Once I was rising up in northern New Jersey, on the border of New York State, I fell in love with mountaineering. Only a brief stroll from my home throughout the digital state line was a wonderland that beckoned to be explored — Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks.
Two parks adjoining each other that supplied a tremendous array of mountaineering journey, historical past, and an eclectic array of outside leisure actions. It additionally supplied first-class lodging, eating, and extra.
I lately went residence and revisited the dual parks and was not upset. These gems of the Hudson Valley haven’t modified and as soon as once more took my coronary heart away as they did all of these years in the past.
Harriman State Park is New York State’s second oldest park, first opening in 1910. The park encompasses over 45,000 acres of gorgeous mountains, 31 lakes and reservoirs, and as we speak, boasts over 200 miles of mountaineering trails.
Bear Mountain State Park is located alongside the western shore of the Hudson River within the city of Bear Mountain, New York. Its rugged namesake mountain rises majestically from the banks the place the gleaming Bear Mountain Bridge crosses the vast river.
Vacationers flock to the bottom of the mountain to start their mountaineering adventures, take within the many outside actions discovered there, loosen up within the park’s pool, or dine within the lovely rustic inn that opened right here in 1915.
When visiting the New York Tri-State Space, it’s effectively value your whereas to drive up Route 9W and pay a go to to the parks. Listed here are eight the reason why they’re a must-visit.
1. A Hiker’s Dream: 200 Miles Of Distinctive Trails
Inside the boundaries of the dual parks, there are over 200 miles of mountaineering trails that result in probably the most unimaginable panoramic views, tranquil lakes, deserted mines, and extra.
Essentially the most well-known path that winds by the parks is the Appalachian Path (A.T.). The primary part of the well-known lengthy path was constructed right here by volunteers and opened in 1923. The primary part of the path stretched westward from Bear Mountain by the size of Harriman and as we speak spans the jap seaboard from Maine to Georgia.
Whereas there are many easy-to-moderate hikes, lots of the trails will be difficult as they make steep and regular climbs to the tops of ridges however are so definitely worth the effort. Private favorites embody the 7.1-mile moderate-walking West Mountain-Timp Torne Trails with a spectacular view of the Hudson River Valley, a tranquil 3.7-mile average stroll to Island Pond through the A.T., and the difficult 5.2-mile Ramapo Torne Loop. And, on the Ramapo Torne trek, there are much more beautiful views from a tall rock bald of the encompassing mountains trying into New Jersey and, on a transparent day, the New York Metropolis skyline on the horizon.
Lots of the trails interconnect so you possibly can type many alternative loops for any ability stage. Go to the New York-New Jersey Path Convention web site for extra data.
2. Perkins Memorial Tower
From the doorway to Bear Mountain State Park, take the winding Seven Lakes Drive and Perkins Memorial Tower Drive to go to the stone Perkins Memorial Tower. Right here, you’ll be handled to breathtaking 360-degree views of the Hudson Highlands and surrounding valley.
Through the Nice Melancholy, the 1,305-foot tower was constructed by hand, stone-by-stone, by the younger males of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The tower is known as after the primary president of the Palisades Park Fee, George Perkins, and is open from April by November climate allowing.
3. The Bear Mountain Inn
The very first thing to greet you as you pull into the Bear Mountain’s important gate on Route 9W is the country class of the Bear Mountain Inn.
The inn was constructed by park workers utilizing reclaimed river and mountain stones from outdated, deserted buildings within the space, and cedar timbers that had been lower and milled on-site.
Right now, company visiting the inn can keep in one among its 15 fully-appointed deluxe visitor rooms which might be described as being the “quintessential romantic Hudson Valley vacation spot.”
The Inn additionally has a number of stone cottages that had been constructed within the Nineteen Thirties, every with six cozy rooms all related to a typical space with a big stone fire. Every room is outfitted with queen dimension beds, personal tub, cable TV, and fridge. Every cottage has a large porch that overlooks the gorgeous Hessian Lake, the proper place to begin the morning with a scorching cup of espresso.
All rooms within the cottages are ADA-accessible.
Then, there’s the Overlook Lodge, with 24 good, cozy visitor rooms with a foyer that gives a beautiful view of the Hudson River Valley.
Pet-friendly rooms can be found at every location. Make reservations by the Inn’s web site.
