A trail map set published by the Trail Conference (TC) for the combined parks is available for purchase. Map grid references below are keyed to TC Map 119.
One of the biggest attractions of Bear Mountain State Park is hiking; this is also an especially historic place to enjoy the outdoors.
The very first segment of the Appalachian Trail (white 2" x 3" blaze), from Bear Mountain Bridge to Arden, was completed in 1923. The lowest point along the AT is 124 feet above sea level at the Trailside Historical Museum in the zoo (just to the west of the Bear Mountain Bridge.) This section of the AT, stretching from the main parking area near the Inn through the zoo, is wheelchair accessible. Today an 18 mile segment passes through Bear Mountain-Harriman State Parks from Bear Mountain Inn west to NJ 17 and Arden Valley Road (TC map 119 grid locations A3/G2). At 2,175 miles, the AT is now one of the longest blazed foot trails in the world.
Read information about the Bear Mountain Trails Project and a 2011 reroute of the AT on West Mountain.
The “Bicentennial Trails” were blazed in 1975 for the bicentennial celebration to commemorate the strategically important military events occurring in the Hudson Highlands during the American Revolution. The 1777 Trail (blazed red “1777” on round white tag, 10.6 miles, map grid F2/F3) and the 1779 Trail (blazed blue “1779” on round white tab, 8.5 miles, map grid E3/F2) follow routes by British and American troops during the Revolutionary War.
- The 1777E Trail (Fort Clinton branch), one of three 1777 Trail segments, travels south and then west from the main parking lots ending, in 2.3 miles, near the abandoned hamlet of Doodletown -- which has its own fascinating history.
- A 1779 Trail trailhead is located at Fort Montgomery Historic Site, across the Popolopen Creek where separate parking is available. The 1777W and 1779 trails are co-aligned here.
The Major Welch Trail (blazed red ring on white, 2.6 miles, map grid E2/F2) ascends Bear Mountain’s north slope; its trailhead is a little south of Hessian Lake and travels to the east of the lake. The trail was named in 1944 in memory of Major William A. Welch, the first general manager of the Palisades Interstate Park. Welch was basically responsible for launching Bear Mountain SP and Harriman SP trail networks. The trail ascends nearly 1,000 feet to terminate at the summit close to Perkins Memorial Tower where it meets the Appalachian Trail.
A web map produced by NYS (click on Contact Information below) identifies 16 trails in Bear Mountain SP, several extend into Harriman SP. They range in length from 0.2 mile to 6.5 miles, totaling just over 45 miles. Be aware when planning a hike with this map that distances are for Bear Mountain SP only.
- See "Web Map" link near top of page for a segment of the TC map set featuring the area around Bear Mountain Inn, Hessian Lake, the Zoo and Perkins Tower.
- Looking for a hike? Click for a list of detailed descriptions in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks.