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One Tank Trip: Bear Mountain State Park

September 1, 2014 10:00 AM

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(credit: Bear Mountain State Park)

(credit: Bear Mountain State Park)

Bear Mountain State Park is an easy-to-access and quick getaway from the city grind. Featuring easy-to-traverse trails and a wide variety of sports activities, the Park is one of New York’s most family-friendly destinations. Don’t forget your oldsters. The Park’s gentle terrain and lovely picnic areas provide the perfect backdrop for extended family get-togethers.

Getting There

Take the upper level of the George Washington Bridge to the first right, onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway North. Get off at exit 19 (Bear Mountain State Park) and take Seven Lakes Drive to Bear Mountain Circle.

Price:Vehicle use fees vary by season. A full listing of fees and rates can be found here.

What To Do

Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park (Credit: CBS 2)

Bear Mountain State Park
3006 Seven Lakes Drive
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
(845) 786-2701
www.nysparks.com

Birding – Visitors can enjoy birding through the tidal wetlands of the Iona Island-Doodletown bird conservation area. Ranging from freshwater to brackish, the 270-acre tidal wetland is home to a wide variety of over 165 species of forest-nesting birds, including many on the endangered list. Keep your eyes open for bald eagle, golden-winged warblers, osprey and other shorebirds and waterfowl. The wetlands are also a fish spawning and nursery area.

Playing – From biking to boating, there is something for everyone here. Hiking trails range from gentle to near-challenging and the multitude of playgrounds and nature trails will thrill (and wear out) even the most rambunctious energy ball. A massive swimming pool and stocked fishing grounds round out the outdoorsy picture.

(credit: Trailside Zoo and Museums)

(credit: Trailside Zoo and Museums)

Trailside Museums and Zoo
Seven Lakes Parkway, off of Route 9W
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
(845) 786-2701
www.trailsidezoo.org

Located within Bear Mountain State Park, the Trailside Museums and Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with New York State’s indigenous animals as well as its history. Every mammal, bird, amphibian or reptile living in the Zoo is either orphaned or injured and would not be able to live in the wild on their own. Exhibits focus on local habitats, geology and ecological biodiversity through family-friendly events like the Endangered Species Parade and rotating exhibits.

The four trailside museums are right nearby. Spend time at your favorite or browse all four and learn something new.

  • Herpetology House – A shrine for the slimy, this is the place to see toads, turtles, salamanders and snakes.
  • Nature Study Museum – You can learn about animal identification here, where specimens have been collected throughout the Hudson Highlands.
  • Geology Museum – Learn about this diverse region’s unique natural resources and ecological history.
  • History Museum – The History Museum tells the story of the earliest Native Americans through to the Europeans and their descendants.

Dining

(credit: Restaurant 1915)

(credit: Restaurant 1915)

Restaurant 1915 and Blue Roof Tapas Bar
Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge in Bear Mountain State Park
3020 Seven Lakes Drive
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
(845) 786-2731
www.visitbearmountain.com

Featuring full panoramic views of the Park and a massive, warming fireplace, Restaurant 1915 is the home of eclectic, global cuisine. Specialties range from Prince Edward Island Mussels to 16-ounce, cowboy ribeye steak.

(credit: Barnstormer's Barbecue)

(credit: Barnstormer’s Barbecue)

Barnstormer Barbeque
1076 Route 9W
Ft. Montgomery, NY 10922
(845) 446-0912
www.barnstormerbbq.com

Possibly the best barbecue in upstate New York and only six minutes from the Park, Barnstormer features massive, fist-sized wings, died-and-went-to-heaven cornbread and secret recipe sweet potato fries. Don’t miss the Carolina dry-style ribs.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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