Written by Erin Contino on June 1, 2015

 

Now that the spring/summer is here. Everyone is enjoying the weather and getting out to explore. There is a place I have been going since I was young, not too far from the town I grew up in. A place I would continue to go every summer through the fall with friends and family to enjoy nature and all the mountains have to offer.

The beautiful mountaintop hamlet of Cragsmoor, New York, is nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains, west of the Hudson River. A place full of winding mountain roads and pitch pines, it’s a community seemingly frozen in time. Rustic shingle style cottages line the streets, many of them built in the 1800s by members of the Cragsmoor art colony. The “town” consists of the free library, post office, and the old stone church. Cragsmoor is also home to the tourist destination Ice Cave Mountain, where the popular hike to Sam’s Point is located.

However, tucked away in a hidden corner of Cragsmoor, away from the crowds of the Ice Caves, is a magical place called Bear Hill Preserve.

Although similar to the Sam’s Point hike, Bear Hill is a much shorter, leisurely hike, but the views are just as beautiful if not more! It feels private and hidden from the world below the cliffs. Bear Hill also has an amazing cave of its own. Although not marked, the adventure of finding the entrance is part of the fun. Bear Hill is the type of place you can bring lunch (no glass bottles) and spend the afternoon taking in the absolutely breathtaking views.

Over the past few years it seemed to grow a bit in popularity and I believe has a parking fee on high season weekends now. You can access the parking for the preserve off of Dellenbaugh Road in the town of Cragsmoor.

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