Bear Mountain and a ghost ski jump

Bear Mountain Travel Blog

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Ascending over the steep stone slabs

If there is one peak near New York City that I have visited often it must be Bear Mountain. I first visited the little giant in August 2008 (see here). Many visits with many guests followed. Bear Mountain has several interesting features. First of all it has a spectacular drive way to the top. So, it is easy to quickly visit the mountain. It has great views on the Hudson Valley as well as on New York City, it has a panorama tower, etc. 

With an elevation of 391.6 meters (1285 ft) the mountain is not really that big, but since the hills and mountains around Bear Mountain are smaller it still looks really impressive. Besides that the "feet" of the mountain emerge from the Hudson River at almost sea level. Finally the mountain has really steep parts that make it a tough hike.

Top of the mountain, completely deserted
That's why I called it the Little Giant.

After countless trips with the car I decided to finally ascend the mountain on my own strength. I parked the Mazda on the East side of the Hudson and added the magnificent Bear Mountain Bridge to my hike. I started at Bear Mountain state Park at the Hessian Lake. Hessian Lake, formerly know as Highland Lake, also called "Bloody Lake" after the huge amount of dead bodies that were dumped in it during the heavy slaughter battles between the English and Americans that took place here. This site had almost been the site of the Sing Sing Prison. Fortunately the construction was canceled after Mrs. Averell Harriman, donated some land to the park under the conditions that the prison would not be built here.

Standing on the highest point of the ski jump

The trail started rising almost immediately, first moderately, but later really impressively steep with 260 meters in one kilometer. The track led over forest floor and huge slabs of stone opening a view that became more beautiful every climbed meter. Some patches of snow were still visible.

At the top of the mountain I prepared for seeing huge crowds of tourists, like there usually are. But, I was the only person on the top. It was still winter season, so the Scenic Drive was closed for cars. Really weird, like walking on Times Square with no other persons around.

The trail was a loop trail so my descend led over a different route, a part of the Appalachian Trail. A very civilized piece of this famous trail. This is probably the trail that the majority of the visitors take. It was provided with stairs, bridges and other customer friendly facilities. Fortunately the scenery was still beautiful, otherwise it would have been dull.

At the end of the descent I passed another artifact for my collection of abandoned items, a ghost ski jump (!).

The ski jump in its glorious years (photo: www.skisprungschanzen.com)
The trail does not even pass by the site I had to climb there. The Bear Mountain Ski Jump used to be THE ski jumping site for the USA. The jump was constructed in 1928 and was even considered for the 1932 Olympic Winter Games (finally held in Lake Placid NY). In 1960 the "Doerr Memorial Cup" drew more than 10.000 spectators! It was last used in 1990. And now, after 11 years it is slowly decaying. The Top part of the jump (approximately 30 meters high), is best recognizable. The 33 meter high landing hill is almost completely reclaimed by nature. The viewing tower is falling apart. See also the nice historical pictures below. And a few beterr ones on these sites: here, here, and here.

Unfortunately the Bear Mountain Zoo was already closed, so I strolled back along the (still closed) Bear Mountain Inn and Hessian Lake. The bridge brought me back to the Mazda

More photos below!

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Ascending over the steep stone sla…
Ascending over the steep stone sl…
Top of the mountain, completely de…
Top of the mountain, completely d…
Standing on the highest point of t…
Standing on the highest point of …
The ski jump in its glorious years…
The ski jump in its glorious year…
Panoramic view from the Bear Mount…
Panoramic view from the Bear Moun…
Panoramic view from the Bear Mount…
Panoramic view from the Bear Moun…
Chrystal clear Hessian Lake
Chrystal clear Hessian Lake
Ascending over the steep stone sla…
Ascending over the steep stone sl…
Ascending over the steep stone sla…
Ascending over the steep stone sl…
Ascending over the steep stone sla…
Ascending over the steep stone sl…
View on Bear Mountain Bridge
View on Bear Mountain Bridge
View on roundabout near Bear Mount…
View on roundabout near Bear Moun…
Panoramic view from Bear Mountain
Panoramic view from Bear Mountain
Suddenly, crossing the Perkins Mem…
Suddenly, crossing the Perkins Me…
Icicles near the Perkins Memorial …
Icicles near the Perkins Memorial…
Perkins Memorial Tower on top of t…
Perkins Memorial Tower on top of …
Top of the mountain
Top of the mountain
The Perkins Memorial Drive
The Perkins Memorial Drive
Bear Mountain Bridge
Bear Mountain Bridge
Steep hillsides
Steep hillsides
The end of the ski jump
The end of the ski jump
The landing hill of the ski jump
The landing hill of the ski jump
What a shame!!! Bear Mountain Inn …
What a shame!!! Bear Mountain Inn…
Hessian Lake
Hessian Lake
Funny barbecues at Hessian Lake
Funny barbecues at Hessian Lake
Funny barbecues at Hessian Lake
Funny barbecues at Hessian Lake
View from Bear Mountain Bridge
View from Bear Mountain Bridge
Bear Mountain Bridge
Bear Mountain Bridge
View from Bear Mountain Bridge
View from Bear Mountain Bridge
The ski jump in its glorious years…
The ski jump in its glorious year…
Height profile from my GPS
Height profile from my GPS
Bear Mountain
photo by: mdalamers