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Bear Mountain: NYC’s Urban Antidote

Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park is only an hour from Manhattan, but you'll feel like you're worlds away.

QUICK TAKE: Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park, New York

DRIVE TIME: The park is about 35 miles (1 hour) north of New York City.

THE WAY: From New York City, take the New York State Thruway (I-87) north to exit 13 N (Palisades Interstate Parkway North). Park access is from exits 15 through 19. The park visitor center is between exits 16 and 17 in the center island. City dwellers can take PATH to Hoboken where they can pick up the Port Jervis line to Tuxedo Station, then walk into the park. Call (212) 532-4900 for the schedule.

TRAILS: Forty-three marked trails cover 225 miles. Another 103 miles of trail are unmarked. The Appalachian Trail traverses the park for 20 miles.

ELEVATION: Nearly sea level at the Hudson River to 1,305 feet atop Bear Mountain.

CAN’T MISS: The Hogencamp Mine, one of roughly 20 abandoned iron mines dotting the park, can be reached via the Dunning Trail.

CROWD CONTROL: Crowds swarm certain areas of the park on summer and fall weekends. Visit off-season or midweek, or try a remote area of the park.

PIT STOP: The Orange Top in Tuxedo, serving Italian-American food, is a hiker’s favorite. It’s located on NY 17, less than 5 miles west of the park on the left.

WALK SOFTLY: Camping is allowed only in shelters. Shelters closest to the park roads go quickly. Hikers are asked to share space (shelters sleep six to eight).

MAP AND GUIDES: The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference sells a two-map set of the park ($6.95, plus 95 cents postage and handling), and Harriman Trails: A Guide and History, by William J. Myles ($14.95 plus $1.95 postage and handling). Both are available at the address below or at the visitor center. New York residents must add sales tax.

MORE INFORMATION: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, 232 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-9699; http://www.NYNJTC.ORG.

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