Location: Bear Mountain
Distance: 1.5 miles, option for more
Skill Level: easy
Elevation Gain: minimal
Type of Hike: partial loop
Trail Condition: paved road
Wow Factor: the bears
Note: paid parking seasonally
How to get there: From their website: Main Entrance to Bear Mountain State Park is on Seven Lakes Drive, off of Route 9W and a short distance south of the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. The entrance is next to Bear Mountain Inn, 98 Hessian Lake Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 10911.
Try to park in the lot closest to Bear Mountain Inn
Summary: From where you parked, head toward the Bear Mountain Inn. Follow the sidewalk in front to the right of the Inn (facing it). Swing right and follow the sidewalk in the middle (not directly next to the lake).
In a few minutes you’ll see a sign for the Pool and Zoo heading down the steps and ramps. Follow as the path takes you under the road and past the pool (probably pretty crowded in this spot during summer).
Head up the hill and the zoo is on the left. They ask for a $1 donation per person to help care for the animals who cannot be released.
Follow the road past Walt Witman and you’ll soon see your first animals. This is where babywearing is the best because the railing was in the way when we used a stroller.
Keep heading up the lollipop trail at your leisure. Check out the side trails for some views or historical information.
When you get to the restrooms, if you’re feeling daring, walk up beside the office and turn right onto the Bear Mountain Bridge. You can walk the entire length to add a little to your hike and have an awesome view of the Hudson.
Keep going on the loop until you come to the road that led you in. Head back to the pool, underpass, steps, lake, and inn.
If you keep heading right around the lake as you pass the Inn, you will come to a playground. There is a huge field beside the Inn for picnicking and a carousel and ice rink opposite.
Facilities: bathrooms, concessions, gift shop