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Friday, July 25, 2014

Thacher Park

Located mostly along the top of the Helderburg Escarpment in rural Albany County, John Boyd Thacher Park makes for a terrific and very popular day trip for many folks in the Capital Region.  There are multiple different camping opportunities as well as picnic shelters, ballfields, and most of all its far reaching clifftop views that can be hiked or driven to.  As stated there are several options for scenic views, with the most readily available being the free overlook parking area.  Only steps away from your car, there are phenomenal views to be had.
 A panoramic view.
 Just beyond a stone wall barrier lies a very sharp cliff drop off.
The views are outstanding, and due to its easily accessible parking lot, all can enjoy.
 Many ledges along the escarpment have 700 foot drops to the valley floor.  You can basically follow the edge of the cliffs along nearly the entire park on the Escarpment Trail.
 Looking down into the rural Albany County countryside.
Anyone who visits Thacher Park must do their very best to visit the Indian Ladder Trail, which offers some of the best hiking in the entire area.  A very steep stairway leads down along the rocky escarpment. 
Limestone cliffs and jagged rock formations await.
You may have to bend down to walk this part of the trail.
The rocky cliffs tower above you to the left, while the woods fall off on the right to the valley.
Here is a look directly up the rocky cliffs.
Coming down another stairway along the trail towards another rocky overhang.  For perspective you can see the family walking under the rocks, including an adult walking upright with no problem.
Geologists say Thacher Park has the world's oldest exposed limestone and one of the world's best fossil bearing formations.
Although water levels are at their low summertime levels, you can see Mine Lot Falls dropping off the escarpment above.
Standing directly below Mine Lot Falls.  You can usually expect to get a little wet(not more than a sprinkle) along this section.
Looking back at Mine Lot Falls.
Mine Lot Falls with some spectators along the trail.
Indian Ladder Trail was actually built by the Scoharie Indians as a trading route and actually built a ladder to scale the steep escarpment.
Smaller cascades.
Steep, rocky facing.

Walking back along the Long Path/ Escarpment Trail provides this interesting view of a slide along the steep facing that must have occurred during a heavy rain storm.
Mine Lot Creek flowing very slowly along.  Much of the creek dries up during the warm summer months.
Didn't do a terrible amount of walking, but about 1.5 miles RT.  A very nice day at Thacher Park in the Helderburgs.


  1. Great review of Thacher State Park!

    I was wondering if the escarpment trail is at all stroller friendly. It doesn;t seem to be too steep, but is the terrain full of roots and rocks?

  2. Sorry it took so long to get back to you...the escarpment trail should be okay for a stroller. It is very open so you can easily go around any roots and rocks you may encounter. Hope you enjoy your visit!!