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

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hiking
9 days ago

We hiked the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, so the sun would be behind us for the majority of the hike, and it was really nice. The water wasn't high, so the stream crossings weren't an issue for us. The first third of the trek was pretty easy, but then it increases in difficulty considerably, gaining the bulk of the 1700+ feet of elevation in just a mile and a half. I would consider it a moderate hike overall, but it was gorgeous in the snow, and makes any strain worth the effort. Once above 3500 feet, it became a winter wonderland. The forest and streams, not to mention the view, were beautiful.

Hiked from Rider Hollow parking area on October 21, did the loop clockwise with spur out over Haynes to Eagle Mtn. Just short of 10 miles total, about 5 hours. Started before 7 and was the first to sign into register that day, didn't see anyone til 3 hours later, and saw total of 6 other hikers so was a nice quiet morning.
Snow covering on top of both Balsam and Eagle, brought microspikes along for first time of the season but didn't need them that morning with barely any ice seen.
I didn't feel there was an issue whatsoever following the trail for the duration even with the leaves or snow, and even starting out in the predawn conditions. Descending from the 2 high peaks the mossy rocks were a bit slick. Creeks and streams were all flowing pretty good, the last stream crossing on my route (big one back down low by lean-to) was still low enough to stay dry with careful rock-hopping. Only views from the trail were on Balsams northern summit area.
Nice variety of scenery on this trail with the deciduous sections, short ledgey area, beautiful tight trail through some firs on top, valley trail down toward rider hollow.
Couldn't come across a reason to drop off a star from rating.

pros: a nice loop, beautiful views in most directions along the ridge, even can see the NYC skyline. lots of beautiful creeks and small waterfalls. leaves were still in full bloom. pretty easy hike in regards to physicality.

cons: much of the trail was also a creek, esp on the 1777W portion. nearly the entire time walking on some sort of rock, definitely high ankle boots recommended. this made it the most unpleasant. trail was OK in regards to marking but given the leaves on the ground definitely lost it a few times. our dog had 20+ ticks on her by the end of the day...

busy but so close to the city that it's worth the trade off.

Walking on rocks almost all the time. It was quiet though.

Did this hike on Oct. 24th and there was snow above 3100’. Really beautiful the entire way. Great transition from autumn colors down by the creek to snow up on the peak.

Also didn’t see anyone else the entire hike, so it’s a good trail for some solitude.

I just did the yellow to blue and then back from the summit. But I’ll agree with prior reviews that yellow to blue to red... aka clockwise is probably a good bet if the creeks are flowing high and fast.

It’s easy to get off trail with the leaves down/snow on the trail so be on the lookout for the markers.

hiking
3 months ago

Quiet trail compared to many in the area. No facilities (use Anthony Wayne area). Keep an eye on markers as easy to get sidetracked. Just after the half way point this trail continues onto an unmarked stoney road while the blue and red/white trails curve to the right. Not easy underfoot (ankle support suggested) and could be slippery when wet. Nice viewpoints from both sides of west mountain. Cool historic area in last two miles. Took 3 hrs with about 1.5 mile extra for missing turnings.

It is a beautiful trail, especially in autumn, the leaves are beautiful, agreed with others, 90% of the trail are exposed to the far mountain views and valley. It felt like walking on a ridge. There are some steep climbs up and down. I would not recommend to take this route in the raining day.

hiking
3 months ago

Very well marked trail. First mile is difficult, very steep, but after that it's quite easy. Just watch your footing. Lots of roots and muddy patches.

3 months ago

Beautiful view. Short trail but rather steep. Wear shoes with ankle support.

Came up from Mink Hollow in Elka Park. 7.3 miles but all 1,700 ft are gained in the first mile and a half. It was intense and tiring but the summit walk was a long break. Beautiful views from the two main ledges, and the ledge looking south is way bigger than expected

hiking
4 months ago

That first mile is very steep--and if you come back down the same way, the last mile is, too! Poles are a must here, and be prepared to do a light rock climb at 1.1 miles up. But if I could do it, so can you! The views at 1.1 miles are absolutely spectacular, so stay there for a bit and pack yourself on the back for making it up.

Nice hike. Took us four hours moving slowly. About like Giant Ledges in terrain. Great view spot at the top but for us it was a view of fog. It opened up enough to see it could be very nice. If you do the loop go clockwise, yellow-blue-red. The red trail hugs the creek and crosses several times. Better to get wet at the end.

Did my own route to Balsam and Eagle. Only one vista. It was def an easier high peak going up both mountains.

hiking
5 months ago

Tough hike but worth it! The first mile up the mountain is steep and takes a while to climb carefully but the view from the lookout points are amazing!

hiking
6 months ago

Quick hike, rocky. Went counterclockwise, poles for the descent are handy. Lovely view from top.

hiking
6 months ago

This hike was an assault on my knees and calves!! Had a great time and there were only a few people on the trail for a Saturday. Hiked in from Devil's Tombstone to the summit, which is marked only with a small cairn and a red disk, no view. Summit is around .5 miles from the junction with the blue blazed trail that comes up from Warner Creek. Beautiful view from the lookout 1.2 miles from Route 214.

Did this on Sunday in the rain. The incline in the first mile is as advertised. We had no view because of the weather.

hiking
8 months ago

The first 1.7 miles to the first overlook was where you gained all of your elevation and it was a little rough. Once on the overlook the 2 mile hike to the summit was practically flat and easygoing.

hiking
8 months ago

Super steep but the view from the top is amazing

backpacking
8 months ago

Excellent views. First half of trail is a steep ascent to a ridgeline hike and second half is very flat.

So many amazing views, very quiet trails -such a great hike!

Great forest at the top. Beautiful views from ledges. Windy! trek down was a knee buster but worth it.

hiking
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Great hike with great views. Lots of different trails, make sure you map out before you hit the trails if you're not familiar. We went with snow which added to the scenery!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Steep the first mile or so, then a ridge walk. Pretty vistas but the summit itself is treed in and marked with a small cairn and some jingle bells. Pay attention or you'll walk right past it.

hiking
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A great trail for spectacular views. Well, at least in my opinion. A mix of the 1777, the AT and the Time-Torne, the West Mountain loop has it all, and you’ll be delighted once you make it up towards the top.

hiking
Friday, October 27, 2017

Awesome view of Rt 28 winding through the valley. long and steep both up and down.

hiking
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hi everyone. I'm writing to ask if there is a trail in Bear Mountain which could accommodate a jogging stroller (used for a boy who's normally in a wheelchair, but uses this sturdy jogging stroller for off-roading). While this is not a regular street wheelchair, it can't go up a rock scramble. Tree roots, though, and some stairs are no problem.

Please let me know which, if any, of the Bear Mountain trails you think could be navigated by this stroller with an aggressive weekend dad behind it.

Thanks,

Neil Boyle

Monday, October 23, 2017

The view is worth the climb up

hiking
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Beautiful and nice views at the top, but really steep. Be careful on the way down!

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

Easily one of our favorites. Steep incline for the first mile but not hand over foot steep. Expected it to be worse than it was, I’d liken it to a staircase just without the stairs. The views are awesome from the two outlooks we saw. Didn’t make the actual summit because of plans to attend Oktoberfest at hunter mountain but after the first 1.2 miles or so it levels off and the rest of the hike to the summit seemed like a gradual, almost flat, climb through some beautiful forest. Planning to summit next time.

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