Explore Sterling Harriman Bear Plans - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Sterling Harriman Bear Plans Map
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Definitely worth coming multiple times

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful views in the beginning, plain hike for the rest of the trail. In my opinion , the trail rated as "moderate" only due to elevation. Some areas didn't seem to be accessible by dogs. Overall nice cardio !

Moderate hike. Gorgeous views.

Beautiful hike!

A nice hike with a bit of a challenge but totally manageable for my 30 pound pup. I agree with others that this trail is more fun counter clockwise than clockwise. Some nice rock scrambles going that way which were fun to climb up but seemed like they’d be a challenge and unpleasant to go down. After reaching the tower, the trail is downhill and mostly stairs. I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars because it’s a bit crowded at the tower and on the second half, and it’s close to the roadway in parts (even requiring you to cross a road at one point). You should know there is a $10 parking fee. I’ve been to a bunch of Harriman trails, but this was my first time parking by Bear Mountain and it took me by surprise. I’d love to do this again and explore some of the secondary trails.

OK hike. Hard uphill to start. once you make to the blue trail, it becomes very easy. Saw kids on the hike. Views are very nice it and make the hike worth it.

Solid up. Go up near the lake it’s a better route up than down if you’re looping

Great trail with awesome views!
Challenging in the beginning going to the right of the loop, but nothing too crazy.
Lots of parents with kids, so you can do it!
Infinitely less crowded than Brackneck (at least the day I went), which is a plus

Think it's better to hike this in reverse from what is shown here - go up Major Welch and down the AT. I avoided doing this hike for a long time because it's not as fun to be on a peak that people can simply drive to. I shouldn't have waited so long. There are some great views going up Welch (back down to the Hudson and over to Popolopen Torne) as well as some mildly steep rock scrambling. The views from the top of Bear Mountain are pretty great looking south toward Dunderberg, the Timp and beyond. If you climb to the top of the Perkins Tower you can see out in all directions. I do wish people would be more considerate with litter. There were places on the AT that were strewn with garbage, and there was litter in several places at the peak, even though there were garbage cans nearby. Why? They are rerouting the AT from the top of Bear down through a new area that won't require you to walk along the road as much. The stretch of the AT is one of the nicer maintained trails I've seen - nice and wide with plenty of easy stone steps. That didn't keep some jackasses from trying to bushwhack downhill to avoid switchbacks. My only gripe with this hike: human beings.

Wow, moderate climbs with great views only an hour from NYC. We hiked clockwise on the loop...this is a great way to go, lots of great views off the Hudson River on the way to the high point of the trail. Sneakers or trail runners are suffice for this hike as they provide ample grip on the rocks. Well maintained trail with easy to follow blazes. Added bonus is you get a little time on the AT for my fellow hiking junkies. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake after your hike.

Great trail. Beautiful views. Very demanding going up...fallow red circle to the top.

Major Welch to Appalachian trail was great. Some steep inclines on the way up with beautiful views both ascending and descending. Tough in some spots but all in all a moderate trail. Bring a water bottle or 2! If you bring your drone like I did be prepared to be yelled at by the park ranger at the top by the memorial. Mid trail they won’t bother you.

We hiked up Major Welch (you have to walk along the lake for a bit until you see the sign on your left for MW- the trail sign is a white square with a red circle inside) & took the Appalachian trail (marked white) back down. I would say the trail is moderate! Start early to avoid the crowds. MW had a lot of rock scrambling and wasn’t an easy hike, the AT on the way down was basically taking stairs down. Took us about 3 hours to do the loop with 5 breaks!

the view at the top makes this a rewarding hike!! make sure you bring plenty of water cause 2 per person wasnt enough. lots of sweating, especially during the rock scramble.

A great trail that’s challenging on the north eastern end. If you’re bringing your dog, you may need to assist them along the path. Once you head down the path towards the AT it gets much easier. The trail becomes more professionally manicured for hiking. Would definitely hike it again.

Easy walk. Not even hiking really. Very pretty.

Great for half-day activity. Better to go up Major Welch and come down via AT. MW has more rocky sections, much easier for climbing, going up. Amazing views!

Not that hard. Family and pets friendly. Very nice.

never really hiked before. first time with some friends. had a blast. not super hard but some areas were challenging. great time overall. definitely need solid shoes with good traction if you take the Weltch trail to the Appalachian, to the Blue trail as your loop.

Great hike with great view points

trail running
1 month ago

Not great for trail running, because most of this is not runnable. That being said — great views, totally worth it.

adventurous and we found a great place to camp!

Great trail, a little too crowded in the summer weekends.

Great hiking trail with beautiful views. Be prepare to climb lots of stairs. We went up Major Welsh and came down it too.

We went up the Appalachian Trail first and though I'm not an avid hiker i was thinking, wow this is pretty easy - it's just a lot of stairs until the last part where it was more "nature-y" to the top. Views were great! Then we went down the Major Welch portion and i cursed the whole way down! Definitely lots of steep rocks and scrambling that I wasn't prepared for! But i did a lot of crab walking with my hands for balance and made it finally. I see a lot of people recommending going up MW and down AT and I'd recommend it if you're a less experienced hiker or have kids with you!

Amazing trail, lots of stairs so prepare!

Great trail, great views. We had perfect weather. Going up is work, over the rocks but totally worth it.

awesome trail..

Fantastic hike - no rock climbing experience or special gear required but the entire hike is a climb ranging from steep to moderate. The view at the top is fantastic and absolutely worth the hike! The kids loved scrambling up and down rocks. Almost the entire hike is in the shade so relatively cool and nice breeze at the top. About 4 miles round trip, took about 2 hours with a couple short stops. Trailhead is literally off the side of the road so follow directions and use the facilities before you get there! No restroom or facilities at or near the hike.

We started on Anthony's Nose entrance as marked on this map, and the view from Anthony's Nose was pretty nice. However, it came relatively early in the trail. The rest of the trail was not as exciting. The trail itself is pretty challenging though. I would recommend starting at Camp Smith and finishing at Anthony's Nose rather than what's described here.

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