Hiking up to the summit of Popolopen Torne is diverse and exciting. The path I am recounting is a loop about 7 miles, ascending just under 1,000′. It is entails exquisite vistas, traversing bridges, a bit of scrambling, and peaceful woods. It’s one heck of a hike, a must in the Hudson Valley. Begin your day in the overflow parking lot for Fort Montgomery State Historic Site – it has a GPS location in GoogleMaps. Head down 9W and into the Fort Montgomery Historic Site. Take the trail towards the Popolopen pedestrian bridge. The view of the Bear Mountain bridge is incredible,
and cross the bridge is a fun adventure to begin your hike with.
Follow the sign pointing towards Bear Mountain State Park and head up the stairs, back to the busy road.
Bear right onto 9W and safely cross the street. Enter the red blazed trail begins at the end of the guardrail behind the no parking sign, right before the bridge crosses the creek.
Head blissfully into the woods and stay on this trail for 1 ½ miles and head up almost 500’. Pass by an interesting concrete structure along the way.
When you reach a junction with many trails, follow 1777W and 1779 Trails, accompanied by blue, follow the blues all the way up to the summit.
Take the bridge over the creek,
and cross the road. From here the trail becomes increasingly steep.
Just as you begin to use all of your extremities scrambling, you’ll hit astounding views.
The summit was very populated, but it is a large area so it isn’t hard to stake out your own plot. A monumental cairn is dedicated to American soldiers, the trail is close to a number of military facilities.
When you’re done soaking in the vista – continue along the blue trail which is quite steep at times.
Once again carefully cross a road and end up at a parking lot. Hmm, one that is much closer to the summit – if you’re looking for a shorter hike with the same pay off, ‘Popolopen Torne Parking’ has a GPS location on GoogleMaps. Faithfully follow the blue past the gate, down the trail, on the streets, and to the lake.
Here turn left on the red/white blazed trail to walk around Brooks Lake in a scenic town park. Once you loop around, past the gazebo head into the woods on the gravel path.
Stop to check out some ruins, watch your step for glass and nails.
Head inside for a pop of graffiti color framing the woods.
A little bit of urban exploration always adds flavor to a hike.
Out of the woods and back onto the road, follow the blue trail once more. When you reach this sign:
head towards the visitors center. The trail takes you under the 9W bridge.
Again the Bear Mountain bridge is within site. Head up the stairs and you’ll find yourself back at the Fort Montgomery Historic Site – happily heading back to the parking lot.