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Bear Mountain State Park: Family Outing

Bear Mountain State Park: Family Outing

Spring is here, and it’s time to get the family out of hibernation mode. Visit Bear Mountain State Park where there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy the warmer weather. Situated in Rockland County, the terrain is home to countless native animal and plant species, including the black bear—from which it gets its name. 


The historic Merry-Go-Round at Bear Mountain State Park features hand-painted park scenes and native animals. 

Year-Round Features

The Trailside Zoo at Bear Mountain is open year round and is home to four museums devoted to local geology, Native American and colonial history, nature studies, and herpetology, the study of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Visit during the winter for outdoor ice-skating and cross-country skiing, and during the summer months enjoy the swimming pool, biking and hiking trails, and boat rentals. The park even has segments of the Appalachian Trail.

The park is also the site of the Iona Island/Doodletown Bird Conservatory, one of the largest tidal wetlands in the Hudson River, and has a designated National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wildlife Habitat Area, and National Natural Landmark, home to more than 165 bird species, as well as many threatened local species, including the bald eagle. 

The Merry-Go-Round features hand-painted park scenes and hand-carved seats depicting native animals. The Perkis Memorial Tower sits on top of the mountain and features panoramic views of the park from April through late November. 

If you choose to stay overnight, the Bear Mountain Inn, the Overlook Lodge, and the Stone Cottages are all on-site.

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Bear Mountain Bridge, over the Hudson River, connects Rockland and Westchester counties. 

Annual Events

Kick off summer at the Summer Celebration on Saturday, June 25, with trailside animal and plant activities. During the Bird Festival on Aug. 6, visit with a bald eagle, owls, haws, and vultures of the Hudson Valley, while learning about migration and the birds of New York state.  

Celebrate autumn with Boo at the Zoo on Oct. 25, where you can touch real animal skulls and stuffed specimens in the Nature Study Museum. You’ll also learn about bats, owls, and vultures, and watch zookeepers let the bears loose to enjoy Halloween treats.

Bundle the family up to celebrate the winter Beary Merry Holiday season with the black bears on Dec. 17. 

lodge in the mountains

Bear Mountain Lodge was built in 1915.


Address: Palisades Parkway, Route 9W North, Bear Mountain 

Directions: Approximately a 1-hour drive from New City

Hours: 8am to sunset 

Admission Prices: $8 per vehicle, with additional charges for use of the pool and other amenities. 

For more information: Call 845-786-2701 or visit

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Catherine Patwell

Author: Catherine Patwell is a student of journalism and Italian at Hunter College. When not studying, she is running along the Hudson River, reading cookbooks, or plotting her next travel adventure. Catherine currently resides in Manhattan. See More

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