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...
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.
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.
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 on 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 signpost. Here, the AT continues ahead, but you should turn left and follow the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, which heads southwest. 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.
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. On a clear day, the New York City skyline is visible in the distance. 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 through the trees, 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 it descends over jumbled boulders. Extreme care should be taken if the trail is wet, icy or snow-covered. The grade then moderates somewhat, and the trail soon joins an old woods road. About halfway down, the trail crosses a stream (the Doodlekill) 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 on the right, and pass a pine grove on 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.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 02/13/2003 updated/verified on 04/20/2022
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.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.