Hiking Bear Mountain NY

Bear Mountain State Park is another cool place with lots of history, including some of New York’s early ski history. But it also attracts so many people every summer weekend that the heavy traffic can make it difficult to get around northern Rockland County, much less take advantage of the hiking, paddling and swimming opportunities the park offers.

bear mountain trail building exhibit

It can be disheartening. It’s not just because the crowds and traffic make access difficult, but also the impact all those people have in terms of litter, erosion, noise pollution. The crowds at Harriman and Bear redefine the term “intensive use.” On a normal summer weekend, I definitely avoid Bear Mountain.

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Rondout Creek: Paddle Back in Time

One of the things I like about the Hudson Valley is that almost any place you go has hosted a semi-significant event or character from America’s history. On the 4th of July, I picked a body of water with a storied past to paddle: Rondout Creek.

kayak launch

We drove up the Thruway to exit 18, turned east to connect with route 9W and headed north into the town of Esopus. Getting off 9W, each turn leads to progressively narrower roads until you find the put-in, a narrow concrete boat ramp with an aluminum dock next to it.

I pulled up close to unload the kayaks, then tucked my truck between somebody’s boat trailer and the surrounding brush. Once our boats were situated, I pushed Junior out into the water, then launched myself.

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Hudson Highlands: Anthony’s Nose Hike

“What can be more imposing than the precipitous Highlands, whose dark foundations have been rent to make a passage for the mighty river?” — Thomas Cole, 1841


When driving east across the iconic Bear Mountain Bridge, a towering, rocky peak looms overhead on the eastern shore of the Hudson River. If you look closely, you can just make out the tan and gray rocky outcropping marked with an American flag often whipping in the wind. Dwarfed in its imposing shadow on a cool summer morning, one cannot help but feel the same sense of awe described by the famed Hudson River School artists and writers in the mid nineteenth century.

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