Bear Mountain (Hudson Highlands)
Bear Mountain from Long Mountain
|Elevation||1,284 ft (391 m)|
|Highlands, New York, U.S.|
|Topo map||Popolopen Lake|
Bear Mountain is one of the best-known peaks of New York's Hudson Highlands. Located mostly in Orange County's Town of Highlands, it lends its name to a nearby bridge and the state park that contains it.
Its summit, accessible by a paved road, has several roadside viewpoints, a picnic area and observatory, the Perkins Memorial Tower. It is crossed by several hiking trails as well, including the oldest section of the Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT across Bear Mountain is currently being rebuilt and realigned by the New York - New Jersey Trail Conference to minimize erosion and improve accessibility and sustainability.
The steep eastern face of the mountain overlooks the Hudson River. The eastern side of the mountain consists of a pile of massive boulders, often the size of houses, that culminate in a 50-foot (15 m) cliff face at approximately the 1,000-foot (300 m) level. A direct scramble from the shore of Hessian Lake to Perkins Memorial Drive on the summit requires a gain of about 1,000 feet (300 m) in roughly 0.8 miles (1.3 km) . From the summit, one can see as far as Manhattan Island, and High Point Monument in New Jersey.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralytic illness, developed in the summer of 1921, two weeks after he visited a Boy Scout camp at Hessian Lake on the eastern edge of Bear Mountain. It is possible the illness, whether polio or Guillain-Barré syndrome, was related to exposure at the camp.
Bear Mountain was once the premier ski jumping site in the United States. Because of its notoriety as a ski jumping location, Bear Mountain was considered as a possible site for the 1932 Winter Olympics, which were held in Lake Placid, New York. The ski jump run has not been used since 1990, and its stone steps built into the eastern side of the mountain are now crumbling.