West Mountain Loop from Seven Lakes Drive

Overview

This loop hike climbs to the ridge of West Mountain, passing a number of expansive viewpoints over Bear Mountain, Black Mountain and the Hudson River.

Details
Time:
4 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
5.4 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Rockland
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
02/13/2003

Updated/Verified:
09/14/2014
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Bear Mountain from the T-T_AT on the ridge of West Mountain. Photo by Dan Chazin

Parking


View Hikers Parking Off 7 Lakes Dr. in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.304125, -74.015924
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Exit 19. Continue for 0.5 mile on Seven Lakes Drive, then turn right onto an unmarked road that leads in a short distance to a parking area. (This is the first right turn you come to on Seven Lakes Drive.)

Description

Walk towards the rear of the parking area. To the left (east), you will notice a white circular blaze with a red “1777W.” Turn left and follow this trail uphill. Soon after the trail levels off, you’ll reach a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (AT). Turn sharply right, leaving the 1777W Trail, and follow the AT, which climbs through mountain laurel thickets and soon turns right onto an old woods road (the former route of the Fawn Trail).

After crossing a stream on rocks, the AT turns left, leaving the woods road, and begins a steady climb up the eastern face of West Mountain. (Straight ahead, the woods road is the route of the Fawn Trail, which crosses the AT here). Near the top, there is an outstanding viewpoint to the left over Bear Mountain, Iona Island and the Hudson River. The stone building on the summit of Bear Mountain is the Perkins Memorial Tower.Bear Mountain and the Perkins Tower. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

After a brief descent to a valley, the AT climbs steeply to a junction with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, which comes in from the right. Follow the joint AT/Timp-Torne Trail ahead, passing another viewpoint to the left over Bear Mountain, Iona Island  and the Hudson River. The trail now swings to the west side of the ridge and soon reaches a west-facing viewpoint over Black Mountain. The Palisades Interstate Parkway and two large parking areas for the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area are visible in the valley below.

The joint AT/Timp-Torne Trail now proceeds south along the ridge. In a quarter mile, the trail traverses an open rock ledge, then descends steeply and crosses back to the west side of the ridge, soon passing more viewpoints to the west. After reaching another east-facing viewpoint, with a tower of the Bear Mountain Bridge visible to the northeast, you will come to a junction, marked by a sign. Here, the AT continues ahead, but you should turn left and follow the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, which heads southwest, crossing a fire-scarred ridge. Soon, the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail joins from the right. Continue ahead, following the blue/yellow-blazed trail, which runs along ledges, with views to the south.

West Mountain Shelter. Photo by Daniel Chazin.In another 0.3 mile, you’ll reach a junction. Here, the yellow-blazed trail continues ahead, but you should bear right, following the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail. In 500 feet, you’ll come to the West Mountain Shelter, built in 1928, which offers views over the Timp and the Hudson River to the southeast. This is a good place to stop for a break.

After you’ve rested for a while, retrace your steps back to the junction of the blue and yellow trails. Turn right at the junction, following the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, which descends to a valley and climbs to reach an east-facing viewpoint in an open area. The trail now descends, first steeply, then more gradually through mountain laurel thickets. After reaching another valley at the base of the descent, it climbs steeply, descends a little to a limited southeast-facing viewpoint, then climbs gradually to reach the top of a knoll.

The Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail now begins a steady descent of about 750 vertical feet. It soon reaches a very steep section, where extreme care should be taken if the trail is wet, icy or snow-covHiker looking west from the AT-TT on West Mountain. Photo by Daniel Chazinered. The grade then moderates somewhat, and the trail soon joins an old woods road. About halfway down, the trail crosses a stream and continues to descend along the road, with more gentle grades. The road is eroded in places, and the trail has been routed away from the road in a few spots.

At the base of the descent, follow the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail as it turns left onto a level road, the route of the Doodletown Bridle Path. It continues along the road for about 750 feet, then turns right, leaving the road, and ascends to cross a shallow ridge. The yellow-blazed trail then descends to cross a stream on rocks and follows an old road uphill to a junction with the 1777W Trail.

Turn left here, leaving the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, and follow the 1777W Trail westward. You’re now proceeding along the old Doodletown Road (which leads, on the right, to the abandoned hamlet of Doodletown). Soon, you’ll hear the sounds of traffic on the Seven Lakes Drive, above to the right, and pass a pine grove to the left.

Just before reaching Seven Lakes Drive, follow the 1777W blazes as they turn left, leaving the old road, and head uphill on a footpath jointly with the white-blazed AT. After a short level stretch, the AT turns off to the left, but you should continue ahead and follow the 1777W Trail back to the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Reverse direction was great

We did this hike on New Year's Day in the reverse direction. In this direction, the amazing views come more towards the end, like dessert. The 1777W Trail going towards Doodletown was very lovely, which is a nice way to start the hike. You're still full of verve and energy, so going up the super steep part this soon isn't a problem. The last view this way is of Bear Mountain, and then you just have to trek slowly down the A.T. switchbacks until you get to the car, which is boring. If you do the hike in the written direction, then this way comes first, which means you get the boring part out first, then the far views, then the steep downhill, then tame but lovely 1777W.

Well worth the time and effort

My wife and I took this hike on Sept 22, going the reverse direction from the description provided here. I took the comment about the last half/third being hard on the knees to heart and thought I'd rather do the steeper portion going uphill. Not sure it would have made much difference, though going the way we did we climbed up a steep rock scramble about 1/3 of the way through instead of having to descend it. I'd prefer to climb it. No matter, the hike is beautiful either way you go. Most of the views are saved for the last half of the hike (going my direction) and they are really spectacular. Even areas without distant views are fantastic, lots of mountain laurel to walk through and plenty of open space that lent a sense of expansiveness. One of the most interesting points in the hike were the several stands of Aspen trees we walked through. I'd never seen anything like it around here. You were literally surrounded by them and at one point walked through almost a tunnel created by them. Really unique. A really great hike.

Well marked, but might reverse direction

I hiked this route today, 9/14/14 and found the directions quite good, as usual. If I hike it again, which I may do with a school group. I would probably reverse direction, starting with the 1777 trail to the Suffern Bear Mt trail section first. That section is pleasant enough but with no real special features. After taking a break at the very nice West Mt. shelter with a good view of the Hudson, the hike would conclude with the scenic section along West Mt with numerous nice views. Either way it's a nice hike.

Ist half awsome, last half tuff on the knees

It was a great hike. I did it in 3 hours. The West Mountain shelter is in a really beautiful location. The view of the Hudson is perfact, and the surrounding meadows with the blooming Mountain Laural is truly magnificent. The long downhill of the SBM trail was tuff on the knees. It is always rewarding to meet thru-hikers on the AP trail. I always shake their hands and give them encouragment. I met 3 of them today.