Bear Spring Mountain State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Bear Spring Mountain Campground provides a rustic camping experience for its visitors. Located on the west side of the Catskill Forest Preserve, you’ll find that the park feels secluded within the thick woods. The forest provides a home for many different species of wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy birdwatching, 24 miles of hiking trails, the 12-acre Launt Pond, and much more during their stay.

The campground is within the Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Its thick forests are made up of Red Oak, Beech, Birch, and many more species of trees. Deer, Black Bears, and an abundance of other wildlife are known to the area. This wildlife area was acquired by the state of New York in 1961 and consists of over 7,000 acres. It was after the acquisition in 1961 that camping began in the area on an unofficial basis. Over the years, improvements were made and finally, in 1985, the land officially became a campground with Launt Pond becoming the first camping area. The second camping area, Spruce Pond, followed less than ten years later in 1994.

Equestrian and non-equestrian campsites at Bear Spring Mountain Campground are available by reservation only. The campground is open from May through September with the peak season running from July to September. During the peak season, temperatures often creep into the 80s making for warm days to spend at the sandy beach or cooling off in the pond. No matter the time of your visit, you’ll enjoy the miles of hiking under the shade the forest provides.

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Transportation in Bear Spring Mountain State Park

Driving

Bear Spring Mountain Campground is located on the western end of the Catskill Forest Preserve in Downsville, NY. Only a 10-minute drive to the town of Downsville, you’ll feel a world away in the thick woods of the campground.

The campground is located off of East Trout Brook Road which can be accessed from highway 206 or highway 30. If coming from highway 30, follow the road east when you come to the fork. The GPS coordinates for directions to the campground are 42.1198 N and 75.0695 W.

The campground is open from May through September. The season starts after the snow and ice typically melt and ends before the wintery weather begins again. You shouldn’t encounter any issues during your drive to the park, but be aware that there are some steep hills in the area.

Once inside the campground, you’ll find that there are two camping areas. Launt Pond is the main camping area and is where you’ll find the restrooms, showers and other amenities. Spruce Grove is about three and a half miles away, so you may find yourself needing to drive to Launt Pond to access the campground amenities. Parking is available throughout the campground.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Bear Spring Mountain State Park

Campsites in Bear Spring Mountain State Park

Reservations camping

Unadilla / I-88 / Oneonta KOA

Franklin, NY is known for its eponymous village with a few structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Howe Caverns is just an hour south, and professional league baseball at Oneonta is only 15 minutes north. Follow I-88 and stop in at the Unadilla/I-88/Oneonta KOA where water/electric sites up to 100’ and powered up to 50-amps welcome big rigs. Enjoy creekside camping locations, stay connected with Wi-Fi and relax or play in the pool. Rent a bike, fish or paddle boat at the creek. Propane and firewood are available, and pets are welcome.

Bear Spring Mountain Campgrounds

There are 41 campsites between two camping areas, Spruce Grove and Launt Pond. Launt Pond is the main camping area and is where you will find the campground's amenities. Spruce Grove is where the equestrian sites are located. Spruce Grove is about three and a half miles from the office, so campers staying in that area will need to drive to access the amenities at Launt Pond. Campsites in both areas are available by reservation only.

Bear Spring Mountain Campground has dry camping only. These rustic campsites have no water or electric hookups, though water spigots are located throughout both camping areas. Limited generator use is permitted, however, be sure to check the hours that generator use is acceptable. The maximum trailer or RV length is 40 feet.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring. The forest provides shade and privacy to each site. Other amenities of Bear Spring Mountain Campground include picnic areas, a playground, recycling center, and dump station. Hiking and equestrian trail entrances can be found within the camping areas. Pets are allowed at the campground and on the trails but must remain on a leash.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Bear Spring Mountain State Park

In-Season

Fishing

Launt Pond is well-stocked with Brown Trout every spring. Anglers can fish from the shore or head out onto the pond on a boat. Don’t forget to bring or pick up a fishing license for your stay at the park. A New York fishing license is required.

Boating

Canoe, kayak, or row around the 12-acre pond to take in the scenery, fish, or look for wildlife. The small pond with its calm water make for a great spot to paddle around. A boat launch is located on Launt Pond in the campground. No motorboats are permitted on the pond. Boat rentals are available within the park.

Swimming

Cool off on a hot summer day in Launt Pond. Lounge on the sandy beach to soak up the sun or dry off before heading back to camp. There is no lifeguard on duty at any time at Launt Pond. A restroom is located near the pond for changing.

Off-Season

Wildlife

Bear Spring Mountain Campground and the surrounding area are home to an abundance of wildlife. Deer and wild turkey are commonly spotted. Black bears are known to the area as well, so be sure to follow the campground’s bear policies. Birdwatchers won’t be disappointed and are likely to see waterfowl, owls, and various songbirds.

Recreational Games

The campground has recreational games available to play. Bring along your horseshoes for your visit for a round or two at the horseshoe pits. The campground also has a volleyball court near the Launt Pond camping area.

Hiking

There are over 24 miles of trails available to hikers and equestrians with some trails connecting to the Wildlife Management Area trail system. During your hike, you’ll see many different tree and plant species and may spot a deer or two. The trails are of varying skill levels and lengths, with many interconnecting.

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