Sunday, June 6, 2021

Bear Mountain Appalachian Trail Loop

Bear Mountain State Park,
Orange / Rockland Counties.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
1777W: White blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:05 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.1 Miles

Pros: Good climb and great views
Cons: Many people at one part of the hike
Hike Type: Lollipop loop
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Map of Route:

It had been a while since I was at Bear Mountain. I decided to properly hike the Appalachian in its entirety from the southern approach, on the summit plateau, and the beginning of the eastern descent. The trail has been almost entirely rerouted along the length of Bear Mountain during the past several years, with the final stretch only recently completed. The route is a bit strange as the trail goes out of its way along the summit and then loops back very close to its original position on the descent. This hike entailed my first time properly hiking the trail along this route.

The weather was very hot and humid, with bright skies and and a strong sun. It reach a high in the mid-90's, making this ascent especially difficult. We parked at the trailhead parking on Seven Lakes Drive between Bear Mountain and West Mountain, and took the 1777W Trail briefly from the parking area to the Appalachian Trail. We started climbing the mountain on the Appalachian Trail, taking good pictures drinking plenty of water at the first view, which faces south looking at West Mountain.

We continued along the trail, crossing Perkins Memorial Drive, and took the trail along the old roadbed until it curves and starts climbing on the stairs along the edge of the mountain. Many good views including the famous "moonwalk", a pockmarked area of solid granite with great views to the south and southwest. We also passed many blooming mountain laurels along the way. We then proceeded towards the summit area, going along the trail as it reaches the northern-facing view. We looped around towards the summit and tower area, and then took the trail along it's newest portion from the summit to the dead-end of the extended portion of Perkins Memorial Drive. 

Most of the route was very quiet, and until reaching the tower, we hardly saw anyone, despite it being a Sunday. However, the top was very busy, and the route down from the top to the dead-end was awfully busy! However, once we turned off the trail along the former road bed gradually descending the mountain, things got very quiet once again. We then went back along the part of the Appalachian Trail we were at before, and upon reaching Seven Lakes Drive, we walked along the side of the road to our car.

Map of the Route

Steps Along the Southern Flank of Bear Mountain on the AT

First View on Bear Mountain, Looking Towards West Mountain

Me on the Flight of Steps on the Upper Approach to Bear Mountain

Scenic Steps on the AT

Appalachian Trail Steps and Blooming Mountain Laurels

Great View from the AT on Bear Mountain, Looking Soutyh

Blooming Mountain Laurels

View Looking Southwest Towards Route 6

Expansive View on Bear Mountain Southern Flank

Me at the Steep Rock View

Me on the Appalachian Trail on Bear Mountain

View from the Moonwalk Area on Bear Mountain, Facing Southeast

Shimmy at the Bear Mountain Moonwalk

Pocked Rock at the Bear Mountain Moonwalk, Facing South to West Mountain

Another View from the Moonwalk, Facing Queensboro Pond and the Palisades Parkway

View from the North Flank of Bear Mountain

Me at the Bear Mountain Northern View

Pink Blooming Mountain Laurels at the North Facing View on Bear Mountain

View from Near the Summit at Bear Mountain, Near the Tower

View of the Hudson River and Peekskill Descending the Appalachian Trail

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