With mild temperatures(by January standards) and slightly longer days now, I decided to head west to Schenectady County to explore the many trails of the Plotter Kill Preserve. This preserve has three spectacular waterfalls: the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and the Rynex Creek Falls at the junction of Rynex Creek and the Plotter Kill. It has two trailheads, both located in the town of Rotterdam, one off of Route 159 and the other on Coplon Road. I chose to start off at the main parking area off 159 where there two other cars were parked as I got my ice cleats on.
This a very beautiful 632 acre preserve, well known for its three picturesque waterfalls which many would consider the most breathtaking in the Capital Region. There are several miles of trails and trail options, some well marked, some not marked at all. One should bring a trail map when coming here, because some of the trails do tend to criss-cross through the preserve. There are many potential hazards here, especially so in the winter time. Extremely steep cliffs and ravines make for dangerous hiking, mostly along the red trail which traverses the high ground around each ravine. There are a couple of other spots where crossing the creek can leave you wet, as I found out very early in my hike. The ice wasn't very strong at all and I plunged about a foot into the cold water.
Here is a map of the preserve. As mentioned before, this can be very helpful when hiking this area and one must be conscience to not take any of the unmarked foot paths that meander through the preserve.
This is certainly a place I would love to come back to in the spring when the creeks are flowing freely and the footing is improved. The waterfalls and nature truly make this a magical palce. Looking forward to the warmer months and my return.