Bear Mountain State Park

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History of Bear Mountain State Parkโ–บ

Bear Mountain State Park in New York is adjacent to Harriman State Park. The two parks sprang out of land grants from Mary Harriman, widow of the Union Pacific Railroad president.


John D. Rockefeller and J. Pierpont Morgan donated million to the conservation project. This saved the area from becoming the new home of Sing Sing prison.


Bear Mountain State Park is over 5000 acres on the west bank of the Hudson River. Numerous hiking trails run through it and a scenic drive climbs to the 1283-foot summit. When the park opened in 1913, people traveled by steamboat and railroad from New York City to camp by Hessian Lake.


By 1914, more than a million visitors a year traveled to Bear Mountain State Park. The State built the Bear Mountain Inn in 1915. The Bear Mountain Inn is a classic Adirondack rustic lodge, like many of the historic lodges in the NPS.


The park, which had become popular with Boy Scouts, added a Nature Center, Zoo and Trailside Museums in the late 1920s. The Zoo and museums are on the Fort Clinton side of the Popolopen Creek.

Autumn visit to Bear Mountainโ–บ

I met up with a photography group one chilly autumn morning on the other side of the Popolopen, at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site. We stood on the Route 9W Viaduct, overlooking the Bear Mountain Bridge and watched the sun rise and light up the colorful fall foliage.


Next, we walked down the trail to the suspension pedestrian bridge over the Popolopen Creek and into the northernmost section of Bear Mountain State Park. This trail winds down close to the Hudson River before ascending to Fort Clinton.


Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery served as Patriot forts during the Revolutionary War. The Patriots built them to defend the Hudson from the British. The British destroyed both forts in 1977.

Bear Mountain Area postsโ–บ

  • Bear Mountain State Park
  • Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
  • Croton Gorge County Park
  • Bear Mountain Bridge

Location: Route 9W North, Bear Mountain, NY 10911
Designation: State Park
Date designated/established: 1913
Date of my visit: October 18, 2020

30 thoughts on “Bear Mountain State Park

  1. I realize that Jimmy Carter was not a strong president (much better home builder for Habitat). But even so, the Brits really took advantage of his good nature by destroying two forts in upstate NY.
    Must have upset Hugh Carey to no end.

    Just teasing. I love your posts and photos. Helps maintain my bucket list, and nearing 75, I have to keep it short.

    Please keep them coming.

    1. Yes, I chuckled at that too. As a Brit I remember the 1970s well … it wasn’t our finest decade, and we’d have struggled to fight our way out of a cardboard box, so American forts bristling with weaponry were way, way beyond us ๐Ÿ™‚.

  2. Photos are spectacular. Jimmy Carter may not have been one of our better presidents, but I think he has been one of best ex-presidents. His Habitat for Humanity work is inspiring,

    1. That he was. When I was running lumberyards in Central MA and again in upstate NY, we worked with Habitat on several worthy projects.
      A lot of great builders and subs donate a lot of their expertise and time and many suppliers donate a lot of material to help make these projects real. Volunteers help out, but without the commited professional trades people, chaos would more than likely ensue. The Habitat concept and execution are a true work of love and cooperation. A lasting legacy for President Carter.

      1. And up until covid, he was still teaching Sunday School at his church. He and Rosalyn live a simple life in their small town and do their best to give back to society. I was still a kid when he was president, but I think he may have been too nice for the job.

  3. Love seeing all the parks. It reminds me of my year long drive across the USA following scenic byways. Wanted to let you know I submitted a link for Katmai. I couldnโ€™t figure out how to send just one photo. Also, I nominated you for the travel photo challenge. I failed to tell you. You donโ€™t have to participate if you donโ€™t want. Just wanted to let you know

  4. When I attended my brother’s graduation from West Point in 1972, I still remember the beauty of the Hudson and it’s remarkable how quickly one escapes the urban setting and into absolutely beautiful countryside as you have shown.

    1. I have yet to visit West Point. They have a Christmas program and tour most years that always seems to fall at an inconvenient time. Of course this year there were no plans to interfere, but no programs either

  5. Pingback: Fort Montgomery State Historic Site | National Parks With T

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  7. Beautiful. I remember going there as a kid a couple of times. Enjoyed the history. After reading some comments had to go back and see what people were talking about. ๐Ÿ˜‰ All the best.

  8. Pingback: Bear Mountain Bridge | National Parks With T

  9. Pingback: Bear Mountain State Park โ€” National Parks With T – The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

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