Circular Hike Around Bear Mountain

Overview

This loop hike circles Bear Mountain, passing through the Trailside Museum and Zoo and crossing Popolopen Creek on a footbridge, with panoramic views.

Details
Time:
6 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
10 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Publication
First Published:
11/03/2006
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

The Bear Mountain Bridge

Parking


View Anthony Wayne Recreation Area in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.297598,-74.027274
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 17 (Anthony Wayne Recreation Area) and park in the large parking area just to the right of the entrance kiosk.

Description

This hike circles Bear Mountain on a mostly level route (although there are several climbs and descents). It offers attractive views and passes scenic lakes, reservoirs and streams - as well as the Trailside Museum and Zoo.

From the parking area, walk back along the entrance road until you reach a gravel road on the right blocked off with a gate. Turn right and follow this road, marked with the white blazes of the Anthony Wayne Trail. Bear right at the next fork and continue uphill, proceeding ahead across a four-way intersection.

When you reach a T-intersection, turn left. Then, in 25 feet, you'll notice three red-"F"-on-white blazes on a tree to the right, which mark the start of the Fawn Trail. Turn right onto the Fawn Trail, which climbs to reach a junction with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail. Here, you should turn left to continue on the Fawn Trail, which now begins to descend to its terminus at a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (AT). Continue straight ahead, now following the white blazes of the AT through dense mountain laurel thickets.

Soon, the AT turns left and descends, and it then turns right and joins the 1777W Trail (red 1777W on white). When the AT turns left before reaching Seven Lakes Drive, you should turn right and continue on the 1777W Trail, which runs along a grassy woods road. After crossing the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, the 1777W Trail begins to descend. At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a stream on a footbridge, and it ends, a short distance beyond, at a T-intersection.

Turn left at this junction, now following the 1777E Trail (red 1777E on white) through the abandoned hamlet of Doodletown. At the next T-intersection, turn right, then bear left at a fork and go around the Doodletown Reservoir. Continue ahead at the following intersection, where Lemmon Road leaves to the left.

After passing the garage of the Steinman home to the left, you'll notice a marker to the right, where a path leads down to a waterfall (a worthwhile side hike). Just ahead, follow the 1777E Trail as it bears left, leaving the wide road, and continues on a footpath.

Soon, the 1777E Trail turns right onto the Doodletown Bridle Path and descends to reach a junction with the blue-blazed Cornell Mine Trail, which comes in from the right. Continue ahead, now following both 1777E and Cornell Mine Trails, bearing left at the next fork and climbing a little.

In about half a mile, the joint trails go through a tunnel under the Seven Lakes Drive and then pass under the South Entrance Road. You're now entering the developed area surrounding the Bear Mountain Inn. Continue to follow the blazed trail, which proceeds between the Merry-Go-Round (to the right) and a parking area (to the left). At the end of the parking area, the Cornell Mine Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the 1777E Trail, which follows a paved path, with Bear Mountain to the left. You'll pass the historic Bear Mountain Inn (now closed for repairs) and begin to parallel Hessian Lake.

Soon, the white-blazed A.T. joins from the left. Continue along the joint A.T./1777E Trail, which turns right at a sign for the Trailside Museum and Zoo and crosses under Route 9W via a tunnel. A short distance beyond, you'll reach the entrance to the Trailside Museum and Zoo (open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). A $1.00 admission fee is charged.

Proceed ahead through the zoo, passing a statue of Walt Whitman. When the 1777E Trail ends just beyond the Amphibians, Reptiles and Fish Museum, continue ahead past the bear exhibit and turn right at a T-intersection, following the sign for "Exhibits." When you reach the Historical Museum, bear right onto a path that goes around the building, following the sign for "Scenic View."

With the Bear Mountain Bridge visible to the right, you'll come to a kiosk. Here, you should turn right onto a blue-stripe-on-white-blazed trail, which goes under the Bear Mountain Bridge and descends to reach a pedestrian footbridge over Popolopen Creek. The trail crosses the bridge, which affords panoramic views over the Hudson River, and climbs an old road to reach the Fort Montgomery Historic Site.

Go around the visitor center and climb stone steps, with a sign indicating "West and Round Hill Redoubts." You're now on the route of three trails: 1777W, 1779 and Timp-Torne (blue). Continue under Route 9W, then follow the blazes of these three trails, which soon turn left onto a paved road. When the road bends sharply to the right, the trails continue ahead into the woods. They briefly emerge onto another paved road, then turn right again and reach a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Brooks Lake Trail.

