Major Welch Series #2: The Original A. T.
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The Major Welch trail is named for Major William A. Welch, the first General Manager of the Palisades Interstate Park. He helped found the Palisades Interstate Trail Conference (which later became the NY-NJ Trail Conference) and served as the chair of the Appalachian Trail Conference.
The trail begins behind the Bear Mountain Inn on the western side of Hessian Lake (red circle on white blaze). It follows the western shore of the lake along a paved path for almost .5 miles then turns uphill on a rocky trail. It climbs steeply to the summit of Bear Mountain, and then descends to Perkins Drive where it meets the Appalachian Trail. The best way to complete this series is to start at the Inn and follow the Major Welch trail to the Appalachian Trail then follow the AT back up and over the summit to return to the Inn. If you have two cars and Perkins Drive is open, you can leave one car at the Perkins Tower and shorten your hike.
The Major Welch trail from here to the summit of Bear Mountain was the original route of the Appalachian Trail. It is part of the first section of the Appalachian Trail to be built in 1922. Originally the AT led downhill from here to where the anticipated Bear Mountain Bridge would be built. In 1931 the AT was relocated to pass by the ski jump, south of Hessian Lake. The original route became an alternative trail to the summit and was designated the Major Welch trail in 1941.
The cache is an ammo can hidden a few feet off the original AT route. The coordinates were obtained by averaging over 200 readings using a Garmin 76Cx.
Park at the Bear Mountain Inn (fee charged on weekends and summertime) N 41 18.747 W 073 59.341
NYS Parks permit # BM07-02
Haqre n ebpx jvgu gjb fznyyre fgbarf ba gbc.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum