Bear Mountain is one of the best-known peaks of New York’s Hudson Highlands, and adjacent to it is one of the best-known bridges: Bear Mountain Bridge.
The Bear Mountain Bridge, a suspension bridge of 2,255 feet in length with towers standing 360 feet high, is an iconic structure located in the lower Hudson Valley of New York. Completed in 1924 after years of inactivity, the bridge became the first automobile bridge to cross the Hudson River south of Albany, surpassing the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge as the southernmost crossing. At the time of its completion, it held the title of the longest suspension bridge in the world until it was surpassed 19 months later by the Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.
Adjacent to the Bear Mountain Bridge is the Popolopen Creek Bridge, a graceful Pratt deck truss that carries US Route 9W over Popolopen Creek in Fort Montgomery. During the American Revolution, a pontoon bridge was built across the mouth of Popolopen Creek to connect Forts Montgomery and Clinton. Later, an iron bridge was erected across the lower part of the Popolopen Creek gorge, part of the road leading from Hessian Lake to Fort Montgomery. The bridge’s sharp turns and steep descents into the gorge earned it the moniker of “Hell Hole” among travelers. In 1915-16, a high-level steel bridge was built to bypass the dangerous route, and it was widened with a parallel, connected span in 1937.
A suspension footbridge for the Twin Forts Trail is located below the Popolopen Creek Bridge, occupying the same location as the pontoon bridge from centuries ago. In 2001, a section of a pontoon bridge was constructed by two cadets and demonstrated to members of the Fort Montgomery Plan Team. However, the pontoon bridge was deemed too expensive to maintain and too seasonal. In 2002, a suspended rope truss bridge was constructed instead.
Lastly, the Mine Dock Road Bridge is a unique steel arch that crosses Black Creek and Mine Dock Road. Built between 1935-41 along US Route 9W, the bridge’s erection was part of a larger project aimed at improving the highway in the region and providing a four-lane bypass of Storm King Mountain.