Bear Hill Nature Preserve
Cragsmoor, Ulster County, New York
US 287 west over the Tappan Zee bridge; US 87 north to exit 16 to pick up the Quickway (Route 17, future US 86) heading west; get off at exit 113 for Route 209 north; in the center of Ellenville turn right onto Route 52 heading east; follow the road for about 4.8 miles; the road takes drivers up and around to the south side of the mountain; turn left onto Cragsmoor Road; drive 1.4 miles to the center of Cragsmoor. From the intersection of Cragsmoor Road and Henry Road by the Cragsmoor post office; follow Dellenbaugh Road north for 0.4 of a mile. The parking lot is on the left-hand side of the road.
The elevation here is 1,950 feet. The preserve has has sheer white cliffs (the southernmost tall cliffs in the Shawangunks) with spectacular views to the south and west and unmarked and somewhat dangerous Devil's Kitchen and Lemon Squeeze crevices.
This was a popular recreation area for the residents of Cragsmoor.
1978 -- development of the land threatened. The Cragsmoor Association, Inc. was formed and incorporated. The developer who had purchased Bear Hill previously, put the property up for sale. The Cragsmoor Association turned its attention to trying to purchase the property. A prominent citizen of Cragsmoor purchased the property, donated a large part of the purchase price, and requested that the community contribute a large portion also. Through the efforts of the Cragsmoor Association, Inc. the money was raised, and the Association was designated to manage the property, which it still does.
1983 -- the Cragsmoor Association donated the land to the library, which in turn opened it up to the public as a nature preserve.
There are two trails (not named) of 0.8 of a mile. The Long Path also goes through the preserve.
Betula spp. (birch)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Quercus ilicifolia (scrub oak)
Jeffrey Perls. 2003. Shawangunks Trail Companion: A complete guide to hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and more only 90 miles from New York City. Woodstock, Vermont: Back Country Guides.