bear mt loop trail

Hiking Bear Mountain Loop Trail

Yesterday we hiked the Bear Mountain Loop trail for the first time. Bear Mountain is so popular that even my brother hiked it in 2016. He even has a photo from the tower bench printed on canvas and hung in his condo. Anyway, going back to the hike now. It was a beautiful and sunny day, perfect for an early spring hike. Since we had Thursday meeting at 8am we left the house a little later and were at Bear Mountain around 9:30 or so. Nihad’s friend was there waiting to redo the hike with us.

I opened the AllTrails app and followed the map, as we walked past the ice skating rink. Instead of making a left right at the intersection (across from the Inn) to follow the trail clockwise, we continued on. If you just want to climb a lot of stone stairs to the tower, go this way. We wanted to do the loop and followed other hikers advice on taking the trail counter-clock wise. Once we passed the paddle boats the trail to start the loop was a little further down, to our left. The first time we missed it but didn’t walk too far from it.

Bear Mountain Loop Trail Pictures

Stairway to Views

We followed the Major Welch Trail, which was a nice uphill. The trail continues to keep going up with some rock scrambling, stone stairs walking, and a lot of panting. There were also other trails or what looked like trails and paths on the hike so make sure to pay attention to the trail map. After passing the large water reservoir for example make sure to turn left, don’t go straight. Many more stone stairs, rock climbing, and breaks were taken until we were almost to the top. Just before thinking we were at the top we had to cross Perkins Memorial Drive. The trail continued to the left across the street.

Before we knew it we were on a gravel road intersecting the Appalachian Trail. It felt incredible to pass on a small section of the AT and to think of all the people that completed it. Following the White and White and Red Circle trail blazer led us to the tower. I was amazed at the amount of people that were there, mostly kids on a school trip. The tower was open and we got to enjoy the incredible views and touching history. If you’re ever here, don’t miss out on going up the tower to immerse yourself in Bear Mountain history.

After the tower we continued on the trail, which is by the large wooden bench. The trail from here on is mostly going down stone stairs. Did I mention that Bear Mountain loop trail has over 1,000 stone stairs? Who needs a Stair Master when you can instead climb stone stairs in nature? After going down the trail, down numerous of impressive stairs, we were at a junction. Instead of going left we went right, down to the entrance toward the parking lot. Later I learned if we walked the short distance to the left, it would have taken us to a plaque. This plaque describes the process and effort that went into creating the trail steps.

Bear Mountain Loop Trail Overview

If you’re looking for a 4 mile hike, where half of it is challenging and the other half is smooth sailing, give Bear Mountain loop trail a go. Going counter-clock wise will get the hard rock scrambling out of the way. If you want to walk up the steps, which is a challenge on it’s own, go clock-wise. You can also just take the stairs to the tower and take them back, without doing the loop.

You can come here and walk around the lake, enjoy a BBQ or dine at the 1915 Bar and Restaurant. There is also a Hikers Cafe at the Bear Mountain Inn. The area also has a zoo across the street but it was closed when we were there. On a Thursday morning and afternoon when we finished, I did not expect to see so many cars and people. There were also a lot of school bus kids there as well. Since this is a popular spot, it’s not a surprise to see trash along the lake and the trail.

We came here on a Thursday morning and the pay booth was closed. We have our Empire State Pass so the parking would have been free anyway. If you do come here without the pass on a weekend, it will be $10 per car.

We parked around Bear Mountain Carousel but you can park anywhere around the large parking area near the inn, office, or ice skating rink. The address you can put on Google Maps or Apple Maps is:

Bear Mountain Office

3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Tomkins Cove, NY 10986

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