New York City: Hessian Lake Loop - Hudson River Dock

Walk from the shores of Bear Mountain State Park's most popular lake to a Hudson River lookout on this 2-mile lollipop.
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Walk from the shores of Bear Mountain State Park's most popular lake to a Hudson River lookout on this 2-mile lollipop.

Along the eastern base of Bear Mountain (1,284 feet), Hessian Lake is a favorite destination for New Yorkers who need a weekend escape from city life. Buses run from Port Authority to the Bear Mountain Inn, a historic hotel at the south end of the lake. Resting on ridgeline to the north, the Overlook Lodge serves Sunday brunch. A zoo, with a museum, and a large, public pool are also on the grounds. This easy-going, two-mile lollipop tours the lakeshore then dips down to the Hudson River Dock for unmatched waterfront scenery.
From the Bear Mountain Inn, follow the multi-use path clockwise. The mile and a half around Hessian Lake is mostly flat and paved, making it accessible even for the elderly and handicapped. Boulder fields and massive crags peak through openings in the forested slopes of Bear Mountain.
After a tranquil stroll around the lake, walk down toward the Hudson River Dock. The dock, while not structurally impressive, affords spectacular views of the river, Hudson Highlands, and the Bear Mountain Bridge. Anthony's Nose looms across the water to the east. Fishermen rest on the dock, waiting for a catch. Kayakers and boaters are also common sights here.
When finished, retrace steps back to Hessian Lake and continue south toward the Bear Mountain Inn.
-mapped MacKenzie Ryan

Mass Transit: From New York City Port Authority Bus Terminal, take the Short Line Bus/Coach USA to the Bear Mountain Inn. Fee is $26.50 for adults, $13.35 for children.

From NYC: Take the George Washington Bridge to I-95 South. Get off at exit 74 to merge onto Palisades Interstate Parkway North. At 34.9 miles, continue onto US-6 East. At 2.4 miles, take the first exit off the traffic circle onto US Route 9W/US Route 202. Make a slight right at Seven Lakes Parkway. Bear Mountain Inn is on the right side of the road.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 3.6

Waypoints

HES001

Location: 41.3132939, -73.989484

From the Bear Mountain Inn walk toward the lake on a paved pathway.

HES002

Location: 41.313629, -73.989941

Bear L @ first Y-junction.

HES003

Location: 41.3136378, -73.990082

Turn L @ T-junction after a very short distance. Take your first right onto a connector trail.

HES004

Location: 41.31369, -73.990431

Turn L @ Hessian Lake sign that welcomes fishermen.

HES005

Location: 41.313101, -73.991927

Turn L before the boathouse then bear R immediately.

HES006

Location: 41.319713, -73.994732

Reach lookout with wooden benches that offer great views of the lake. Above the trail to the left is the Overlook Lodge, a restaurant that offers brunch on Sundays.

HES007

Location: 41.318367, -73.991791

Continue straight @ T-junction. Going L take hikers toward the road. Stay R and follow the lakeshore.

HES008

Location: 41.316315, -73.990271

Turn L off of Hessian Lake Loop. After about 10 yards turn R just before the bathroom pavilion.

HES009

Location: 41.3161288, -73.989883

Turn L @ sign for Hudson River Dock. Walk down the steps and follow the new path under the road.

HES010

Location: 41.316227, -73.988371

Turn R @ T-junction and follow signs to the dock. The Trailside Museums and Zoo are to the left.

HES011

Location: 41.31406, -73.985843

Go straight @ three-way and head toward dock.

HES012

Location: 41.314405, -73.985185

Reach Hudson River Dock. The bridge is to the left. Anthony's Nose is straight ahead across the river. When finished enjoying the view, retrace steps back to the trail around Hessian Lake and bear left.

HES013

Location: 41.314575, -73.989506

Go straight @ Y-junction and continue toward the Bear Mountain Inn. The connector trail on the right takes hikers back to the lakeshore.

HES014

Location: 41.313955, -73.989835

Go L @ Y-junction. The inn is up ahead.

HES015

Location: 41.313298, -73.989473

Reach Bear Mountain Inn and the end of the hike.

Bear Mountain Inn

Location: 41.3132898, -73.9894518

Sign for Hessian Lake

Location: 41.3135739, -73.9906669

The lake

Location: 41.3131871, -73.9911899

Large rock outcroppings

Location: 41.3156832, -73.9927241

Anthonys Nose and Bear Mountain Bridge peak through the trees

Location: 41.3172868, -73.9933088

Lookout benches

Location: 41.319688, -73.9946795

View of western shore

Location: 41.3170128, -73.9907527

Bear Mountain Bridge from the descent to dock

Location: 41.3138378, -73.9861608

Creekside flowers

Location: 41.313999, -73.9860106

Passing train

Location: 41.3139909, -73.9862117

Fishermens lounge at Hudson River Dock

Location: 41.314416, -73.9851281

Looking south from the dock

Location: 41.3143616, -73.9852193