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Bear Mountain is beautiful. This was an absolutely awesome day trip. We had a lot of fun and the views at the top were amazing, the weather was also perfect which made it even more beautiful. Our dog had such a good time too, love seeing him so happy out in the wilderness.

Nice views, but insanely crowded. There are nicer hikes in the area in places like Storm King State Park.

We did this trail on the weekend as part of the Catskill Firetower Challenge. The actual out and back (you don’t have to do the loop) is more like 7 miles. It’s a steady rise for the first part up a road/horse path, then pitches a little steeper for the second half. The trail is o good shape, no great views though. We got to the summit and were greeted with a blizzard white out, so now views from the tower. I’d suggest that if you’re not up for the 2000 ft in 2 miles elevation of the other trail, this is a great option.

hiking
5 days ago

A bit challenging for kids and beginners but really a nice trail for the family. We started along the green blazed long path and both kids (2 and 4 yo) did the first mile on their two feet. That took about 2 hours, so then the little one went up in the carrier and we continued on to the yellow then white with red triangle trails to complete the approx 3 mile loop. The 4 year old did the whole thing with a couple tough spots but she loved it. It took us a little less than 4 hours. We only stopped a few minutes here and there for water or a quick lunch. A couple relatively challenging stream crossings (for little legs) and a nice spot where the yellow meets the white/red triangle trails with some little waterfalls. I am glad we did it clockwise- the more challenging and rockier parts seemed to be in the first mile and on fresh legs. The yellow trail is wider and white with red triangle more rolling hills. All made for a really nice day hike from Long Island.

Really enjoyed this hike. Well marked and offered a variety of easy to moderate hiking. Views are amazing

Did this one today from the Spruceton Road Trailhead. This route is 7 miles round trip with 2000 + feet of elevation. The summit was in blizzard like conditions, but I never needed microspikes, although I had them. No views due to snow squall, but a great hike nonetheless.

hiking
9 days ago

Did the actual 3.9 bear mtn loop. What....a....climb...i did the loop counter clockwise starting off with the rock/trail climb. It was pretty tough the leaves and ground were still slippery from the rain that had fallen the day/night before and it got very steep at times. As soon as i hit memorial drive from the path i thought it was over then i saw a nice stair trail on the other side of the road leading up towards the tower. Beautiful views and the trail coming down was very pleasant and easy. ( thats if you do the loops counter clockwise but honestly both ways are a killer lol) GREAT hike.

Hi Hikers,

We are wandering if this loop is doable in winter ? We'll be in NYC next January and would like to have a break in the nature.

Do you think is possible ? Did someone already experiment this ?

Thank you so much for your advice !

Morgane

hiking
10 days ago

Great Time with the girls hiking at Bear Mountain the pass Sunday. This hike is challenging, pretty steep in the beginning super intense incline about 30 mins worth all the rocks. Stuffed from severe cramps it’s all worth to see the Beautiful View on the top. ⛰ We did counter clockwise. Easier to incline and take the stairs back down. I would say this Trail is little harder than Modern.

this is a ez and beautiful hike!

Did the trail counterclockwise- up the rocks and down the stairs. Not very long but challenging. The elevation changes sharply - pretty steep most of the way (check the topography map). Beautiful view at top. Started getting crowded on the way down. Definitely not a remote hiking spot especially on weekends in the summer. Come early if you want to avoid crowds. I suggest hiking sticks, especially on way down.

Can be very muddy and slippery if there has been rain recently. Otherwise quite pleasant and accurately described.

hiking
14 days ago

It’s a pretty hike though interesting when it became part of a photo shoot.

I was so impressed by how well-maintained the trail is! The stairs and bridge made the trail feel very safe despite being on a pretty steep incline. Even though it was a short distance, the rocks to climb and bigger switchback near the topmost tier of the falls made me feel like I was still getting a great hike in.

I could see it getting very busy during the afternoon (and was told so by someone I bumped into on my way down), but getting there around 8 am allowed me to park in the first lot with easy access to the trailhead and have the trail nearly entirely to myself - including the upper observation deck, on which I got to look at the falls by myself for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous view and was a perfect fall hike.

This hike is challenging but doable. First, when going up you should go counter clockwise. We did and watching people slide down the rocks on their behinds just looked painful. Plus the hike is more rewarding going up on that side. Second, make sure you wear good gripping hiking boots. The trail is wet and there are some serious rocks you need to grip to. Third, stretch and make sure your ankles are in good shape. Lots of places to twist your ankle.
I’m not sure what this map was showing but you take the trail up to the tower then you go down on the appalachian trail (all steps btw) and it’s heavily trafficked. We parked next to the bear mountain inn that way we could use the bathroom before heading out.
Downsides: People at the top near the tower can be obnoxious. Loud music, people sitting on the trail, lots of motorcycles revving their engines, there was a guy flying a drone at eye level at the vista. You can hear cars, chainsaws, motorcycles and people on most of this trail. It’s also slammed with people on the weekends. So go early and during the week.

hiking
19 days ago

Easy trail in summer and early fall. Watch out for slick rocks during rain and especially ice patches in the winter. The amphitheater midway through the larger falls is just incredible. Several people die here each year, so be careful. It helps to take a single trekking pole for balance and insurance. I did and I’m glad I did. Have fun! This place is breathtaking in October.

