Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bear Mountain Zoo to Ft. Montgomery

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland and Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
1777 Trail: Red Blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Twin Forts Trail: Blue blaze
Twin Forts Connector Trail: Red blaze
AT Connector Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.0 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Bear Mountain Zoo, Bridges, Ft. Montgomery Historical Site
Pros: Interesting sights, good views, nice bridge views
Cons: Many parts are built up and paved and more of a walk than a hike

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I was out of town for several days of the previous week, and therefore did not have an oppurtunity to go on any hike over the weekend. I had returned to see many of the trees changing color and the foliage really coming out. It suprised me how early this year the trees have changed. It is likely due to both the relatively cool August temperatures and little rain over the summer.

I had taken the oppurtunity to go on this shorter, easier hike due to the fact that it was a weekday and I was by myself. This is not a traditional hike in the woods, rather much of the area is paved and through points of interest. Though there are some fascinating river and bridge views, with three bridges encountered along the route.

I parked at the Hudson River landing picnic area in Bear Mountain, and took the path up the hill towards the zoo. The zoo entrance is where the Appalachian Trail meets up, and this hiking trail actually goes right through the zoo. I walked through the zoo, taking the spur to the river view and then back by the bear den. Walking towards the bridge, I then veered towards the other view right by the bridge, where the Twin Forts Trail begins.

The Twin Forts Trail connects the historic revolutionary forts of Fort Clinton, (which is now at the site of the Bear Mountain Zoo and bridge) and Fort Montgomery, which is on the other side of the Popolopen Brook. This trail goes under the Bear Mountain Bridge, down to the bottom of the Popolopen Valley, across a foothpath suspension bridge over the outlet of Popolopen Brook, and then up the hill to Fort Montgomery.

At Fort Montgomery, I ventured around the grounds and looked at some of the sites. I also went into the relatively new visitor's center and looked around. I then headed back along the Twin Forts Trail, and then took the Twin Forts Connector Trail to the street level above the bridge. I crossed the busy road, and then took the AT Connector Trail which bypasses the zoo. I then took this trail to its end, and then took the path back down to my car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Northern Map.

Pretty Foliage Along the Hudson River Connector Path

Anthony's Nose from View Along the Hudson River Connector Path

Bears in Bear Den in the Zoo, on the Appalachian Trail

Viewpoint in the Zoo Overlooking Anthony's Nose
and the Bear Mountain Bridge

At the Same Viewpoint, Facing South Towards Peekskill

Nice View of the Bear Mountain Bridge in Fall Foliage

Beautiful Colors and Bridge Silhouette at the
Entrance to the Twin Forts Trail

Beautiful Red Maple in Full Autumn Colors

View Directly Under the Bear Mountain Bridge on the Twin Forts Trail

New Plaque Dedicated to the Popolopen Creek Bridge on the Twin Forts Trail
(The William J. Moreau Popolopen Bridge)

Crossing the William J. Moreau Popolopen Bridge on the Twin Forts Trail

Route 9W Bridge Crossing of the Popolopen Creek

Pretty Colors on the Opposite Side of the Popolopen Creek

Fort Montogmery Archeological Site

View Inside Fort Montgomery Facing Bear Mountain

View of the Outlet of Popolopen Creek with the Bear Mountain
Bridge and Anthony's Nose

Anthony's Nose from the Popolopen Creek Outlet

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