View Full Version : Hiking in New York around Bear Mtn

Bob Mihm
01-31-2005, 22:17
I am new to this site and have only hiked the AT in daily hikes in GA and NCarolina I have spent two weeks hiking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and various trails in Florida.
Is the trail around Bear Mountain in New York really crowded during the summer?I was thinking of my son and I spending a week or so on the trail while my wife and daughters stay in NYC.

01-31-2005, 22:46
I walked on Bear Mtn the first weekend of May back in 2001. It was a beautiful warm day, and everyone with a motorcycle or a convertible or a moonroof was driving there. The road walk up Bear was a bit disconcerting. There was more than a few folks there.

Yes, it was crowded at the top with few parking spaces and essentially no one recognizing that a guy with a backpack was in a wilderness experience.

I'd at least avoid hitting Bear on a weekend if at all possible.

01-31-2005, 22:48

The area directly near Bear Mtn (the Inn) is often VERY crowded in summer with tons of people BBQ-ing and hanging out right next to the INN, where the AT crosses thru. The Trail itself is not overly crowded, though summer will be the most popular time. I guess it's all relative. It won't be crowded compared to places like the Smokies or the Whites in summer, but there will certainly be folks out there. Most thru-hikers are coming thru NY from early june until early august.
A week on the trail with your son sounds great. If you need info just ask. I'm very familiar with the trial in and around Harriman and NY state on the AT. Going north from Bear Mtn will allow for some easier terrain but south of there is more interesting scenary though more rugged. Good luck!

02-01-2005, 14:54
I hiked up Bear Mountain from the "north" the first week of June, mid-week. You could tell that the area around the Inn (Hessian Lake?) gets packed on a nice weekend. The climb up was strenuous and we didn't see anyone until we got to the top. Even though the summit was in the clouds there were still a dozen people milling around in mid-morning. We drove to the top the next day in late afternoon and there were several dozen people around, so again, there are probably a lot of people near the summit on a nice weekend.

The section between the Taconic Parkway and Lake Tiorati is actually pretty nice.

The Solemates
02-01-2005, 18:12
We went through there relatively early, around mid-April, but on a weekend. There was literally THOUSANDS of people at the park.

02-01-2005, 19:23
The crowds mass around Bear Mountain, and the few nearby lakes that have public beaches. A twenty minute hike into the hills will get you away from them. Bear Mountain is just a small part of Harriman State Park, 52,000 acres and over 200 miles of trails. Get a trail map set from the NY/NJ Trail Conference or at the Bear Mountain Inn. A few days or a week wandering around Harriman would be a great trip, or you can take the AT to points south or north. There are seven lean to's scattered through the park, or pick a mountain and stealth camp.
The trails might get closed if a dry summer increases the fire danger to epic proportions. I think the last time that happened was like ten years ago, but the park superintendent is at (914) 786-2701 if you want to check first.

02-01-2005, 21:05
the sun was setting when i got to the top of bear mt in may 2004,i saw a lot of deer running around that evening,most everyone was leaving when i got there
there is a coke machine near the restrooms:sun neo

Lone Wolf
02-01-2005, 21:08
If you arrive at the zoo after hours, climb the fence and follow the white blazes. You must stay pure.

02-01-2005, 22:20
If you arrive at the zoo after hours, climb the fence and follow the white blazes. You must stay pure.

Haha, my ultra purist friends spent a little too much time chowing at Bear Mtn and had to take the blue-blaze around the fence. From then on the "official" hike of the AT was over. :) Boy were they dissapointed. They used to walk back 10 feet if a blowdown was obstructing the trail :rolleyes:

02-02-2005, 08:57
stupe's advice is right on the money! You could spend the entire week hiking in Harriman State Park, which is adjacent to Bear Mountain. Or you could make a week long loop hike. Just get the maps of at http://www.nynjtc.org/store/nonmember/itm00010.htm and you'll be able to preplan your trip. Another possability would be to hike to the Appalchian Trail train stop and then take the train into New York city to meet your wife and daughter. For other public transportation info see http://www.nynjtc.org/trails/no-car.html As for being crowded, I'll bet you think they are. And if you are on the AT you'll start running into thru hikers the end of May, beginning of June.

If you do this, let me recommend a night at West Mountain shelter. If the night is clear you'll be just be able to see the glow of the New York city skyline.