4. The Carousel
Make a journey again in time to your childhood for a trip on the wonderful Bear Mountain Carousel. Positioned only a brief 0.1-mile stroll from the inn, the carousel harkens again to an earlier, harmless time — your childhood — when it was a thrill to circle endlessly on the 42 hand carved and painted seats whereas calliope music stuffed the air.
Kids of all ages will love this trip housed in a sublime stone and timber rotunda. Contact the park for present working hours and costs.
5. Yr-Spherical Recreation
Bear Mountain has been a favourite vacation spot for locals, vacationers, and metropolis dwellers for many years due to its seasonal facilities.
In mid-June, the park opens its giant swimming pool. From spring by fall, rental a paddle boat and take a quiet paddle on Hessian Lake. And in winter, escape the ice skates or hire a pair and follow your salchow across the park’s ice rink.
Admission to the pool is $5. Test the web site for the most recent schedule. The skating rink is usually open from November by March. Skate leases are $10 a pair.
Talking of ice skating, you’re allowed to skate on a number of lakes inside Harriman State Park together with Lake Tiorati, Lake Welch, and Silver Mine Lake, however being on an open lake in wintertime means particular guidelines apply.
Test the Bear Mountain web site for up to date charges and schedule for all outside actions.
6. The Trailside Zoo And Museum
Take the brief, leisurely stroll from the inn, down a paved walkway that’s really a part of the Appalachian Path, and go to the park’s Trailside Zoo and Museum.
The zoo and museum includes a self-guided strolling path that leads you previous reveals that introduce you to the world’s ecology and historical past. Alongside the forested route, you’ll expertise native gardens and unimaginable geologic options.
Within the zoo, you will note black bear, porcupine, deer, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and extra. Quite a lot of native reptiles and fish can be seen on the Amphibians, Reptiles, and Fish Museum.
There’s additionally a nature research and geology museum in addition to a butterfly backyard. And for historical past buffs, cease to see the redoubts of Fort Clinton that performed a task within the Revolutionary Struggle and an additional facet path that results in historic Fort Montgomery.
The zoo and museum are open day by day from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. There’s a $1 admission donation per person who helps maintain the ability working.
7. Eating Experiences
Eating is as a lot of an expertise as something at Bear Mountain State Park. The Bear Mountain Inn affords two distinct eating experiences. The primary, and my favourite since I’m an avid hiker, is the Hiker’s Café.
Positioned on the facet of the inn, the café serves up conventional and fast American fare — hamburgers, scorching canine, grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and even hearty breakfasts. It’s a stress-free, informal environment the place hikers — particularly these by mountaineering the A.T. — collect to seize a fast, scrumptious breakfast or lunch. It’s a beautiful place to sit down and chat with them to listen to about their adventures.
On the other finish of the dimensions is the Restaurant 1915 and Blue Roof Bar. As its title implies, it was opened in 1915 and serves among the most scrumptious and inventive international delicacies you’ll discover anyplace.
Begin along with your favourite beverage from their full wine and specialty menu. Then, strive their scrumptious pork again ribs marinated in ginger and soy, and facet pickled vegetable salad; or strive a cheese and charcuterie board brimming with native and imported cheeses, artisan meats, honeycomb olives, fig cake, and toasted baguette.
Try the menu and present hours for each eating places on-line.
8. Harriman State Park Campgrounds
Harriman State Park has a number of good campgrounds obtainable and probably the greatest is Beaver Pond positioned at Lake Welch. Beaver Pond is open for each tent and RV tenting. Every web site permits for 2 tents or RVs/trailers as much as 30 ft lengthy. There aren’t any electrical hookups.
Should you don’t need the trouble of bringing your personal tent, TentRR has good and large four-wall cabin tents already arrange at among the most fascinating lakeside tenting places within the park.
Individuals flock to Bear Mountain from all around the world, so count on it to be crowded most anytime of the 12 months. Should you plan to remain on the inn, make your reservations effectively upfront — at the least 6 months forward of time.
There is no such thing as a admission price to hike in Harriman however there could also be a parking price on the lakes when you plan on swimming or ice skating. There’s a $10 parking price on the Bear Mountain parking space close to the inn.
Try among the hottest mountaineering trails within the nation: