Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bear Mountain Handicap-Accessible Trail

Bear Mountain State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail/Major Welch Trails:
White and red blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 1 mile
Level of Difficulty: Very Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Perkins Tower and view
Pros: Expellent Views
Cons: Very busy with many people on top.

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I had torn the meniscus in my knee about two weeks prior to this hike. It was a bucket-handle tear, and it has put me out of commission for a while. I tore it lifting a baby while climbing over a short wall in the park. Right after it happened, I was in a lot of pain and could hardly walk, but after two weeks I can finally do a very short and easy walk.

I used hiking poles and walked very slowly. This allowed me to balance much of my weight on my hands and apply less pressure to my knee. Apparently my condition can only fully improve with arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove the damaged meniscus part.

The reason I chose this trail is because its very easy (was built to be handicap accessible), is short, and has good views. It was just the right length for what I was able to handle.

I parked at the top of Perkins Drive right near the Tower, and took the combined Appalachian/Major Welch trails north along the flat-graded handicapped portion of the trail. At the split of the Appalachian Trail/Major Welch Trails I took the Appalachian Trail a short distance further to the view, where the handicap access portion ends.

I then turned around and took the short connector loop to Major Welch and then back to the Major Welch/Appalachian confluence. This part is a short "lollipop" loop. I then headed back towards the tower and towards my car.
Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mnt Northern Map

View from the North Viewpoint.
Facing North  With the Hudson River in View

The Same View Zoomed in a Bit.
The Lake in the Foreground is Brooks Lake

Sign Indicating Difficulty of the Major Welch Trail

View from the Southern Viewpoint near the Tower.
Facing Southwest.

View from the Southern Viewpoint, Facing South.

View from the Southern, Facing the Notch
Between the Timp and West Mountain.
The Manhattan Skyline is Visible in the Far Distance.

Crowds Along the Southern View

The Official End of the Major Welch Trail.
The Trail Used to Continue Ahead but with the Realignment
they Ended the Trail Here.
They Finally Put a Post Indicating the End of the Trail.


  1. Are you able to use a wheelchair or scooter on this trail? Or is there to big of hills that make it unrealistic for this type of disabilities?

  2. The trail is flat so a wheelchair is definitely doable, though not sure if there is an issue with a motorized scooter. I would recommend checking with the parks department on that one.