[NYC] Day Trip to Bear Mountain State Park from New York City in the Fall

I went to Bear Mountain on October 21 in hopes of catching some fall colors, but I was about a week or two too early.

Read my review of the Circle Line Bear Mountain Cruise here!


Luckily we didn't schedule a trip on the October 27 cruise, that would have been a miserable trip and we would have canceled because nothing sounds worse than going on a river cruise in the middle of a Nor'easter (but, I believe my credit card would have reimbursed us since it was a travel expense). 

So, there was a preview of some of these photos in my review post on Monday. I wanted to split them up because the mountain was totally worth it (the cruise...not so much) and because there was so much content on the previous post - comment below if you think I should have posted everything together.

So, we were kind of worried about the forecast going into the weekend because it was supposed to be like 34 degrees IN THE CITY, which seemed like complete misery climbing the mountain.

But, we lucked out! Look at these beautiful partly cloudy skies.

This is the Bear Mountain Bridge.


So, it was pretty early in the foliage season since it's been unseasonably warm, so these were the most colorful leaves I saw.

This is Hessian Lake. If you walk toward the Lodge or the Inn past the Zoo from the Dock, you'll come to Hessian Lake. There's a picnic area beside the lake and also a public restroom. There are also some, what appeared to be, fire pits available.
The lighting changed, so I wanted to take a picture with the sun behind the cloud. The view looks so fake now, but I promise I didn't do anything to the picture.
From the lake, if you walk towards the Lodge, you'll come across this more sheltered picnic area. There are grills available. There was a family there grilling steaks and sausages. I was kind of jealous. Next time!




As I wrote about in my previous post, I didn't do ANY research about the tour or Bear Mountain. So, I didn't realize that this was part of the Appalachian Trail, which is pretty neat.

One cool thing about the trail at Bear Mountain State Park is the path was built by volunteers. 



If you're one of the "boat people," they will recommend that you only hike to the first viewpoint. They said it was about a 30-40 minute hike.
This would have been beautiful if it were peak autumn colors. It's still beautiful, but close your eyes and imagine the scene with deep red and orange colors.


This is a snap of the stairs.  The stairs were laid by volunteers. Just a note, each of the steps is a mix of heights, which kind of sucks if you are short and have bad knees like me. It's hard to get a pace going. It really sucked going down the mountain because the last step in each set was always much higher than the others, but not predictably so.


Even though there were so many people on the mountain, it was oddly peaceful.

One more thing to note is that it was a pretty medium-high moderate level hike. There were some kids climbing with youthful energy, but some of their parents were not looking to be so youthful. There were some older senior citizens also climbing, but they tended to stop about halfway to the first checkpoint and sit there, waiting for their family to come back down.


Not going to lie about the climb, it was pretty strenuous. I am used to Korean mountains and I haven't climbed in a while. It's not just a hill. So, the workers at the bottom of the mountain had said it would take us 30 minutes to the viewpoint, but we did it in 20, so maybe we were going fast? We were kind of worried about timing because we wanted seats on the boat for the ride back. So, that may have been a factor.

We have kind of been talking about going back sometime soon before winter comes.

On the trip there, I started looking up hiking path information and I realized that you can cheat and actually drive to the peak, so there's always that option, too.


So, I lied. This was the most colorful autumn foliage we saw that day. It was at the first checkpoint.



This is the view from the first viewpoint. You can see the Bear Mountain Bridge.

If you are also on the cruise, if you eat onboard the boat and don't take time to picnic like we did, you will probably be able to the top - some fit people on the cruise made it.





Even if you're not on the cruise, I recommend walking to the Dock. You'll find this beautiful scene! There's a deer sculpture on the side. If you climb up the rocks you can get this vantage point.




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