First stop is the overlook area where you can park free for an hour. Using the telescopes or just your eyes, you get to see the beautiful scenery. From this overlook you see the famous Helderbergs. We also always pick out the college campus (where we met 35 years ago) and Empire Plaza (since we both work for the State). In addition, there are other landmarks we pick out that we know such as the water tower. We always wonder about the huge industrial park but don’t know much about it. Finally there are some beautiful residences in the valley!
Then we began the ½ mile Indian Ladder Trail. We have taken the trail many times and it has changed greatly since our first trip over 30 years ago. There is more erosion so the trail is narrower. Many "cave" areas are now blocked for exploring and the areas we used to climb up the walls are not reachable. Also there are many more man-made steps and fences to assist you. In addition, there are also many more signs giving you more history of the trail spots, including the historical marker indicating the Tory Cave. But the bottom line is that the hike is still great. In fact the one waterfall reminded me that while Hawaii has spectacular waterfalls, we have a waterfall nearby and our waterfall costs nothing to see!
When we finished hiking the trail, you climb the manmade stairs and take the "high" path back to the overlook parking area. While taking the "high" trail back, you stop and again look at the mountains and valley.
There is one special item of interest for this trip. We were reminiscing about all of the times we went to Thatcher Park in our 33 years. At the end of the trail, someone left a candle for someone to take. The message left was "We left this for you to have a special moment together like we do after 14 years of marriage. Always remember each other." We took the candle and message and plan to keep for a year before we pass it on (with an amended message).
The park has many picnic areas (there is a charge to park in those lots) and the swimming pool area opens later in the season. Since the park had just opened two days prior (on May 1st), the park was not crowded at all.
Click here for some general info.
Click here for another peron’s photos from 2000.
Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
albany, New York
June 15, 2003
From journal A great (& inexpensive) week in the Capital Region
, New York
January 1, 2003
LOCATION: Rt. 157 in Albany County and the Helderberg Mountains. It''s only 16 miles west of the city of Albany.
SUGGESTION: After a full day of sightseeing and exploring downtown Albany, take a ride into the country and see this picturesque park. Make sure to stop at any or all of the well-marked observation points along the rim of the Helderberg Escarpment. Enjoy a free, panoramic view of the NYS University campus and the Empire State Plaza from the Cliff Edge Overview. Take time to hike the rugged .5-mile long Indian Ladder Trail. The Trail is open May l through Labor Day from 8am-8pm and Labor Day through Nov. 15 from 8am-5pm. It''s closed the rest of the year (don''t forget we''re in the NORTHEAST).
From journal THE "NEW" OLD ALBANY