5 Fantastic Things You Don’t Know About the Bear Mountain Bridge
Have you ever walked across anyone of the bridges that cross the Hudson River in the Hudson Valley? Think you might want to give it a try? There are 5 bridges that are a part of the New York State Bridge Authority Bridges.
Where are those bridges located? The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge is between Orange and Ulster Counties. The Mid-Hudson Bridge spans Ulster and Dutchess Counties. The Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge spans Ulster and Dutchess Counties. The Rip Van Winkle or Catskill Bridge, spans Columbia and Greene Counties. What is the 5th bridge? That is the Bear Mountain Bridge which spans Putnam and Rockland Counties, well technically it is Rockland and Orange County and then Putnam and Westchester Counties.
What are 5 things about the Bear Mountain Bridge, you might not know?
When was it named the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge? According to the New York State Bridge Authority website (NYSBA), the name of the bridge was changed in 2018 to including to recognize the history of the Hudson Valley and specifically Orange County with the Purple Heart honor. There will be another article on the history of the Purple Heart and Orange County, NY at another time.
The Bear Mountain Bridge is the oldest bridge in the NYSBA system. How old it is?
The bridge opened to vehicles in 1924. Mark your calendars so you don't miss the 100th birthday of the bridge in 2024. I wonder what that cake will look like. Well, back in1924, it was the only bridge that crossed the Hudson between New York City and Albany. Today, there are so many more! Also, when it opened it was deemed the longest suspension bridge at 2255 feet in length. To put this in perspective, the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge is 7793 feet. So, if one mile equals 5280 (at least that is what the quick online calculator said) the Bear Mountain Bridge is about half a mile in length, where the Kingston bridge is three times the length.
Can you walk across the Bear Mountain Bridge? Is there a pedestrian lane?
Yes, you can walk across the Bear Mountain Bridge. There is a small parking lot on the western side of the bridge. That is where I parked when I took a walk across the bridge early one Sunday morning. The walk is beautiful and fairly flat and since it is only about half a mile, it is quick. Whichever works out best for you, you can park on either side.
What are the cool things that are next to the Bear Mountain Bridge, or just under it?
I had been told that there was a zoo at the Bear Mountain Bridge, so I wanted to take a peek at it. Not only was there a small (and no charge) zoo, but in addition there was also a few buildings which showed the history of the area, as well as history and information on the co-founder of what became known as the Boy Scouts of America.
What else is there to know about the Bear Mountain Bridge?
There is also a trail that takes you under the Bear Mountain Bridge. The trail takes you to Fort Montgomery. There is also a portion of this zoo/trailside that is a part of the Appalachian Trail. For more information about the Appalachian Trail and the Hudson Valley, click here.