Continue to follow the three trails, which bear left and climb to rejoin the paved road. They turn right and follow the road, but just beyond Wildwood Ridge, they turn left and descend into the woods. The trails soon join a wide woods road - the route of the West Point Aqueduct. At first, the route climbs and descends steeply, but it soon levels off. The trails begin to parallel Popolopen Gorge, with the rushing waters of Popolopen Creek below to the left.

After a while, the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail leaves to the right, then soon rejoins. You should follow the 1777W and 1779 blazes. The three trails now descend to cross a footbridge over Popolopen Creek, then climb to reach a T-intersection with the red-on-white-blazed Popolopen Gorge Trail. Turn right, now following four trails: 1777W, 1779, Popolopen Gorge and Timp-Torne.

For the next half mile, you follow a narrow strip of land between the Palisades Interstate Parkway, on the left, and Popolopen Creek, on the right. After bearing right, away from the Parkway, the trails cross Popolopen Creek on a concrete footbridge and join a woods road. Soon, they turn left onto the Fort Montgomery Road and, a short distance beyond, reach a pistol range. Here, the Popolopen Gorge/1779 Trails turn right, but you should turn left, following the Timp-Torne/1777W Trails.

After rejoining the road, you'll pass a water treatment plant and soon reach a highway ramp. Turn left to cross the Palisades Interstate Parkway, then, at the end of the guardrail, turn right, cross another ramp, and reenter the woods. Just beyond, the 1777W Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail.

In a quarter of a mile, you'll notice a triple-white blaze to the right, which marks the start of the Anthony Wayne Trail. Turn right and follow the Anthony Wayne Trail over a rise and down to the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, where the hike began.

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Quick Question

I attempted this lovely hike the other day! All went well until the direction "At the next T-intersection, the A.T. turns left, but you should turn right, now following the 1777W Trail (red 1777W on white), which runs along a grassy woods road." When I hit the T-Intersection, the A.T. was on the right and the 1777W was on my left. I figured, I either went too far or was supposed to have continued down the A.T. a bit farther before the intended turn. I did continue down the 1777W Trail for about a mile or so, seeing if I could find the next "step" in the directions (I was looking for the Suffern-Bear Mtn intersection). I passed through a parking lot and came across a sign about the 1777 and 1779 trails (sign #9 I believe).  It was about 3/4 of a mile or so after this that my buddy and I turned around and just retraced our steps back to the car (probably good for us because we got a late start). Were we on the right track and just misunderstood? Or were we completely going the wrong way? I look forward to getting out much earlier and taking this hike again with my hubby--but I most certainly don't want to end up sleeping in a cave for the night! :) Any tips would be greatly appreciated! And thank you always for your awesome hikes!

A.T. has been relocated; description has been updated

The A.T. in the area where you got lost has been relocated recently.  This changes the route of the hike, but the description of the hike had not yet been updated when you did the hike.  I know where you made the wrong turn -- you went the wrong way on the 1777W Trail, which is understandable, given the fact that the directions in the hike description were no longer accurate.  The hike description has now been updated to reflect the new reroute of the A.T.

Thank you so much!!

Thank goodness it wasn't just my lack of direction! I'm usually pretty good out there! Thank you so much for clairifying! I can't wait to go attempt this hike again! :)

Poplopen Gorge bridge is now open

The 62-foot fiberglass bridge over Popolopen Creek has been rebuilt by Trail Conference volunteers and is now open to hikers. 

Bridge?

Is this the bridge that is listed as BRIDGE OUT, No Crossing on the 2012 Trail Map 119 Fourteenth Edition that  goes over the Popolopen Creek via the PG T-T 77W and 79 trails? I will be hiking these trails with a group this Sunday and just want to be sure it is possible to cross the creek in this location. Thanks so much!

Just Made It!

Yesterday (Nov. 9, 2012) my hubby and i did this hike. There are lots of blow-downs we had to climb over and around, including one huge batch of prickly brush just past the Doodletown Reservoir that you can't "go around," due to the lay of the land. So we were making pretty poor time to begin with. Then at Fort Montgomery we learned that the footbridge over the Popolopen was still under construction. We'd started our hike at 10:40 a.m., which left little room for error. So instead of following these directions, we walked south on Rt. 9W for about 20 yards and then dodged into the woods on the red-blazed  "Hell Hole" trail. This was OK, though waaay steeper at the start than we needed at that point in our 10-mile hike. The red trail does join up with the Timp-77W (blue and red) trails after a while, thank goodness, but  we JUST made it back to our car before it got totally dark. The good news: There was a crew working on the footbridge, and it looked as if it might be all finished in a day or two!