A few weeks ago, ready to get back into hiking, Jeff and I headed up to Bear Mountain to an area known as Doodletown. My cousin told me I would love hiking here, but I really had no idea what to expect.
What we found was a relatively easy hike and a whole lot of history on the Hudson River.
According to the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference website, “The area was settled in the 1760s by loggers and miners, and at one time included a church, a school, several small businesses and two cemeteries in addition to 70 houses and 300 residents [at its peak in 1945]. The seven square mile hamlet was ultimately abandoned in the mid-1960s after a long period of land acquisition by the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission. The Commission had planned to create a cross-country ski network in Doodletown but was never able to start the project.”
Evidence of the old town is clear, as you hike among foundations of homes and businesses. Each one now has a plague next to it explaining what was once there.
It’s interesting and eerie all at once, but if you’re looking for a hike that has a bit of history and is more of a tour than a strenuous trek, this is exactly the place for you.