Hiking Bear Mountain State Park in New York

for all your hiking, museum, zoo and merry-go-round needs

Don’t worry, darlings, ZsaZsa is still an urbanite. She just needs to explore her nature lovin’ side from time to time.

On Saturday I took a group hiking trip up to Bear Mountain State Park, about an hour outside of NYC. It’s a state park for city folk. Why? None of the trails are too hard. The administrative buildings are made of cute fieldstone and exposed beam. There’s an ice skating rink and merry-go-round for over-stimulated city kids. And every weekend in October the park celebrates Octoberfest, in case you’re missing your neighborhood bar.

When we got off the bus from NYC, our larger group broke off into smaller groups, and my group of six hikers decided to take on the Popolopen Torne trail. Sometimes the hardest part of hiking is finding the start of the trail. This time, we had to trust the map, cross a highway roundabout and walk down the side of the highway, away from the main park entrance before finding the trial head.

We found it. There was a big orange sign saying trail closed. We went anyway.

not a welcome sight on the hiker's trail

The trail was pretty tame for the most part. Mostly we followed white and red trail markers that looked like the Japanese flag.

Not that we didn’t run into a few hiccups. There was a washed out bridge, that had (once) proudly been labeled “Made by volunteers.”

And later on we reached a confusing fork in the road that told us not to enter because it was shooting range territory, but at the same time told us to stay on the trail. Make up your mind before I get shot!

So we didn’t make it up the mountain. Instead we ended up on the Popolopen Gorge/Queensboro Lake trail, a senic 6.5 mile trek around the base of the mountain. Next time, I’m going up.

View more picture from the Bear Mountain State Park hike.

One thought on “Hiking Bear Mountain State Park in New York

  1. D Berry

    Easy trails sound very inviting to the majority of us, and a one-hour drive is not a steep price for a little escape. Was the parking plentiful and free?

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