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New York’s Bear Mountain Is Gorgeous Any Time of Year

bear mountain state park

Nestled in the Hudson Valley on the west bank of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain State Park boasts 5,205 acres of glorious outdoor recreation and incredible scenery. Located in Bear Mountain, New York, this state park presents a mecca for hikers, bikers, boaters, swimmers, skiers, runners, and other nature enthusiasts.

Situated just over an hour from New York City (NYC) in Rockland County, Bear Mountain State Park is a frequent vacation spot for those looking to escape the noise of the big apple. Located on Native Munsee Lenape territory, this Palisades region park provides a year-round getaway for all ages. Whether you are looking for a quick day trip, are on a cross-country road trip, or driving through the area, Bear Mountain is 100% worth the trip.

What To Do at Bear Mountain State Park

This New York State Park offers no shortage of fun activities, breathtaking views, and outdoor recreation to its guests. You can enjoy a shaded picnic at one of the picnic areas, cross-country ski in winter, hike a piece of the Appalachian Trail, or take scenic drives through prominent areas. Better yet, there is a zoo as well as a merry-go-round for the entire family to ride!

Hiking at Bear Mountain

Ranging from easy to challenging, Bear Mountain provides trails for all types of hikers. If you are with kids, try the 1.5-mile paved Hessian Lake Loop or the Bear Mountain Dock trail. A more difficult hike includes the Fort Montgomery trail that starts on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and eventually leads to the Popoplopen Torne (another more difficult trail that hikers can also start via the Bear Mountain Inn).

If you are looking for more challenging hiking trails, you can embark on the 6.5-mile Popolopen Gorge/Queensboro Lake trail, the 3.9-mile Perkins Memorial Tower, 3.8-mile Doodletown trail, or the 6.8-mile Bald Mountain trail. Visitors can find all trail details and the trail map here. Enthusiasts can do biking on some of the designated biking trails in the park.

Paddling Through The Hudson River

The Bear Mountain swimming pool is the perfect place to cool off on warmer days. The pool is open to the public in the summer months from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. Anglers can enjoy fishing for smallmouth bass and other swimming species at Hessian Lake.

Boating can be done by way of paddle and rowboat rentals five days a week (weather permitting, closed Tuesday and Wednesday). For more information on any of the water sports, contact the front desk.

Bear Mountain Attractions & Historic Sites

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A favorite attraction in Bear Mountain State Park is the Trailside Museums and Zoo, which offers four museums. The Herpetology House is home to native snakes, frogs, toads, and other amphibians. The Nature Study Museum is home to pieces originally collected by the Museum of Natural History.

The third Museum is all about geology and offers educational resources about the terrain in the Hudson Highlands. Lastly, the History Museum dives into the native history and the descendants that call the area home.

The Perkins Memorial Tower is a widely visited historic site at the park and boasts scenic views of the park, the Hudson Highlands, and Harriman State Park. The Perkins Memorial Drive and Tower are accessible from April through late November, depending on the weather.

Bear Mountain Bridge

Bear Mountain Bridge is the oldest bridge of the New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) bridges and serves as the first bridge that allowed vehicles to cross from New York City and Albany. This historic bridge was also the longest suspension bridge at one point in history.

Merry-Go-Round

A family favorite, the Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round is a drawing attraction for many of the state park’s visitors. This carousel is located near the main parking area by the park office and playground off of Route 9W.

Winter Sports On The Mountain

If you visit the park in the winter season, ice skating is available at the outdoor ice rink from late October to mid-March. The skating rink is located near the merry-go-round and main parking lots and offers private, public, and seasonal skate rentals. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also popular winter sports at the park.

Important Information For Visitors

To check seasonal hours of operation, head here. For details on fees and rates, check out this page.

Bear Mountain is located alongside Seven Lakes Drive and Palisades Parkway of Route 9W. To navigate from your specific location, use this handy map.

Most of the park is handicap-accessible, and you can find more information on accessibility on the park’s website. For resources on kid’s programs and outdoor trips for kids, head here.

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