Sunday, August 25, 2013

Major Welch/AT Bear Mountain Loop

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Major Welch Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
AT Connector Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hours
Estimated Distance: 5.1 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Hessian Lake, Major Welch Scramble, Bear Mountain Summit 
Pros: Good climb, dramatic views
Cons: Not quiet and remote

Hiking Partner:
Michael Wander

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I had not been up the Major Welch Trail in a while, and they had recently done some trail rerouting so I wanted to check out the new changes. We parked at the Hudson River Landing, down off Route 9W, where parking is free. This area had been closed for reservations for the past year or so, so I was glad that they had opened it. We climbed up the path near the zoo, where it meets the combined Appalachian Trail and 1777E Trail. We took the tunnel under Route 9W, and walked on the path on the east side of Hessian Lake around the lake to where the Major Welch joins up with the trail. The entire bottom part of the Major Welch prior to the rock scramble has been refurbished or rerouted. Rock steps have also been built in parts of this area. We continued up along the scramble to the famous view of the Bear Mountain Bridge, and then continued up to the summit.

Once at the top we took one of the short connector trails off the Major Welch back to the Appalachian. We climbed up the Observation Tower, and then took the Appalachian Trail down on the new part of the trail. At the bottom we took the short connector trail along the east side of the lake and then back through the tunnel and back to our cars.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks - Northern Map

Hessian Lake, with Bear Mountain Looming Behind

Sign at the Beginning of the Major Welch Trail

Newly Configured Steps Ascending the Major Welch

Michael Ascending the Large Rocks on the Major Welch Ascent

Major Welch View of the Hudson River.
Facing Northeast.

Major Welch View Facing North.

Major Welch View Facing North,
with the Hudson River, Fort Montgomery, and Brooks Lake in View

Michael At the Major Welch View.
Facing East Towards Anthony's Nose

Major Welch  View of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Facing East.

Me at the Major Welch View, Facing Northeast.

Popolopen From the Major Welch View. Facing Northwest.

Michael in the Observation Tower, Facing South Toward Dunderberg

View of the Motorcyclists and Viewpoint From the Tower

View Facing South from the Viewpoint.
Facing South to West Mountain and The Timp

Zoomed in View Above, with the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance

Me at the Bear Mountain Main View

Michael at the Bear Mountain Main View

View Descending  the Appalachian - Iona Island and Peekskill

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