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Panoramas: Lower Valley
Perkins Memorial Tower Valley View
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.

However, the best view isn't directly from the tower or the frequently visitor choked viewing areas surrounding the tower. When you leave the tower itself and are driving back down the road, just past the tower parking area, don't follow the "exit" sign, instead take the road that leads off to the right and down hill. This road will take you out onto the eastern face of Bear Mountain. You will come upon a parking area that can accommodate about 10 cars, on the valley side of the road. Pull in there!

From here, you have an uniterrupted view of the river from the "South Gate" where the river passes out of the Highlands, (on the right), all the way up to where the river dissappears behind West Point, (on the left). Between these two landmarks is the most strategically important location in the history of America. This piece of river determined who won the American Revolution. By protecting and holding this strategically critical section of the river, Gen. Washington was able to prevent the British from seizing control of the Hudson and splitting the colonies. This segment of the river is what Washington called the "key to the continent."

Below you, toward the left, where the Bear Mountain Bridge meets the west bank of the river, are the locations of Forts Clinton and Montgomery. Roughly where the bridge is located is where the first chain and boom across the Hudson were anchored to prevent British ships from sailing up the river. In the far distance to the left is West Point, where the Colonial armies erected impressive fortifications and battlements and held the British at bay. To the right, out beyond the "South Gate", around the corner of the river to the right is Stony Point, location of a famous Patriot victory against the British.

From the "South Gate", up the river past West Point is what was known to the Colonial armies as "Fortress West Point," a series of fortifications, river obstructions, and redoubts. After the loss of Forts Clinton & Montgomery in October of 1777, the Americans fortified and strenghtened this area and never again allowed the British to proceed north up the river from New York City.

 
 
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