Bear Mountain Loop

 11 votes

3.9 Miles 6.2 Kilometers


75%

Singletrack

1,126' 343 m

Ascent

-1,125' -343 m

Descent

1,291' 394 m

High

166' 51 m

Low

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

55%

Max Grade (29°)

Unknown

Update

A moderate loop with some fun rock scrambling and amazing views toward the city.

Zander Göpfert

Overview

An ideal first stage of a Bear Mountain Loop, the Major Welch Trail is "spicier" than the Appalachian Trail approach, as well as more scenic and more challenging. Stroll past scenic Hessian Lake on a flat grade, then ascend through woodland, breaking out on to a series of rock slabs that will give you an ever-improving view of the Hudson River valley.

While not technically rock climbing, you'll get more exposure than a typical hike and the use of hands will be required in some spots. The top flattens out as you join the Appalachian Trail and finish at the Perkins Memorial Tower on top of Bear Mountain, where the view opens up to the south towards New York City.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — Views — Wildlife

Description

To access this loop, start at the Carousel in the main Bear Mountain parking lot and hike north along the asphalt start of the Major Welch Trail around the west shore of Hessian Lake. Pass the lake on the right, and go to almost the other end of the lake, where you'll find a trail leaving the pavement up to the left.

Follow this singletrack section of the Major Welch Trail as it gently curves to the left and suddenly begins to ascend more directly.

After passing through some rough trail and some newly installed steps, you'll emerge at the first of a series of exposed rock faces. Your shoes should just barely allow you to climb up these faces without the use of hands in dry weather, but maintain three points of contact to be safe!

Each ledge offers a better and better view, first of Popolopen Torne across Popolopen Gorge and Route 6, then the town of Fort Montgomery, then the Bear Mountain Bridge, and north to West Point.

Finally, you'll cross Perkins Memorial Drive (watch out for cyclists and motor vehicles!) and reach the summit plateau, where the trail turns right to contour around under the summit through a mythical-looking pine forest strewn with house-sized boulders, eventually ending at the summit parking lot. Take pictures of the skyscrapers of Manhattan a world away, and descend back to the car via the Appalachian Trail.

Contacts

Land Manager: NY State Parks

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4.1 from 11 votes


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Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2017
Tiffany Chew
Oct 14, 2017
C S
Oct 3, 2017
Arzi Rachman
Major Welch and Appalachian Trail Loop 4.3mi
Sep 16, 2017
Emir Pekdemir
with Pınar
Sep 10, 2017
Adam Krebs
Aug 20, 2017
Ali Millwater
3.9mi
Aug 20, 2017
Roland Millman
First hike with new boots!
Aug 13, 2017
Allison Kadanoff
Went off trail for a bit. Very difficult. Pay attention at water tank. At least the way down was easy. Vending machine with water bottles at the top. 4.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 11 votes

#183

Overall
  4.1 from 11 votes
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Rankings

#3

in New York

#183

Overall
2,250 Views Last Month
8,406 Since Nov 22, 2016
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11%
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