Trailside Zoo

Location: Southeast New York
Trip Starts: Bear Mountain State Park
Trip Ends: Bear Mountain State Park
Total Distance: 2.3 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Trails Used: Appalachian Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Day HIke
More Information:

Bear Mountain State Park
Palisades Parkway
(Route 9W North)
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
(845) 786-2701


Bear Mountain State Park is located in a valley between mountains overlooking the Hudson River. The park has a lodge, lake, swimming pool, and Trailside Museum and Zoo and numerous hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails.  There are over 50 official trails covering 235 miles in the Park. The first section of the Appalachian Trail running from Bear Mountain south to the Delaware Water Gap opened here on October 7, 1923 and served as a pattern for the development of other sections of the Trail.

On this hike, I started near the Bear Mountain Inn and walked the Appalachian Trail through the park and through the Trailside Zoo. The Appalachian Trail passes through the Zoo which is the lowest elevation on the entire ~2,200-mile trail. There are outstanding views down to the Hudson River in this area and also from the nearby bridge. There are also some interesting historical areas of 1770’s era forts that were established by the American colonists to combat British rule. If you are looking for a short hike that combines history with local wildlife and has phenomenal views – this is a great way to spend an hour or two along the Hudson River.

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