Bear Mountain - Bear Mountain State Park

Region: Hudson Valley

Level: Moderate

Bear Mountain State Park is a 5,000+ acre park located in Bear Mountain, NY, on the west side of the Hudson River. The park has a handful of mountains and trails, including Bear, West, Dunderberg, Popolopen Torne. Bear Mountain is popular, even in the winter when there's an inch or two of snow on the ground. 

Trailhead - I took the Appalachian Trail up and the Major Welch down. I suggest taking the Major Welch one way or another. Challenging, but more exciting. 

To get to Bear Mountain, I took the metro-north to the Peekskill stop and called an Uber to get across the Bear Mountain bridge to the west side of the Hudson, and over to the Bear Mountain Inn, where the main trailheads are. My hike started on the Appalachian Trail (white) and took me to the Summit (1,300+ft. above sea level), where there is a actually a lookout tower, picnic area, and a parking lot. Yes, you can reach the top by car, if you choose. The Appalachian Trail path up is relatively easy to moderate in some spots, mostly because the pathway up the trail has stone steps cut into the trail. In the winter, these steps can become quite icy, so a pair of Yaktrax or similar traction cleats are necessary. There are a handful of pretty nice lookout areas along the trail up, but the Summit itself, as always, provides the best views. I captured a few great shots below. 

The trek down was more challenging - I took the Major Welch trail which was about 2.5 miles in length. The Major Welch trail is more difficult - it includes a few rock slides which are difficult to descend in the winter with snow and ice cover, and some very narrow, somewhat steep areas. It's definitely the longer route, too. Despite the challenge, I felt a little more in the woods on the way down considering the trail terrain, steepness, lack of man-made/placed stone steps, and the seemingly less number of people on the trail (though I'm sure Spring/Summer/Fall are more travelled). The entire loop from the start is around 4.2m or so. I took a photo below but you can find here an electronic trail map. 

Bear Mountain was a great, relatively short but fulfilling hike. Great views, plenty of trails to take up and down, and well worth the trip. Another fine hike in the Hudson Valley.