We'll take the Short Line bus to Bear Mountain, and walk about 4 miles on the Appalachian Trail trail up and down the mountain and another 2 or 3 miles walking across the Bear Mountain Bridge and through the zoo.
The Appalachian Trail on Bear Mountain climbs over 1,000 feet and features 870 steps; it does get steep at times and it does get narrow at times. The hike will be about two miles each way.
Bring lunch, we will eat on top of the mountain and there is no food there.
1. Buy a round trip ticket to Bear Mountain at the Shortline ticket window, second floor of the south wing of the Port Authority bus terminal. The bus leaves at 8:45, the ticket lines are slow and may be long, try to arrive at the ticket window by 8:00. The bus will leave from the fourth floor, gates 401-409. Ask the ticket seller for the gate number; on the fourth floor also look for the expediter; if one bus gets full, he will switch the line to another bus at another gate. Don't worry which Bear Mountain bus you are on, just make sure it's a bus to Bear Mountain.
2. When we get off the bus, we'll go inside the Bear Mountain Inn for the cafe, restrooms and water fountain. If we are on two buses, we'll wait and all meet up by the doors on the north east corner of the inn, on the right side as you face the inn from the road.
3. Then we'll walk up the Appalachian Trail to the top of Bear Mountain. We'll actually start by walking up the Sufferen-Bear Mountain trail, which has a yellow blaze, then quickly switch to the Appalachian Trail, which has a white blaze.
4. Keep following the white blazes up the mountain, you will cross the scenic drive three times on the way and end up at the overlook just south of the Perkins Memorial Tower, a 4-story observatory with historical exhibits and awesome views all the way to Manhattan. The top of the mountain is 1283 feet above sea level.
5. We will eat lunch on top of the mountain, where there is no food, except maybe a couple of vending machines. The restroom at the top of the mountain is closed for renovations, leaving only portable johns and no running water.
6. After lunch, back down the Appalachian Trail. Follow the white blazes, cross the scenic drive three times, toward the bottom take a right on to the yellow trail (it's easier and shorter) and head back to the inn.
7. Then we'll take another rest stop at the inn for the cafe, restrooms and water fountains. We'll meet up outside the doorway by the cafe, the same doorway where we started the hike.
8. Next, through the tunnel under Route 9 to the zoo, a walk through the zoo to a river overlook, across to the east side of the Bear Mountain Bridge and back, then walk back through the zoo and the tunnel to the inn. The zoo requests a $1.00 donation.
Feel free to wander around on your own at any time, but make sure to get the 5:15 bus. There is also a 3:15 bus back to the city if you want to leave early. The buses back to the city stop at the same place we get dropped off, in front of the small lawn with the flag pole on the east side of the inn.
Here is a map of Bear Mountain: Bear Mountain map ( http://nysparks.com/parks/attachments/BearMountainTrailMap.pdf )
Here's a satellite view, the top of the mountain is inside the looped roadway: Bear Mountain satellite ( https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bear+Mountain+Innemail@example.com,-73.993809,7452a,20y,227.54h/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xde6bbdcc1399b429!8m2!3d41.3118879!4d-73.9886961 )
Here's another satellite view, showing the bridge: Bear Mountain and bridge ( https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bear+Mountain+Innfirstname.lastname@example.org,-73.9735421,15214a,20y,227.54h/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xde6bbdcc1399b429!8m2!3d41.3118879!4d-73.9886961 )
Here are nice photos of a hike up Bear Mountain (but on a different trail than we will take): Bear Mountain hike ( http://www.nycdayhiking.com/hikes/bearmtn.htm )
Meet: 8:00 a.m. at the Short Line ticket windows on the second floor of the south side of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Return to Manhattan by the 5:15 Short Line bus, arriving back at the bus terminal at 7:00. Round trip is $27.80. Here is a link to the bus info.: Bear Mountain Bus ( https://www.coachusa.com/shortline/booking.asp?action=ProductDetail&TRP=1&productId=1983 )
Leader: Tom Bergen 917-727-5507