From a distance, the serene mountains of Bear Mountain State Park seem like an unlikely setting for a bustling and exciting Oktoberfest. But as the cliché says, looks can be deceiving. Located in the Hudson Highlands just north of New York City, Bear Mountain is home to approximately 5, 000 acres of picturesque open fields, over 50 hiking trails, some breath-taking views, and yes… a yearly Oktoberfest celebration. This amazing park brings the unlikely pair of untainted nature and a hearty Germanic festival together like a match made in heaven. And starting mid-September, Circle Line will be setting sail up to beautiful Bear Mountain; bringing passengers right to the heart of the Oktoberfest action.
Nestled within the hundreds of miles of scenic hiking trails, a lively oasis of German tradition awaits! With fall foliage, fresh air, and an all-around gorgeous, natural atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of the festival might surprise you amidst such serenity. But that surprise is sure to please. There’s more adventure to be had than we can possibly name, so we’ve prepared a quick guide to help illustrate what you should expect when stepping off the quiet mountain trails and into the fun-loving German festival.
We hope you like music! If you don’t, we recommend you take a hike… literally. If you’re not feeling up for energetic German music, it might be best if you stick to the quiet trails because this year’s Oktoberfest schedule is packed with talented live bands every weekend. As an extra special treat, Bear Mountain is proud to host performers from Disney’s Epcot (Spitze, on 9/27), America’s #1 German Festival Band (dSb, on 9/21 & 10/19), and a Grammy Award Winner (Alex Meixner Band, on 10/4)! The full roster of acts can be found here.
Essen und Bier (Food and Beer)
There’s plenty more mountain fare than just nuts and berries here! As it should be, Oktoberfest is filled with delicious, traditional German foods. We’re practically drooling just thinking about the mouth-watering bratwurst with sauerkraut. Not to mention the scrumptious knockwurst smothered in caramelized onions...
Thirsty? Worry not. There’ll be no shortage of cold and refreshing German beers!
Kunsthandwerk (Local Crafts)
On a typical day, you might not expect to see vendor tents set up in the fields of Bear Mountain State Park, but they’re just one of the many pleasant surprises that Oktoberfest has in store. What’s inside these tents? Locally-made crafts; and lots of them!
Andere Optionen (Other Options)
Not quite feeling all of the above? That’s okay! There are so many other great options for Bear Mountain visitors, and you simply can’t experience them in the city. Go au natural and catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring overlooks along the hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Or, take it easy and enjoy a relaxing stroll around the beautiful Hessian Lake. We strongly recommend you take the opportunity to climb Perkins Tower too; you won’t regret it! Its lookout offers some of the most stunning mountain views in the park.
Looking for something a little more manmade? Bear Mountain is home to popular zoos and aquariums, a refreshing pool, and the famous hand-carved (and hand-painted) carousel. And let’s not forget about the historic Bear Mountain Inn’s café and tapas bar!
Ready to experience all that Bear Mountain’s Oktoberfest has to offer? Take one of Circle Line’s annual Bear Mountain Cruises and enjoy this beautiful combination of serene nature and a spirited Oktoberfest. Sailing begins on Saturday, September 13th and runs every Saturday and Sunday through the end of October (including a special trip on Columbus Day). If one trip to Bear Mountain isn’t enough to experience everything that interests you, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go back again!
Don't forget - it’s not just about the festivities at Bear Mountain, the cruise itself is an awesome experience! Boarding begins at 8:30, and thereafter you’ll enjoy two and half hours of gentle cruising with a beautiful view of the fall foliage along the Hudson River. What’s more? If you’re not sure the festival food will be enough to satisfy you, our vessels have fully-stocked concession stands, and passengers can even pre-order one of our delicious picnic lunches to enjoy in the park. A Bear Mountain Cruise with Circle Line is one you'll remember for years to come.