Bear Mountain Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,121' 342 m
Descent: -1,120' -342 m
High: 1,287' 392 m
Low: 167' 51 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 59% (31°)
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“A moderate loop with some fun rock scrambling and amazing views toward the city.”— Zander Göpfert
While not technically rock climbing, you'll get more exposure than a typical run and the use of hands will be required in some spots. The top flattens out as you join the Appalachian Trail and finish at the Perkins Memorial Tower on top of Bear Mountain, where the view opens up to the south towards New York City.
The Appalachian Trail was rerouted and construction was completed in the Fall of 2018. The route down is now a two-mile rock stair case with short flat sections.
Follow this singletrack section of the Major Welch Trail as it gently curves to the left and suddenly begins to ascend more directly.
After passing through some rough trail and some newly installed steps, you'll emerge at the first of a series of exposed rock faces. Your shoes should just barely allow you to climb up these faces without the use of hands in dry weather, but maintain three points of contact to be safe!
Each ledge offers a better and better view, first of Popolopen Torne across Popolopen Gorge and Route 6, then the town of Fort Montgomery, then the Bear Mountain Bridge, and north to West Point.
Finally, you'll cross Perkins Memorial Drive (watch out for cyclists and motor vehicles!) and reach the summit plateau, where the trail turns right to contour around under the summit through a mythical-looking pine forest strewn with house-sized boulders, eventually ending at the summit parking lot. Take pictures of the skyscrapers of Manhattan a world away, and descend back to the car via the Appalachian Trail.
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background
Land Manager: NY State Parks