Day hikes near Albany?

ask aoa hiking art Theresa asks via Twitter:

What is your favorite place to go for a scenic day hike around Albany?

A few places immediately came to mind: Peebles Island, the Papscanee Preserve, the Plotter Kill. But one of the great things about the Capital Region is that there are plenty of ways to get hip-deep in nature without having to drive too far.

We all have a favorite place; what's yours?

Photo: Flickr user dvs


Saratoga P.L.A.N.(Preserving Land And Nature) has conserved over 3,300 acreds of farmland, trail corridors, historic places and natural areas in Saratoga County. Eight preserves are currently open to the public, with two more scheduled to open during 2011. Trail maps and preserve guides can be found at

The Long Path to Hang Glider Cliff at Thatcher State Park - you can see the Albany skyline from there and feel like you're in a world of your own. I'm actually working on a story about some interesting history there.

My second favorite is the Lisha Kill in Niskayuna (not sure if that's considered 'around Albany' but I do love it):

Indian Ladder Trail and the surrounding trails at Thacher Park in Voorheesville. Also, I went to Bash Bish Falls on the NY/MA border last summer, it was a short hike but had awesome waterfalls at the end!

I think that I would be too afraid to hike at Peebles Island. You never know what you might discover.

It's a good time of year to go to The Pine Bush, before it gets too ticktastic

Christman Sanctuary outside Schenectady is nice for a little day hike. Kind of like Plotterkill.

If you take 2 out towards Mass, right before the border at Petersburg pass is nice hiking. Go North to go to snow hole, south to Berlin Mountain.

But the best day hikes in NY state, or any other as far as I'm concerned, are in the Gunks right outside of New Paltz. It's an hour away, but well worth it. Typically you drive up the mountain, then can hike around the cliffs and the mountain lakes without having to kill yourself for the views.

Several of my personal faves have been mentioned already, but I went out to Vroman's Nose in Schoharie County last summer and that was pretty cool. It was a 45 minute drive, though. Also Five Rivers has some nice trails.

The trails in Grafton Lake State Park are pretty nice.

If you go south the Vroman's Nose trail is AWESOME. Kaaterskill falls are great too. It's an hour drive but well worth it!

I really like the Huyck Preserve. It's a beautiful piece of land (waterfalls!) -- with a few loops that take 1.5 - 2 hours (at a leisurely pace).

I'll give my enthusiastic +1 to Five Rivers, Huyck and Thacher Park but also check out the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy preserves. I'd recommend Wolf Creek Falls and Bennett Hill in particular.

I'll second Jackers regarding The Pine Bush. Go before it's all ticks. I also like Thacher Park AWAY from the overlook. I'm a big fan of Five Rivers. Once you get more than a quarter of a mile away from the parking lot, it's really quiet and pretty. Grafton Lakes is good too.

Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. Lakes, waterfalls, hills and views. Also Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands

Liz- I'm looking forward to your writeup on Hang Glider Cliff! I've been to Thacher probably a hundred times and I've never heard of it :D

How close is "around Albany?" If you're willing to drive a little over an hour, the trails at North/South Lake and Kaaterskill Falls can't be beat.

Bash Bish Falls is beautiful, as are Schodack Landing, Thatcher and Five Rivers. Saratoga State Park has a couple of good walks, but I don't know about hikes. If you're heading north, Sleeping Beauty - Lake George in Fort Ann is a 7 miler, and you can head into town to jump in the lake or hit the outlets in Fort Ann while your up there.

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