• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Bear Mountain State Park: An Outdoor Escape from the City’s Hustle and Bustle


Mar 4, 2024
Bear Mountain State Park

New York’s Bear Mountain State Park is a 5,205-acre (21.06 km2) state park on the west bank of the Hudson River. It covers an expansive area, offering a getaway into nature away from the urban bustle. Bear Mountain is a prominent peak in the Hudson Highlands. On clear days, Bear Mountain offers panoramic views of the Hudson River Valley and the distant skyline of New York City.

The trails at Bear Mountain State Park are great for hikers of all levels. Several hiking trails lead to scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, and diverse natural landscapes along the Appalachian Trail. There’s biking, hiking, boating, picnicking, swimming, cross-country skiing, cross-country running, sledging, and ice skating at the park .

The park also has the Perkins Memorial Tower, the Trailside Museum and Zoo, the Bear Mountain Inn, a merry-go-round, a pool, and a skating rink. Bear Mountain Circle connects the historic Palisades Interstate Parkway and Bear Mountain Bridge. Read below to learn more about Bear Mountain State Park. 

Discover the Hidden Gems of Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park includes Bear Mountain as well as Dunderberg Mountain and West Mountain. The park is managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which is overseen by the State Of New York. At the Trailside Museums and Zoo, you can see exhibits about regional wildlife and see animals that live in the area. It’s an educational attraction for everyone.

Boating and fishing are available at Hessian Lake, a picturesque lake in the park. During the warmer months, you can rent rowboats and relax on the water. The Hudson Valley’s Bear Mountain State Park is a popular year-round destination for hiking, picnicking, bird watching, and taking in the natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a peaceful retreat, Bear Mountain State Park has it all. 

Inside Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park has a diverse range of natural landscapes, recreational facilities, and attractions. Take a look at what’s inside the park:

Perkins Memorial Tower

Located at Bear Mountain’s peak, Perkins Memorial Tower offers stunning panoramic views. The tower can be a popular destination for you if you are looking to view breathtaking vistas of the Hudson River Valley, the Highlands, and, on clear days, the distant Manhattan skyline.

Trailside Museums And Zoo

The Trailside Museum and Zoo is located at the former site of Fort Clinton. Its name refers to the Appalachian Trail that runs through the complex. The zoo began as a bear den in 1926 and is currently the home of a wide variety of locally injured or rehabilitated animals. These animals include bears, otters, deer, bald eagles, and owls. The Trailside Museums and Zoo offer educational exhibits on local wildlife and ecology. You can learn about and observe animals native to the region at the zoo.

Hiking Trails

A variety of hiking trails are available in the park. In the park, you can hike or backpack on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked by iconic white blazes. There are 50 official trails covering 235 miles (378 km), with varying levels of difficulty. Also, the Manhattan Skyline can be seen from the top of Bear Mountain State Park. 

Hessian Lake

Hessian Lake is a scenic body of water within the park where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and different adventure activities. Rowboat rentals are available, allowing you to paddle across the lake while enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

Bear Mountain Inn

Bear Mountain Inn, a historic structure inside the park, offers accommodations, dining, and relaxation. Stay overnight at the inn or enjoy a meal with views of Hessian Lake.

Picnic Areas

Picnic areas throughout the park provide an excellent area for families and groups to enjoy a meal. Some areas offer barbecue grills and picnic tables.

Visitor Center

The park has a visitor center that provides information about the history, wildlife, and recreational activities. It’s a helpful starting point for you to gather information before exploring the park.

Palisades Interstate Parkway

The park is conveniently accessible via the Palisades Interstate Parkway, making it an attractive destination for you to enjoy day trips from New York City.


Why is Bear Mountain Park closed?

Bear Mountain Park was temporarily closed due to the epic July storm that devastated the Hudson Valley. This happened on July 9, 2023. Now after a few months, the park is reopened for you. This devastating storm of July 9 destroyed roads, ruined hiking trails and swamped the swimming pool. 

Why is Bear Mountain a famous location in New York? 

Bear Mountain is famous for its premier ski jumping site. Bear Mountain was considered for the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid because of its ski jumping spot. But now the ski jump has not been running for visitors for decades and its stone steps built into the eastern side of the mountain are now crumbling.

What is Bear Mountain State Park known for?

Bear Mountain State Park is situated in rugged mountains rising from the Hudson River’s west bank. Park amenities include a large play field, shaded picnic groves, lake and river fishing, a swimming pool, Trailside Museums & Zoo, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Bear Mountain Park has something for everyone to enjoy. 

How long is the Bear mountain hike?

The length of the Bear Mountain hike is approximately 4.6 miles round-trip, taking almost 4.5 hours to complete. The trail follows a loop, allowing hikers to complete the circuit in either direction. The total distance includes climbs and descents, totalling about 2,200 feet (670 meters) of elevation gain. Bear Mountain hiking time varies depending on fitness level, weather, and pace.

How high is the top of Bear Mountain?

With 748 skiable acres and a top elevation of 8,805 feet, Bear Mountain has 1,665 feet of vertical drop. There are 62 runs: 15% green, 15% low intermediate, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced. A total of 12 lifts can lift 16,590 skiers an hour.


Bear Mountain State Park offers unforgettable experiences for you. With its stunning natural beauty, a diverse range of activities, and modern amenities, the park has something for everyone. Whether you are seeking relaxation, adventure or simply want to reconnect with nature, Bear Mountain State Park is the ideal destination. Plan your visit today and explore all that this iconic park has to offer.