Bear Mountain Loop via Appalachian Trail and Major...

Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks

View from summit of Bear Mountain - Photo by Daniel Chazin View from summit of Bear Mountain - Photo by Daniel Chazin

This loop hike climbs Bear Mountain on a newly-built section of the Appalachian Trail and descends on the Major Welch Trail, passing a number of panoramic viewpoints.

41.312661, -73.988972

From the parking area, proceed across the lawn to the southwest corner of the Bear Mountain Inn and continue west (toward the mountain) on a paved path. About 400 feet beyond the Inn, you'll reach a junction of paved paths, marked by a trail sign. Bear right, following the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) as it leaves the paved path toward a stone building known as the Spider Hill...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
July 19, 2015
0
This hike is also written up on the website in reverse
You are indeed correct that it makes more sense (and is safer) to do this hike in the reverse direction -- up the Major Welch Trail and down the Appalachian Trail.  In fact, this hike has been written up and posted on the website described in this manner: http://nynjtc.org/hike/bear-mountain-state-park-0 This hike -- up the A.T. and down the Major Welch -- was written to commemorate the opening of the new A.T. (with about 1,000 rock steps) up the Lower East Face of Bear Mountain in 2010,  To recognize this achievement, I wrote up the hike to accentuate the A.T. part of it, by going up the A.T. and down the Major Welch.  But I agree that it makes more sense to do the hike in the reverse direction, as it is safer to go up the Major Welch Trail than it is to go down this very steep trail.
Daniel Chazin
July 13, 2015
0
Go in Reverse! Major Welch then AP back down....
Wow - no way would I descend down that rugged trail of the Major Welch.  I would recommend starting this hike in reverse!  From the main parking lot we walked toward the lake (Hessian), turned left and took the path running along the lakeside to the northwest end, where the rugged climb of the Major Welch begins.  You'll see the red circle on white blaze at the left.     The first time I did this hike, I saw that blaze and thought "Where? Up there??"  You'll see a sign that tells you that this portion of the climb is steep and rugged for 1.6 miles.  When you get to the top of the trail, you can veer right onto the blue trail which connects to the AP (extending the distance of your loop) - or you can veer slightly left and go towards the tower.  You can pick up the AP from Tower to go back down.   I also recommend that you either not bring the baby, or choose another more walk friendly trail.  I was having a fit when I saw this couple; the dad had the baby in a carrier on his back - and they were about to go down that rugged trail - it was scary sight.   Just use good judgment and be safe!
dlanier64
June 23, 2012
0
Major Welch (May '12)
This hike is great in the reverse order as previously suggested.  It is a very steep incline up mostly rock on the Major Welch trail.  Going down this way would be difficult.  The Appalachian Trail section makes for pretty much the easiest descent you can ask for.  If you are up for a challenge the Major Welch trail is as strenuous as any I've done.  Its not long but you definitely hike straight up the steepest part of the mountain.  The views as mentioned are amazing.  The views of the Hudson in both directions are stellar.  I wish there wasn't a road to the top though.  The bikers like to ride up there and the traffic noise is present through some of the hike.  I recommend this for anyone who is looking for a challenging hike that doesn't want to spend all day out on the mountain.  We completed it in right about the stated time including the time we wasted missing the turn onto the Major Welch trail.   We saw a lot of Black Vultures at the start by the lake as well as some chipmunks but not much other wildlife.
bucci
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