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Brooks Lake Loop
Directions to trailhead
From the traffic circle at the west end of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Proceed north on US 9W, crossing the Popolopen Viaduct. Just beyond the northern end of the viaduct, turn left onto Firefighters Memorial Drive and continue downhill for 0.4 mile. At the base of the descent, turn left onto Mine Road, then immediately turn right into Brooks Park and continue to the parking area.
Although most hikes in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks are rather strenuous, this hike — at the northern end of Bear Mountain State Park — is relatively easy. It circles the scenic Brooks Lake in a clockwise direction, following the Brooks Lake Trail, marked with red square-on-white blazes. There are many views of the lake and the surrounding mountains from the trail.
From the parking area, the Brooks Lake Trail heads south on a wide gravel road, passing a kiosk on the right. In 125 feet, the road ends at a viewpoint over the lake. Here, the trail turns left and continues on a narrower gravel road. In 0.2 mile, the trail makes a short but rather steep descent, passing an interesting rock outcrop and an abandoned stone-and-concrete building on the left. After climbing a little, the Brooks Lake Trail turns right, leaving the gravel road and joining the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail (also the route of the 1777W and 1779 Trails). The trails run together for only 100 feet, crossing a wet area on a boardwalk, after which the Timp-Torne, 1777W and 1779 Trails leave to the left. The Brooks Lake Trail bears right and heads north along the west side of the lake.
The treadway now becomes a little rougher as the trail follows a footpath along a narrow shelf above the lake, crossing several rocky areas. Soon, you’ll notice a strand of inch-thick wire rope lying across the trail, with a longer segment of the rope hanging from an adjacent tree. This is a remnant of the cable used to suspend the tramway cars that carried iron ore from the Forest of Dean Mine, located several miles to the west, which was opened in the 1750s and was actively mined until 1931. On their way to the Hudson River, where the iron ore was transferred to boats or to trains on the West Shore Railroad at the site of the present-day Mine Dock Park, the tramway cars passed over Brooks Lake. After the mine closed, the tramway was removed, and the mine was subsequently acquired by the United States Government. It is now part of the United States Military Reservation at West Point.
As you proceed along the lake, a number of east-facing views open up. The mountain visible in the background is Anthony’s Nose, on the east side of the river.
At the northwest corner of the lake, 0.6 mile from the start, the trail crosses a stream on rocks and again curves to the right. Just beyond, there are several south-facing viewpoints over the lake, with Bear Mountain in the background. After proceeding south along the east side of the lake, the trail briefly parallels and then crosses an old woods road, lined on both sides with stone walls. Just beyond, the trail emerges onto a grassy field. It passes a wooden pavilion on the right, with more views over the lake, and descends to end at the parking area.