John Boyd Thacher State Park

John Boyd Thacher State Park

Waterfall and Cliffs along Indian Ladders Trail - Thacher State Park - Photo credit: Jeremy Apgar Waterfall and Cliffs along Indian Ladders Trail - Thacher State Park - Photo credit: Jeremy Apgar
42.654929, -74.017961

John Boyd Thacher State Park is situated along the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. These deposits have been called the key to North American geology.

John Boyd Thacher State Park

Even as it safeguards six miles of limestone cliff-face, rock-strewn slopes, woodland and open fields, the park provides a marvelous panorama of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Thacher State Park has volleyball courts, playgrounds, ballfields and numerous picnic areas with nine reservable shelters. Interpretive programs...

Park Acreage:

2155.00 acres



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Contact Information

Web Link:

John Boyd Thacher State Park


(518) 872-1237


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Dogs in park:

Dogs on leash

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Trip Reports

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January 21, 2018
Make sure the Indian Ladder is open!

The Indian Ladder Trail at John Boyd Thacher is probably the best hike you can do that's within an hour of Albany.

While it is short, It has a lot going on, especially with the newly built environmental center. There are a lot of fossils and displays that explain what you're seeing and it is definitely recommended that you go in before you hike the trail (Or just hike it twice. Or do whatever HYOH).

The trail itself is awesome, going down the stairs and arriving underneath the cliff feels like your in the jungle, or a bad ripoff of Jurassic Park. Either way that's my favorite thing about this hike. There is no reason something this awesome should be so close to Albany, NY. It is amazing.

As you progress along the trail, make sure to look up at the caves and ledges in the rocks. I have imagined climbing up to them a thousand times (But I don't because I don't have a deathwish). There are also some caves closer to the ground that you can explore, just bring a headlamp. Finally as you walk on the trail you'll see two places where water emerges from the cliff face, you can read about the natural filtration process at the environmental center. Then, last but not least, you see Minelot Falls. If you are here to see the waterfall, come after a rain in late spring. Mid to late Summer it can be almost bone-dry, but It is kind of impressive walking behind it when it's pouring water. Look for salamanders on the rock wall when it's wet or just continue onwards. Watch your head on the last section as it does get to be pretty tight.

At the top, explore the trail along the cliff and look for peregrine falcons and other birds that nest on the cliff.

Last thing: Make sure the trail is open when you go. The last time I went it was closed due to some loose rocks falling on people, and it is closed from the end of October until May. This vastly impacts your experience at the park, though there are other trails to explore here (Including the Long Path!)

February 20, 2011
John Boyd Thacher State Park
We do have Trail Map 200 also for sale, and it probably should be listed as such in the 'Buy Trail Map'. The online version of the Long Path Guide is reaching completion, and the sections describing JBTSP are ready. Maybe links to them can be provided? They are: and Maybe I'm authorized to do it myself, but I'm not sure I won't make a mess of it! Thanks, Jakob
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