The Bear Mountain area of Upstate New York offers natural beauty and breathtaking mountain views.
An hour's drive from New York City, the rugged hills of Bear Mountain rise up from the Hudson River. Just next door is Harriman State Park. Together, the two state parks cover over 50,000 acres--about the size of Brooklyn. The area is a popular retreat from the city and surrounding suburbs, especially in the summer and autumn. Wooded hiking trails and river access for fishing and kayakers offer days of exploration. The Appalachian Trail leads up tough terrain to the Perkins Memorial Tower, with stunning views of the Hudson Valley. To the southwest, the Sterling State Forest has hunting grounds for those with a license. Bear Mountain State Park also has great family-friendly amenities, including a swimming pool and outdoor skating rink. The park's beloved merry-go-round features carved figures of local wildlife like skunks and bobcats. Tent camping can be found in two areas. In Harriman State Park, Beaver Pond Campground has campsites adjacent to Lake Welch, a popular sandy beach for swimming. Across the river, the Fahnestock State Park Campground has a slightly smaller selection of sites. Both camps have fire rings, picnic tables and bathrooms with showers, but also get crowded during the summer. Campers can trade those amenities for more solitude by seeking the primitive shelters and lean-tos in Harriman State Park. Check the park map for exact locations and arrive early--the shelters are first-come, first-served. If you'd rather just upgrade, cabins can be found in the Beaver Pond Campground, Sebago Cabin Camp and Baker Camp. RVs that want full hook-ups should look to private campgrounds in the surrounding area. If you don't mind going without electrical or sewage, Beaver Pond does have RV sites.