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Panoramas: Lower Valley
Perkins Memorial Tower #1
Bear Mountain State Park
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Perched high above the Valley ontop of Bear Mountain in Bear Mountain State Park is an impressive 40 foot tall stone lookout tower. The tower was built in 1931-34 and dedicated as the Perkins Memorial Tower to honor former Chairman of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Of the many locations in the lower Hudson Valley to get a panoramic overview of this historically important stretch of the river, this is possibly the very best.

From the tower itself, and the surrounding grounds, you have an unimcumbered 360° view south to New York City, east to Connecticut, north to Mount Beacon and west to the Shawangunks. A stunning vista.

Make sure to climb the tower for the best view. It's a fairly easy four flight climb up very friendly internal stairs. At each landing there are benches to sit and look out of the small windows, and to catch your breath. As you sit at the landing, the Park Commission has created a series of exhibitions, a different subject on each level. You can see photos of the tower being created, steam ships and paddle-wheelers bringing guests up to Bear Mountain and a quick history of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission itself.

Once at the top, you are rewarded with possibly the most spectacular panoramic view in the lower half of the Hudson Valley. Right there before you are the spires of New York City. Surrounding you are the hills and slopes of the Hudson Highlands. A trip at any time of the year to the tower is rewarding, but especially in the late fall during the height of the fall foliage season.

Walk out from the tower to the rocky point and experience the view from there as well. From here you can see back around the tower, down into the clove and out across the Peekskill Bay section of the Hudson River out past the "South Gate."

At the time of this writing in June of 2004, the Perkins Memorial Tower is only open on weekends. You can get to it from Exit 19 on the Palisades Interstate Parkway or from the other side directly from the lodge at Bear Mountain State Park. Take the road and turn onto Perkins Memorial Drive and head uphill.

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