Hiking Trails In The Capital Saratoga Region

Featuring tremendous natural beauty, the Capital-Saratoga Region offers visitors many hiking and walking trails throughout the region.

Albany County

John Boyd Thacher State Park

Discover all that Albany has to offer. Meet, Stay, Play, Getaway

Hiking trails weave throughout John Boyd Thacher State Park. The trails hug the Heldeberg escarpment with magnificent views of the valley below. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve contains nearly 18 miles of official marked, multiple-use trails. Most trails are considered easy to moderate and vary from wide open sandy trails to narrow, grassy woodland passages. The topography is generally flat with gradual slopes up and down the natural sand dunes.

Fulton County

Enjoy Scenic Beauty In Fulton County

With over 74,000 acres of wild forest, the options for hiking are endless in Fulton County.  There are a number of hiking Trailheads, from shorter 1.5 mile hikes, to advanced, multi-day jaunts.  Fulton County’s location in the southern Adirondack Park makes it the ideal place for hiking enthusiasts. Hike the Kane Mountain Trail in the Town of Caroga where you follow an old jeep trail to a fire observer’s cabin and climb the restored fire tower on the summit for views of a number of Fulton County lakes.  The 133-mile-long Northville-Lake Placid Trail begins at the Northville Bridge in Fulton County.

Rensselaer County

Rensselaer County is full of excellent hiking opportunities. The Taconic Crest Trail, on top of the Taconic Mountain Range that separates New York State from its neighbors, Vermont and Massachusetts is a terrific one. Trailhead locations include NY Route 2 at the top of the Petersburgh Pass and Southeast Hollow Road in the town of Berlin. There are hiking trails for all abilities in Grafton Lakes State Park, many with views of the ponds and lakes in the park. Grafton Lakes State Park (518)279-1155 is located off NY Route 2 in the town of Grafton, and provides opportunities to explore the Rensselaer Plateau’s unique environment. Additional hiking on the Rensselaer Plateau can be found at the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center, Cherry Plain State park and right along the Hudson River at Schodack Island State Park.. In Southern Renssealer County on Staats Island Road, is the Papscannee Island Nature Preserve with hiking trails and interpretive trails. Urban hikers can find many opportunities in the city of Troy. Several marked trails take hikers past historical sites and architectural gems. There’s also the Riverfront Park Trail.

Saratoga County

Saratoga County Hiking Trail

For a short hike or a longer day driving between hiking trails in western Saratoga County, try the Glenwild Nature Trail and the Homestead County Forest in the Town of Providence, the Albia Pond and Palmer Lake State Forest Preserves in Edinburg, and the Daketown and Middle Grove State Forests in Greenfield. Also located in the northern section of Saratoga County, is the Lincoln Mountain State Forest in Greenfield, and the Moreau Lake State Park, a 4,110 acre park located along the Hudson River. Travel southeast to Northumberland’s Fire Pond County Forest, the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park, the Taylor Road or Kalabus-Perry County Forests. The City of Saratoga Springs has hiking trails along Railroad Run just west of downtown, the Saratoga Spa State Park and Bog Meadow, which is out Rt. 29.

Schenectady County

The Plotter Kill Preserve (located in the town of Rotterdam on Route 159) contains 632 acres of rugged forest along a 2.5-mile gorge. Three large waterfalls cascade down the Kill creating a spectacular site in the spring. There are three trails through the preserve. The first, an easy walk (1/2) mile takes you to a lookout over the high falls. The longest trail will take you all day and makes a long circuit of the preserve’s high ground over each side of the ravine.

One of the county’s most popular trails, the Claire Schmitt trail in the Indian Kill Preserve, crosses the stream on a bridge built on the old dam which impounded water for the former Glenridge Hospital. The trail wanders through the 100-acre Preserve, (Hetcheltown Road in Glenville) and follows the banks of the Indian Kill. The preserve is comprised of a number of diverse habitats including forest, past farmed fields, and wetlands. Spring wildflowers abound in this preserve. Look for Trillium, Jack in the Pulpits, Hepatica and Bishop’s Cap. 

Washington County

Sunset From Pilot Knob Ridge

Northern & Adirondack Park Region 
Adirondack Multi-Use Hiking, Biking and Horseback Trail System. There are numerous hiking, biking and horseback riding opportunities in northern Washington County along the eastern side of Lake George. New York State maintains a total of 41.25 miles as multiple-use foot, biking1and horse trails in Washington County in the Towns of Fort Ann and Dresden. Originally constructed as horse trails, the majority of these trails are on the public lands of the New York State Forest Preserve. These trails follow streams with waterfalls and offer spectacular views of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George, Lake Champlain and Vermont's Green Mountains. The horseback riding system has trails for single lane and side by riding on a variety of loops. Many trails have lean-tos for overnight camping. Altogether, the eastern shore of Lake George has over 60 miles of well-graded trails for hiking, biking, snowmobile and horseback riding. 

