Bear Spring Mountain Park & Wildlife Management Area

Southern Delaware County is home to one of New York’s recreation jewels – Bear Spring Mountain Park and Wildlife Management Area.

The 7,000-acre park that spans the towns of Hancock, Walton and Colchester has something for every type of outdoor adventure seeker or nature lover. The park encompasses a vast multi-use trail system that can be used for day hikers of every fitness and experience level. The trails vary from easy and rolling with breathtaking vistas to those that are more strenuous with steeper grades and more challenging terrain.

Hikers, bird-watchers and nature photographers will find themselves occasionally sharing the trail with equestrians, who can trailer their own horses to the park for day-riding or overnight camping. The horse-friendly camping section of the park is outfitted with covered tie-stalls for overnight stays or to rest between trail rides.

The multi-use trail system has in recent years also become an attraction for mountain bike enthusiasts and, during the winter months, for snow bikers. During those snow-filled months, the trails are transformed into groomed snowmobile trails which are shared with cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers.

Tent or camper sites are available at the park’s state run campground and the sites, though nearly primitive, have restrooms and showers nearby.

A sandy beach fronts Launt Pond where swimming is permitted. Paddle boats and canoe rentals are also available for those who prefer being on the water rather than in it.

Hunters will find the park flourishing with wild game. Bear and deer as well as small game such as rabbit, bobcat, turkey and pheasant are abundant in the various hunting seasons. Licensed hunters who successfully obtain a non-ambulatory hunter’s permit are also able to traverse miles of trail via an all-terrain vehicle.

Sections of the park are wheelchair-friendly and American with Disabilities Act compliant, making activities like platform fishing at Launt Pond for trout, sunfish and perch, accessible to those with mobility issues. There is also a wheelchair ramp and mounting block for horseback riders at Spruce Grove, making it easier for mobility-impaired equestrians to safely mount and dismount from a ride. Recent upgrades on the campground property also make the restroom, playground and pavilion accessible by wheelchair and ADA friendly.

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Featured image: Bear Spring Mountain Campground by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation