Page Contributor(s): The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) 2nd Ed.; Ties Arts, Bussum, Netherlands
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Cycling Bear Mountain, New York
Ride 4.5 miles, 1,230’ at 5.2%
Bear Mountain Bridge, as seen from Perkins Memorial Drive mountain summit.
Bear Mountain is in the Catskill subrange of the Appalachians Mountain Range. The climb begins by riding up Seven Lakes Drive from its intersection with Route 202. At mile 2.2 we veer right onto Perkins Memorial Drive for the last half of the climb. Perkins Memorial Drive is a scenic ride to the summit of Bear Mountain, which, along with the Perkins Memorial Tower, was constructed between 1932-1934.
Before heading out to climb Bear Mountain, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
Photos clockwise from top left: Perkins Memorial at top of climb; view west from mile 3.2;
Bear Mountain Bridge; bench at the summit, and climb’s start (center photo).
This glorious bike climb is located in Bear Mountain State Park, New York (5,205 acres, est. 1913), on the west side of the Hudson River and offers exceptional views of the Hudson Highlands. Bear Mountain is one of New York’s best-known peaks, and in addition to being a cyclist attraction, the mountain is also a popular area for hikers. The oldest section of the Appalachian Trail is on Bear Mountain (Bear Mountain). The park has plenty to do for those less interested in cycling and hiking as well, including: “a large play field, shaded picnic groves, lake and river fishing access, a swimming pool, Trailside Museums and Zoo, cross-country ski trails,” a Merry-Go-Round featuring hand carved native animals, and even an outdoor ice rink (open from late October through mid-March). The Perkins Memorial Tower (open from April through late November) sits atop the mountain and gives visitors incredible views of not only Bear Mountain State Park, but also the adjacent Harriman State Park and Hudson Highlands (Bear Mountain SP).
First 6/10ths of a mile of the climb to the lower State Park parking lot.
The grade for the entire climb is generally a consistent 4-7%, with the steepest quarter-mile beginning at mile 2.8 (8.3%).
Second segment: lower parking lot to Perkins Memorial Drive (mile 2.4 to the finish at mile 4.5).
“The biggest climb in the New York City area and one of the most popular in the state, Bear Mountain carries a solid grade up to very good views of the Hudson River valley. The route begins over moderate grade as you enter woods. Just over one half mile in, you encounter a traffic circle where the grade eases. Quickly a switchback to the left introduces more stout slope. Soon the route becomes stair step and views appear to your left. At mile 2.4, bear to the right to continue uphill over more solid grade. After a mile within the trees, views appear again to the left. Towards the top the road heads inland and the climb ends at a parking area at the very top of the mountain with long views.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 151.)
BEAR MOUNTAIN SUMMIT
The summit of Bear Mountain is accessible by a paved road, has several roadside viewpoints, a picnic area, and an observatory at the Perkins Memorial Tower.
Perkins Memorial Tower: Named for George Perkins, founder of Palisades Interstate Park Commision.
Tower served as a fire tower from 1934 to 1950’s.
Amazing views of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain Bridge, and . . .
on an exceptionally clear day . . .
New York City can be seen in the distance!
BEAR MOUNTAIN IN THE FALL
First half of the climb -- to Perkins Memorial Drive.
Second half of the climb -- Perkins Memorial Drive to the top.
GRAN FONDO NEW YORK
Summary of ride from Ties Arts of the Netherlands, from his 2017 US climb trip:
The climb is not steep, but neither is it easy, with a 5%+ average grade. It has magnificent views over the Hudson River and Highlands.
The is a unique climb in the Hudson Highlands of New York State. It is a climb included in the popular annual Gran Fondo New York. On the top near the Perkins Memorial Tower there is a food/drink opportunity during the Gran Fondo. It is an amazing view on top of Bear Mountain, especially when all the riders are wearing the same green Gran Fondo jersey.
BEAR MOUNTAIN BRIDGE
Views of Bear Mountain Bridge from Bear Mountain Summit, the bridge itself and
Anthony’s Nose (across the river from Bear Mountain, middle two photos).
Left Photo: View Northeast from mile 4;
Right Photo: Drone image of Perkins Memorial Tower and Hudson River.
That’s a wrap!