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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
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From the Bear Mountain Inn walk toward the lake on a paved pathway.
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Bear L @ first Y-junction.
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Turn L @ T-junction after a very short distance. Take your first right onto a connector trail.
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Turn L @ Hessian Lake sign that welcomes fishermen.
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Turn L before the boathouse then bear R immediately.
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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.
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Continue straight @ T-junction. Going L take hikers toward the road. Stay R and follow the lakeshore.
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Turn L off of Hessian Lake Loop. After about 10 yards turn R just before the bathroom pavilion.
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Turn L @ sign for Hudson River Dock. Walk down the steps and follow the new path under the road.
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Turn R @ T-junction and follow signs to the dock. The Trailside Museums and Zoo are to the left.
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Go straight @ three-way and head toward dock.
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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.
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Go straight @ Y-junction and continue toward the Bear Mountain Inn. The connector trail on the right takes hikers back to the lakeshore.
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Go L @ Y-junction. The inn is up ahead.
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Reach Bear Mountain Inn and the end of the hike.
Bear Mountain Inn
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Sign for Hessian Lake
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Large rock outcroppings
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Anthonys Nose and Bear Mountain Bridge peak through the trees
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View of western shore
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Bear Mountain Bridge from the descent to dock
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Fishermens lounge at Hudson River Dock
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Looking south from the dock
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