Camp Hero State Park, Montauk NY



Above: Trail map of Camp Hero State Park in Montauk NY

On our last weekend on Long Island, we opted to skip going to the hustle-bustle of Manhattan and instead head East, past the Hamptons, to the very end of Long Island. On our way to Camp Hero State Park we had to stop off at the original Lobster Roll for, what else, lobster rolls! We grabbed them to go and kept heading east.

A tip for all visitors: they aren't kidding about the ticks! Be sure your pet is up to date on their repellent, and I recommend human repellent too! I found several small ticks on my nether-regions, and a few chiggers made nice work of my legs too.

We parked just south of the main entrance and ate our lunch along the bluffs near Battery 216, which was a small battery, nothing notable, though the view of the Montauk Lighthouse is impressive.

Montauk Lighthouse, from Camp Hero Bluffs

We then explored the trail near Battery 113 and climbed a steep trail to get onto the roof of the battery.  There are some great photo opportunities on top of and under this Battery.

In Front of Battery 113
The main attraction is, of course, the Radar Tower, a looming, solid concrete building, long stilled, but you can still feel the energy in the air. The discussed hole in the fence (about 20 yards from the locked gate) has been patched. Took some photos, and walked South to the bluffs, where we climbed down to the stoney beach and scavenged some drift-wood and looked at what the surf washed up. It was a steep climb back up with our finds!

Radar Tower at Camp Hero State park

Next we explored "downtown" which was built back in the day to look like a coastal fishing village from the sky, so the gymnasium is disguised as a church. All buildings are solidly boarded up. The gated "Tower/Park Residence" looks mainly to be an operating cell phone tower nowadays.

There's a bunker near the Commissary Building, accessible from the road near the Sentry Building, or climb down west of the Commissary. Interestingly, once of the concrete vents from the bunker has been opened...the opening is not large enough for a person to go into, but a strong flashlight might pierce the dark depths.

So we thought that wrapped our visit to the park. LA was on the phone, and we were driving out, when I saw a small stairway near the Water Pump Station. I got out and it led up through some undergrowth to an OPEN GATE! It was wide oped, with the chain still on it and a locked master-lock, so it had not been cut. I grabbed LA and we ducked and dodged more under growth, and stepped out into a field right in front of the Radar Tower! What luck!

View of the Radar Tower from Secret Entrance

We walked around the tower, looking in the open man-hole covers at a chamber filled with wires and water. If there were doors at the bottom of the tower, they had been sealed, but the fire-escape ladder still remains, with access from the ground. LA, being the daredevil she is, climbed about half way up to the first landing, before I freaked out and made her get down.

LA Climbing Up the Radar Tower
Not wanted to chance detection, we skipped checking out the Operations Building, and headed back to the car.

I would definitely go back to the park, but really wish they had gated off the Radar Tower closer to the tower itself, instead of so far back. And would it have killed them to open up just one of the Batteries so visitors could see inside? I would gladly pay more to have a more expansive informative visit.

Montauk Project? Psychic experiments? Who knows. I highly doubt there's anything still going on there, but am sure someone with enough permethrin, time, and a metal detector could find some WWII or Cold War artifacts in the woods.

On our way back, we stopped at the Clam Bar for seafood and a cocktail. LA tried their lobster roll, and we agree that while both are fantastic lobster rolls, we prefer The Lobster Roll. Both had plenty of lobster on a fresh bun, but Lobster Roll had a sauce that was a little richer and creamier. They also had the better cole slaw. I tried the Tuna Filet sandwich at Clam Bar (they were 86'ed on the Swordfish and raw oysters) which was good and thick, but no seasoning on the filet. But the Blue Point Summer Ale was something special for sure. The Clam Bar has better seating--right outside next to the bar (cash only but they have an ATM) and The Lobster Roll has better food....I choose the food.

Lobster Roll

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