Bear Mountain State Park Hiking: What You Need to Know

Bear Mountain State ParkJust across the Hudson River from Stanton House Inn lies Bear Mountain State Park, a premier destination for hiking and sightseeing in the Northeast. The park, first opened in 1913 on a site that was once considered as a location for a prison, is home to a variety of terrains, from mountainous climbs to water view paths. Just 45 miles away from New York City, some Manhattan skyscrapers are even visible in the distance. Far from the industrial hubbub, Bear Mountain State Park hiking trails offer a wildlife oasis away from the Big Apple. Whatever path you choose, the panoramic sights are incredible to absorb.

Bear Mountain State Park Hiking Trails

There are a series of trails to choose from when planning your Bear Mountain State Park hiking trip. The first section of the Appalachian Trail was in fact originally constructed as a Bear Mountain State Park hiking path, and a current loop extends to the modern-day trail. For day trip visitors, there are many different loops that will only take a few hours, and for overnight hikers, there are campsites located throughout the 5,067-acre park.

One popular Bear Mountain State Park hiking trail passes by the Perkins Memorial Tower, which offers spectacular views and rich history. The 3.9-mile round trip only takes two hours and is perfect for newcomers. Meanwhile, the 5.8-mile Ski Trail travels to historic park sites, including Doodletown and a mine owned by Thomas Edison. Popular 2.5-mile Major Welch Trail ascends Bear Mountain before ending at the Appalachian Trail, while the .4-mile Twin Forts Trail is great for beginners, stretching from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Fort Montgomery. All feature beautiful views and a guaranteed Bear Mountain State Park hiking adventure.

Bird Watching

When embarking on a Bear Mountain State Park hiking adventure, it is important to keep in mind bird conservation areas. These are great locations to spot your favorite feathered wildlife. Overlapping with one of the largest tidal wetlands on the Hudson River, Bear Mountain State Park’s Iona Island has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark. The 270-acre freshwater to brackish wetland includes a multitude of forest-nesting species, particularly rare warblers. Other birds in residence are the Bald Eagle, Least Bittern, Osprey, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Acadian Flycatcher.

Attractions and Amenities

Bear Mountain State Park hiking draws crowds, but added attractions and amenities are available as well. These include a museum and visitor’s center, a gift shop, food, fishing, boat rentals, biking and cross-country skiing trails, and even a swimming pool. A perfect attraction for kids is the Bear Mountain State Park hand-painted merry-go-round with 42-hand carved woodland creatures, including a raccoon, fox, bobcat, skunk, rabbit, and deer.

There’s also a major event, Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain, that is everyone in the area looks forward to throughout the year. Held each year on the weekends starting September 13 until October 26 plus Columbus Day, this Oktoberfest is a blast in a very scenic location. Besides the necessities (beer), there are also plenty of craft vendors, Bavarian-style food, and entertainment.

After a long day in the woods, relax in Greenwich, CT, just across the Hudson River. Bird lovers can expand a day of feathery sightseeing by visiting the Greenwich Audubon Center, which was opened in 1942 as the National Audubon Society’s first environmental education center. Other nature-centric locations include the LEO Zoological Conservation Center and the Norwalk Aquarium. If you’ve had enough of nature for the day, the elegant town offers gourmet eateries and fine shops, and museums, while the elegant charm of the Stanton House Inn serves as a charismatic and luxurious accommodation.

For more information on this area, check out our Vacation Guide.