The Hudson Valley Places

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Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks

Sports and the Outdoors

Bear Mountain State Park. The mass of pinkish-gray granite known as Bear Mountain looms over this enormously popular 5,067-acre park, which hugs the Hudson River at the northern end of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The park's varied terrain affords hiking, road biking, and cross-country skiing; boat rentals and fishing are available on Hessian Lake, and small craft can moor at a dock on the river. Of the three picnic areas, the prettiest edges the lake. Open to the public are a swimming pool, an ice rink, a merry-go-round, a playground, and playing fields. To enter the park, take the Palisades Parkway to Exit 19 and follow signs. Parking fills up quickly on nice weekends, so plan accordingly. The parking fee is charged daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends only the rest of the year. Rte. 9W, Bear Mountain, NY, 10911. 845/786–2701. www.nysparks.com. Parking $6, museum and wildlife center $1, pool $2. Daily 8am–dusk.

The Trailside Museums & Wildlife Center consists of a nature trail with outdoor exhibits and animal enclosures, as well as four museum buildings with exhibits interpreting such themes as colonial and American Indian history, geology, and wildlife. Daily 10–4:30.

Harriman State Park. Miles of hiking trails and biking roadways link this park with contiguous Bear Mountain State Park, with which it is considered one unit of the Palisades Interstate Park system. Nearly 10 times as large as its neighbor, the park encompasses more than 46,000 acres in the Ramapo Mountains of the Hudson Highlands. Mostly vast, pristine wilderness in which are scattered 31 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, the park has several recreational areas, including three beaches (at Lakes Welch, Sebago, and Tiorati); two camping facilities; fishing areas; and cross-country skiing, hiking, and bridle trails. In a wooded valley the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area (Exit 17 off the Palisades Parkway) has picnic areas with fireplaces, playing fields, and access to hiking and skiing trails. The Silver Mine area (Exit 18 off the parkway) has lakeside picnic grounds and biking roads, as well as boat-launch sites and fishing. A visitor center, in the parkway median between Exits 16 and 17, sells trail maps and books. Palisades Pkwy. Exits 15–18, NY, 10911. 845/786–2701. www.nysparks.com. Parking $6 (beach parking $7). Daily 8am–dusk.

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