Bear Hill Nature Preserve

June 26, 2016 – Pine Bush, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 1.5 miles

Route type: out and back

Bear Hill Nature Preserve is in the same Shawangunk Ridge as Sam’s Point. At an elevation of 1,950 feet, it provides spectacular views. It is a 50 acre privately owned park. They charge a $5.00 per person trail use fee, but have no maps available nor are the trails blazed. this is a short easy hike with some of the best views anywhere. My only complaint is that I could not find a trail map online and I assumed that after paying 5 bucks they would provide me with one. I was wrong, but other than that it is one of the coolest places that I have hiked.


Bear Hill Nature Preserve

From the parking area we proceeded onto the main trail which we followed, ignoring the numerous side trails that veered off from it. It was a little frustrating not having a map for fear of missing something by not venturing down all those unmarked trails. In the same turn, not having a map and not knowing the layout of the trails I didn’t feel like getting lost.


main trail

The main trail was a nice easy stroll through some very scenic woods. The Mountain Laurel was everywhere and the people weren’t. I didn’t arrive there until about noon and was surprised at seeing so few cars in the parking area.


main trail

What a beautiful day for a hike. I was getting my moneys worth thus far. When I came upon this sign it was either turn left or right, I turned left.



Almost immediately the views began. I wandered around taking shot after shot of some of the most glorious views. Trying to choose which images to post was a tough task as there wasn’t a bad shot in the bunch. That’s a testament to Bear Hill not my skills as a photographer. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.


I was so enamored of the views that I did not want to leave. A gorgeous Sunday with spectacular views. I did forget to mention that Bear Hill also has chasms. Plenty of them in fact. Some more dangerous than others, but if you like rock scrambling and exploring, this is the place for you.


Even though this is a relatively small preserve, it has a lot going on. I didn’t check out as much of the preserve as I would have liked. Not having a map and the thought of grilled steak fajitas that awaited me, made me cut my visit short. I will be back in October to see the fall foliage. Until next time, happy trails…….


Bear Hill Nature Preserve

2 thoughts on “Bear Hill Nature Preserve

  1. It used to be free. I think they started to charge because the hike got a lot of the overflow from when Sam’s Point would fill up.


  2. It became necessary to charge because of vandalism, and the need to have a guard in attendance during busy times. Since the Preserve is owned by the Cragsmoor Free Library and managed by the Cragsmoor Association, no public monies pay for the guard, so these services are paid for by the community and visitors to Bear Hill. That’s what is necessary to keep things safe, clean and orderly, alas.


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