Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
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.
- Distance: 3.6
Location: 41.3132939, -73.989484
From the Bear Mountain Inn walk toward the lake on a paved pathway.
Location: 41.313629, -73.989941
Bear L @ first Y-junction.
Location: 41.3136378, -73.990082
Turn L @ T-junction after a very short distance. Take your first right onto a connector trail.
Location: 41.31369, -73.990431
Turn L @ Hessian Lake sign that welcomes fishermen.
Location: 41.313101, -73.991927
Turn L before the boathouse then bear R immediately.
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.
Location: 41.318367, -73.991791
Continue straight @ T-junction. Going L take hikers toward the road. Stay R and follow the lakeshore.
Location: 41.316315, -73.990271
Turn L off of Hessian Lake Loop. After about 10 yards turn R just before the bathroom pavilion.
Location: 41.3161288, -73.989883
Turn L @ sign for Hudson River Dock. Walk down the steps and follow the new path under the road.
Location: 41.316227, -73.988371
Turn R @ T-junction and follow signs to the dock. The Trailside Museums and Zoo are to the left.
Location: 41.31406, -73.985843
Go straight @ three-way and head toward dock.
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.
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.
Location: 41.313955, -73.989835
Go L @ Y-junction. The inn is up ahead.
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
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
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
Location: 41.313999, -73.9860106
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