Bear Mountain – Allegany State Park – From the intersection of Cain Hollow Road and Quaker Run Road

Black Bear

Black Bear

This guide describes a bushwhack approach from the intersection of Quaker Run Road and Cain Hollow Road,  a roundtrip of 6.5 miles.  This approach can be used  when the gate across Quaker Run road is closed, preventing vehicle access to the Quaker Beach House (usually from December 1 to April 1, depending on the weather.)

An earlier article describes the hike from Quaker Beach House Parking lot, a total of 5.5 miles roundtrip.

An even earlier article 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.

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.

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 Bear benchmark at 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 6 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.
[BeachHouse06.JPG]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.

 

The Summit of Bear Mountain from the Intersection of Quaker Run Rd and Cain Hollow Rd

(You can download a gpx file of the one-way track from the intersection of Quaker Run Road and Cain Hollow Road to the Summit of Bear by clicking HERE.)

(You can view and interactive map of this track by clicking this link.)

You can park on the lake side shoulder of Quaker Run Road.  You want to climb the hill on the other side of the road that splits the angle created by the intersection of Quaker Run Road and Cain Hollow Road.  Once you get to the top of the hill you will follow the ridge to the summit of Bear Mountain.

Pay special attention to the yellow arrows shown on the interactive map because they show where the ridge fans out.  You do not want to follow the ridges indicated by the yellow arrows.  Instead, stay on the ridge indicated by the orange track.

 

View From Road Looking at Hill

View From Road Looking at Hill

 

View of the field and hill across from the shoulder parking on Quaker Run Road.

 

 

 

 

 

View From edge of woods on side of hill

View From edge of woods on side of hill

 

View looking back toward Quaker Run Road from the edge of the forest on the way up the hill.

 

At the 1/4 mile mark you will cross Official Park Trail No. 16 that runs from the Cain Hollow Campground to a place near the Quaker Lake Beach House.  The trail is barely noticeable so you might step right over it without realizing it.

 

 

 

Typical view of the open forest

Typical view of the open forest

 

Most of the hike is through relatively open forest with little or no underbrush as depicted in the picture to the left.  You will encounter some blowdown that you can walk around or step over.

However, immediately after you cross Trail 16 there is about 20 yards of thicker underbrush with thorn bushes.  Easy to push through when wearing long sleeves and long pants, but a bit more difficult when in full bloom on a hot day in shorts.  You may want to look for a way around it by hiking a bit in either direction on Trail No. 16.

 

 

 

 

The next three pictures are views you will see while climbing up to the top of the ridge.

View on way to the top of ridge

View on way to the top of ridge

View on way to the top of ridge

View on way to the top of ridge

View on way to the top of ridge

View on way to the top of ridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final approach to top of ridge

Final approach to top of ridge

 

This picture is looking at the last bit of climb up the first hill.

 

 

 

 

 

From the top of the ridge

From the top of the ridge

 

About 3/4ths of a mile from the start you will reach the top of the ridge.  This is the end of the steady climbing although there will be some dips along the rest of the hike as shown in the picture to the left.

 

 

 

 

Little Rock City

Little Rock City

 

At point A on the map, about 1.75 miles from the start, you will a see a “little rock city” like boulder field off to the left (north).

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Stand

Tree Stand

 

At point B on the map, about 2.75 miles from the start, you will pass a hunting tree stand that has no owner identification.

 

 

 

 

 

At 3 miles from the start 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. The maps below show the correct track in orange, and the incorrect ridges with Yellow Arrows.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

 

Topo Map Bear Mt from Quaker Run Road

Topo Map Bear Mt from Quaker Run Road

 

Aerial Map of track from Quaker Run rd to Bear Mt

Aerial Map of track from Quaker Run rd to Bear Mt