Bear Mountain State Park is one of the most popular destinations in the Mid-Hudson Valley for seekers of outdoor beauty. It offers everything from a leisurely drive to the summit to a steep climb that follows the most direct path from Hessian Lake at the base of the mountain, to the observation tower at its summit and anything in between.  Unlike most of our hikes, there is a $8 per vehicle entry fee for the park, but it goes to continued preservation of Bear Mountain and others like it across the state so car-pooling is recommended for those providing their own transportation.

It deserves a moderate+ rating because of its sustained ascent of 1200 feet to the summit; it is certainly a challenge, but the feeling of accomplishment and rewarding view from the top will help to make every step up the hill worth it! The way down will be much more mellow, following the beautiful and historic Appalachian Trail down to the newly built stone stairs and finally dropping us where we started!

After the hike, there are many amenities and attractions to explore in the park. The grassy flat at the base of the mountain is home to Hessian Lake, the closest thing the Hudson Valley has to an alpine lake, a small zoo (!!), merry-go-round with hand-carved animals to ride and a wonderful lawn to lay out on.