stony Point.  The 1779 Trail starts off US 9W north of the Bear Mountain Circle and end near the intersection of Cedar Flats Road and Bulsontown Road, just south the Addison Boyce Girl Scout camp in Stony Point.  This trail travels in both Harriman and Bear Mountain Parks. The mileage listed is for just Bear Mountain Park.


Here are some of the popular hikes located in Harriman & Bear Mountain State Parks from the NY-NJ Trail Conference website:

CNY Hiking HOME PAGE New York State Parks Top 25 Hiking State Parks Harriman State Park

 

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