Amazing view from top

Love it a bit scary for my first experience but definitely will do it again.

Hiked the Escarpment Trail counterclockwise. Walked down the little detour to the Kaaterskill Falls and made a loop behind the upper falls. This is not to be missed as the falls are in a spectacular setting and if you're careful and have good boots, you can carefully walk behind the falls and make a loop around the upper basin, explicit warnings of "deaths have occurred in this area" in mind.
I then continued on the Escarpment Trail to Layman's Monument, Inspiration Point, Boulder Rock, and the site of the Catskill Mountain House (CMH).
Note that the Alltrails map shows a trail that is supposed to run parallel to South Lake Road, beginning a bit south of the CMH. However, I could not find the first section, even after verifying the GPS location. So I hiked back to Boulder Rock and found the trail, but there are no trail markers and it turned out to be a rather wild trail that seems barely used and is not maintained. The GPS was really needed in this section, as I lost the barely visible trail multiple times. There were multiple fallen trees, mossy and hollow ground, and an overall feeling of being in the middle of the wild, which is very nice if you're into that. I eventually came out onto South Lake road and made a left on the South Lake Access Rd which brought me back to the Escarpment Trail.
The entire hike with these extensions was 8 miles, but next time I'll probably stick to the original loop, just adding the Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform and a hike down to the basins.

The photos that people are posting of the lake are false. That is a different hike in Keene, NY. Don't let them mislead you.

Just completed this trail earlier today. A great work out. Very lengthy up hill to start the trail in a counter clockwise direction. Pretty muddy at times, which is expected with the traffic and recent constant rain. Sudden 20 degree drop in temperature, sleet and severely windy as we reached the fire tower. Pleasant and appreciated descending trail back to spruceton road... Would definitely recommend for those looking for a workout. If you are solely looking for scenary, this trail may not be for you.

Extremely rocky and muddy but I had on good hiking boots. I could not believe what I saw some people wearing on their feet. I don’t suggest doing this trail without hiking boots. The trail itself was pretty nice but the view from the point was spectacular! Definitely worth the hike.

The falls itself is beautiful when viewed from either the upper viewing deck or from below. A strong word of caution is that in wet weather the trail down to the falls becomes very wet and extremely slippery. The trail itself is narrow and borders a sharp cliff before transforming into the rock steps that guides hikers to the falls themselves. People are frequently injured on this descent and I would advise groups to take their time be careful with children and be mindful of the weather to ensure all can have a safe fun time enjoying the beautiful scenery.

I am extremely disappointed in how visitors of the Catskills behave when they’re at the falls. Whether it’s the lower or upper falls trail, people always seem to be making it a mess for everyone else. People parking and standing in the middle of the road, standing in the middle of the road to direct traffic while they back their cars right up to the falls, parking all over the side of the mountain road (at least they get ticketed), going way too close to the cliff edges, swimming in the water right before the waterfall...I can’t believe it. People act out of line at the falls and it’s unsafe for them as well as the people who are just driving up the road. The falls is one of the most beautiful places in the Catskills but skip it if you’re not in the mood to deal with disrespectful visitors. If people don’t shape up, they’ll ruin it for everyone and the falls will be closed. Hopefully a shuttle system from Palenville or Haines Falls will fix this. But for now, visit any of the less crowded waterfalls near by.

10/19/2018. 2 of us with a combined age of 134 did this in 4:30. I don’t think this is a hard hike as there was no scrambling. Yes to being a long trek and a good amount of ascent/descent. We wished we’d done the hike counter-clockwise as that way you’re descending without loose rocks and wet, slippery conditions. Tower views.

27 days ago

Good hike and lots of fun rock scrambles but only call out is that a portion of the trail was under construction so you have to walk along a road for a bit. Also there are a couple roads mid-trail so if you have a dog, be careful they don’t run out onto a busy road. The trail got very crowded after 11am so if you want to avoid crowds, I recommend starting early.

Lots of stairs and people, up hill can be a loooooong journey. One way up and down. Great views and it was quite pretty, not for beginners—lots of great picnic spots! Beautiful vistas of the lower of the lower Hudson valley.

Awesome fall colors illuminated the forests leading to Kaaterskill falls. A little steep at times and leaves make for slightly slippery terrian. but overall fantastic hike.

Hiked October 13, 2018. Rained the night before, so it was very muddy - not much drainage to speak of. Some mild scrambling, nothing to be afraid of. Some views towards the top. Leaves were out in force, which made it worth it. Be advised that the peak is wooded and unmarked. Made that mistake the first time I did this hike - you’ll have no idea you’re at the top until you start going down again. Pretty slippery on the way down, but we took our time. We did this in just over 5 hours with plenty of breaks. Would rate this as moderate.

amazing views, great hike rock scramble was fun. Get their early or you will park 3 miles down the road.

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