Bear Mountain – Allegany State Park – Hike from Quaker Beach House to Summit

 

black-bear-0012  Bear Mountain in Allegany State Park was at one time thought to be the highest point in the Park (as notated by the USGS in the notes for the Bear benchmark which state the elevation is 2,303 feet.)  However, it appears that there are at least 2, and possibly as many as 4, places in Allegany State Park of higher elevation than the Bear summit.

On the summit of Bear there is a USGS benchmark and two reference marks, all of which were placed there in 1935.  They are relatively easy to find because each has a tree nearby with flagging tied to it.  At one time there were “witness” markers, but those have long since disappeared.

Below are pictures of the benchmark and reference marks taken on April 6, 2013.  Yes, there was still 6 to 10 inches of snow on the summit of Bear on that date.

All three of them are set in clay pipes that stick up out of the ground about six to eight inches.  Once you have found one of them, you can use the directions next to the pictures to locate the other ones.

 

Bear Mt Benchmark

Bear Mt Benchmark

 

[ Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version.]

The Benchmark (as described by the USGS)  Bear benchmark is located on a hill of about 2300 feet elevation, the highest point in Allegany State Park.  Station mark is a standard disk stamped Bear 1935, set in the top of a 7-inch tile filled with concrete and projecting 7 inches from ground.  In 1935, it was 2.30 meters northeast of dead oak tree blaze, 2.25 meters west of dead stump, 7.0 meters southeast of dead trunk of tree, 15.5 meters west of large oak tree blaze. In 1967, it was 1.8 feet southwest of a metal witness post.

 

 

 

Bear Mt Reference Mark 1

Bear Mt Reference Mark 1

 

[ Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version.]

Reference mark 1 (as described by the USGS) –  Reference mark 1 is a standard disk stamped Bear 1935 No 1, set in the top of a 7-inch tile which is filled with concrete and projects 6 inches above the ground. In 1935. Reference mark no. 1 was 55.74 feet northeast of the Bear benchmark and 32.81 feet northwest of large oak tree.  In 1967, it was 33 feet north-northwest of a 30-inch oak tree, 1 foot west-northwest of a metal witness post and the mark is one foot lower in elevation than the station.

 

 

 

Bear Mt Reference Mark 2

Bear Mt Reference Mark 2

 

[ Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version.]

Reference mark 2 (as described by the USGS) –  Reference mark 2 is a standard disk stamped Bear No 2 1935, set in the top of a 7-inch tile filled with concrete and projecting 6 inches from ground. In 1935, Reference mark no. 2 was 62.22 feet west of north of the Bear Bencmark and 78.87 feet west of reference mark no. 1.

 

 

 

A previous guide to Bear Mountain included two other approaches (1) An unofficial trail (marked with flagging) from Bay State Road; and (2) an approach from ASP 1 that uses a portion of an unofficial flagged trail and a bushwhack portion to reach the Bear summit.

This guide describes a bushwhack approach from the Quaker Beach House Parking lot, a total of 5.5 miles round trip.  A subsequent guide will describe an approach from the intersection of Quaker Run Road and Cain Hollow Road, a round trip of 6.5 miles.  That approach can be used during the winter when the gate across Quaker Run road is closed, preventing vehicle access to the Quaker Beach House.

Both approaches from the Quaker area involve a steady climb over the first 1.25 miles with an elevation gain of over 800 feet.  Don’t exhaust yourself on the first mile of the hike.  Take it slow and easy and you’ll have plenty of energy left to enjoy the remainder of the hike, which will include some small rolling hills to climb.  Most importantly, be sure to stop on the way up, turn around, and take in the view.  Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, rushing up the slopes will deprive you of the fine and pleasant views to your backside.

For views, both approaches are best done before the summer bloom and after the fall defoliation because all views are seen through the hardwood (mostly oak) forest.  However, a mid-summer hike to the summit of Bear is an excellent way to experience the isolation of being deep in the woods.

The Summit of Bear Mountain from Quaker Beach House:

(You can download a gpx file of the one-way track from the Beach House Parking Lot to the Summit of Bear by clicking HERE.)

Looking east from Parking Lot

Looking east from Parking Lot

 

[Click on the picture for a higher resolution version]

Looking directly east from the parking lot at the Quaker Beach House you will see a utility pole with a green box at its base as shown in the picture to the left.

 

 

 

 

Point of entry into woods

Point of entry into woods

 

[Click on the picture for a higher resolution version]

Head directly for the utility pole shown in the picture above, walk past it, and continue into the woods at the point depicted in the picture to the left.

 

 

 

 

Looking back on Beach House from edge of woods

Looking back on Beach House from edge of woods

 

[Click on the picture for a higher resolution version]

This is the view from looking back toward the beach house from the point you enter the woods. [BeachHouse03.JPG]

 

 

 

 

After entering the woods you head northeast up the slope.  Do not follow the stream to your right because it heads in an easterly direction and does not offer the clearest path to the top of the ridge.

view from top of first small hill after entering the woods

view from top of first small hill after entering the woods

 

[Click on the picture for a higher resolution version]

This is a view looking back on Quaker Lake after climbing the first small ridge in the woods (about .25 miles from the Beach House parking lot.).  [BeachHouse04.JPG]

 

 

 

 

 

Boulders on slope at 1/2 mile mark

Boulders on slope at 1/2 mile mark

 

[Click on the picture for a higher resolution version]

At approximately 1/2 mile up the slope you will come upon a boulder field.

 

 

 

 

    • At .9 miles (Point 01 on the map) you need to alter your course from a northeast direction to a due east direction to reach the top of the ridge.

 

    • At 1.3 miles you reach the top of the ridge on this approach from Quaker Beach House (Point 02 on the map).  You need to turn your direction back to north easterly to follow the ridge to the summit of Bear.

 

    • At 2.0 miles (Point 03 on the map) you climb the last small hill on this ridge before reaching the base of Bear Mountain.  At this point you need to turn east to follow the narrow ridge to the east.  Do not head up the wider ridge to your north and north west.

 

    • At 2.5 miles you reach the base of a small hill.  This is the base of Bear Mountain.  Head straight up the hill in a northeasterly direction.  When you get to the top of the hill look for flagging tied to tree branches.  These mark the locations of the benchmark and the two reference marks.

 

On your return from the summit it is important to stay on the correct ridge lines because in several places the ridge spreads out in various directions.  Heading down the wrong ridge will take you far from the Beach House Parking Lot.

You can view an interactive version of the map by clicking this link: interactive G4map of hike from Quaker Beach house to summit of Bear Mountain in Allegany State Park.  The yellow lines with arrows on that map show the ridges you do not want to follow.

Bear Mountain from Quaker Beach House

Bear Mountain from Quaker Beach House

 

Bear Mountain bushwhack from Quaker Beach House

Bear Mountain bushwhack from Quaker Beach House

 

 

Elevation Profile for hike from Quaker Beach House to Bear Mt Summit

Elevation Profile for hike from Quaker Beach House to Bear Mt Summit