At 2,142 feet, Bear Mountain is one of the highest elevations in the area around Cranberry Lake. The trail begins and ends in the Cranberry Lake State Campground. There are marked trailheads on the north and south-west sides of the mountain.
This could be done as an out and back hike of 2.8 miles round-trip, or a 3.5 mile loop if one wants to continue the trail to the second trailhead and follow the campground road 1 mile back to the other trailhead. The north trailhead being 1.4 miles one way and the other being about 1.2 miles one way. Elevation gain is about 540 ft.
The summit doesn’t offer many views and I couldn’t find any USGS marker. However, about ¼ mile south of the summit is a scenic overlook with great views to the west of Cranberry Lake and the rolling hills beyond. This hike is an easy one and people of all ages can enjoy the wilderness and the views.
From Tupper Lake, NY, drive 26 miles west on Rt 3 to the town of Cranberry Lake. Turn left on Lone Pine Road where there is normally a DEC park sign from spring through fall. Follow this road and it will take you to Cranberry Lake State Campground. About ½ mile past the entrance will be the main trailhead on the left. It is well marked and would be hard to miss. Another option would be to continue through the park to the south-west trailhead, which is also marked.
There is another trail to Bear Mountain off of Route 3 about 2 miles east of Cranberry Lake. However, I haven’t been on that trail yet and will add information on it at a later date.
There is a small fee to enter the campground, but not much. Tent and trailer sites are available and reservations can be made on-line. Sites can fill up quickly on holiday weekends, so it may be wise to plan in advance.
There is a lean-to about half way to the summit from the northern trailhead, but check with the DEC if reservations are needed. When I get that information I will add it here.
Cranberry Lake Area Trails:http://www.cnyhiking.com/CranberryLakeWildForest.htm
Cranberry Lake Campground: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24460.html