Today, the Appalachian Trail is a famous long-distance trail spanning from Georgia to Maine that some attempt to hike in one season. But when the idea of the Appalachian Trail was first proposed, it was simply thought to be a series of retreat, farming and work camps along the Appalachians, where city-dwellers could occasionally return to nature. Hiking wasn't really the purpose of the Appalachian Trail at the beginning -- instead, the idea was to have a particular trail to connect the camps. That's what made Bear Mountain, located so close to New York City, such a perfect place to start forming the trail back in the early 1920s.
The Bear Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail reaches an elevation of 1,305 feet (397.8 meters) for breath-taking views of the Hudson River. This part of the trail also puts the hiker through a series of ups and downs, as it also contains the lowest point of the trail that sinks to 120 feet (36.6 meters) above sea level [source: Adkins]. As it happens, this low point is located at the Trailside Museum and Zoo, which acts as a refuge to injured local wildlife.