Rockland and Orange Cos.,
Major Welch Trail: Red blaze
Total time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Frozen lake, scenic area
Pros: Pretty scenery and frozen lake
Cons: Area is overly developed, charge to park
After returning from my trip from California, where the temperature was in the upper 80's, I came back to the frigid snowy climate on the east coast. Actually this was one of the few days that the high temperature was above freezing, and it was sunny and quite pleasant. The lakes were still well frozen, with an ice layer of about 18 inches thick (they need to be 6 inches thick to be safe.) It had just snowed about 6 inches the night before, so there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. Since we were short on time, we decided to do one of the smaller lakes, Hessian Lake. Hessian Lake is a well-known lake at the foot of Bear Mountain, with a nice, easy walking path going around it.
We tried parking at the bottom of the park at the Hudson River Landing, where parking is free, but the area wasn't plowed at all and there was no way to get in here (there was still about two feet of snow on the ground.) So were forced to park in the main parking area at the inn where there is an $8 charge. We walked past the inn to Hessian Lake, walked across the length of the lake from south to north, and then took the path on the western side of the lake back. This path is actually part of the Major Welch Trail which ends at the southern end of the lake. We then walked up the hill to the grassy area and passed by the ice skating rink, then returning back to our car.
I had actually come again later in the day to take my kids sledding on the hill, and the walk on the lake. We were fortunate to meet several fisherman on the lake who were catching large fish while ice fishing, including brown trout and a largemouth bass.
|Map of the Route|
Harriman/Bear Mnt Trails Northern Map
|Signs by the Lake, and Indicator Ice Depth is Safe|
|At the Southern End of Hessian Lake|
|Me on Hessian Lake, with Bear Mountain to my Rear|
|Me on Hessian Lake, with the Hudson Highlands to my Rear|
|View of Bear Mountain from Hessian Lake|
|View Northeast from Hessian Lake. Note the Sky Color.|
|Looking West Towards Bear Mountain.|
One of my Finest Photo Shots in Recent Months.
|Our Footsteps Near the Northern End of the Lake|
|Shimmy Relaxing at the Northern End of the Lake|
|Anthony's Nose from Across Hessian Lake|
|Shimmy Sitting on a Snow-Covered Bench|
|Me Ascending a Small Hill With Anthony's Nose in View|
|Hessian Lake, Bear Mountain Bridge, and Anthony's Nose|
|Shimmy Sliding Down an Embankment|
|Parked Paddleboats at the Hessian Lake Boat Launch|
|Shimmy Walking Along the Trail|
|Panorama on Hessian Lake|