Shelving Rock, Sleeping Beauty and Buck Mountains are all located in the Town of Fort Ann and all start from the same trailhead (Hogtown Road Trailhead). All three have marked hiking and horseback riding trails. Some mountain biking is allowed on the trails, but steeper trails at the top are closed to bikes. The Shelving Rock trail is a 7-mile loop with a vertical rise of 1300 feet. The hike is approximately 3½ hours. There is state access to Lake George and a designated campsite, as well.

The Sleeping Beauty Mountain trail is a 2.3-mile hike to the summit with a 1,038-foot vertical rise. There are many switchbacks making this a moderate 2½ hour hike. Buck Mountain is a 6.6-mile hike that has a vertical rise of 2,000 feet. The hike should take approximately 4½ hours and offers a 360o view at the summit. Parking for cars and horse trailers is located at the trailhead parking area. Directions to the Hogtown Road trailhead and parking for the Lake George Trails System: From NYS Route 149 take Buttermilk Falls Road heading north. At 3.2 miles this road becomes Sly Pond Road (the pavement ends). At 8.7 miles the Hogtown Road comes in from the right. Continue straight. You are now on Shelving Rock Road. The Trailhead is 9.4 miles from NYS Route 149.

Located in the Town of Dresden, Black Mountainat 2646 feet, is the tallest mountain above Lake George. This is a difficult 8.5-mile trail with a vertical rise of 1,100 feet that should take approximately 6 hours to complete. You will find a ranger’s cabin and an abandoned fire tower at the summit. The mountain has NYS signed hiking, mountain biking 1 and horseback riding trails. Directions: Located between Ticonderoga and Whitehall. From NYS Route 22 (at Clemons) drive 2.6 miles west on County Route 6 toward Huletts Landing and bear (south) left to Pike Brook Road; the trailhead and parking is approximately 0.8 miles.

East Bay Wildlife Management Area encompasses 38 acres off County Route 10 in the Town of Whitehall and is primarily a wetland preserve known for hunting and fishing, especially waterfowl. For more information concerning East Bay Wildlife Management Area, please contact the Region 5 Bureau of Wildlife in Warrensburg at: 518-623-1240.

Gull Bay Preserve, with 472 acres in the Town of Putnam, provides scenic vistas of Gull Bay and southern Lake George. The preserve includes part of Sucker Brook, which is considered one of the most important wetlands in the Lake George watershed and is home to a great blue heron rookery containing over 30 nests.http://www.lglc.org/NaturePreserves/GullBay/  Directions: From NYS Route 22 take Gull Bay Road approximately 1.75 miles to Sagamore Road. The dirt road entrance to the preserve is 0.6 miles down Sagamore Road.  The Lake George Land Conservancy has established more than two miles of hiking trails with moderate to steep slopes and hosts nature excursions as part of its field trip series. The blue trail is a 0.3 mile trail that follows an old logging road uphill to an overlook. Just below the blue trail the orange and yellow trails cut off and loop around either side of the wetland to the heron rookery and beaver dam. Sections of trails may be seasonally flooded and not passable.  A rookery is a nesting colony. A single rookery can contain up to 100 nests. The Great Blue Heron is North America’s largest heron.

Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve is a 223 acre preserve located in the Town of Fort Ann. A two-mile loop trail with a moderately steep slope climbs approximately 650 feet to an overlook gazebo that provides a view of the southern Lake George basin and Adirondack Mountains. A waterfall is located about 1.5 miles beyond the overlook.http://www.lglc.org/NaturePreserves/PilotKnob/ 

For additional information on either of the above preserves contact: Lake George Land Conservancy on Lake Shore Drive. PO Box 1250, Bolton Landing NY 12814 Tel: 518- 644-9673. www.lglc.org/default.asp  Directions: Traveling from the west, take NYS Route 9N to the intersection of NYS Route 9. Go north a ½ mile on NYS Route 9 to NYS Route 9L. Go north on NYS Route 9L approximately 7 miles to Pilot Knob Road. Traveling from the east, at the intersection NYS Route 4 and NYS Route 149 (in the Village of Fort Ann) head west on NYS Route 149 for approximately 7 miles to the intersection with NYS Route 9L. Go north on NYS Route 9L about 5 miles to Pilot Knob Road. The U- shaped parking area is about 0.7 miles up Pilot Knob Road.

Trail maps, guidebooks and other publications covering the Adirondacks can be purchased from The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The ADK is dedicated to the protection and responsible use of the state parks and preserves. For information, call 518-668-4447 or visit their website at www.adk.org 
Southern and Western Washington County 
Battenkill State Forest, the newest of all of the Washington County recreational areas, includes the 2.61 mile Peaked Rock Trail. The marked trailhead is located 1.1 miles southwest of the intersection of County Route 313 and County Route 61. The trailhead and parking are on Route 313, which runs along the Battenkill.  Access can also be found at Battenkill Valley Outdoors.

Carter Pond Wildlife Management Area is located along State Route 338 in the Town of Greenwich. The State-Owned Wildlife Management Area (State Forest Preserve) on Carter’s Pond is a 435 acre facility that has nature trails, cross-country skiing, canoeing, hunting & fishing. Open year round. A parking area is located on County Route 49. For information, contact Region 5 Bureau of Wildlife at Ray Brook 518-897-1291 or Warrensburg 518-623-1240.

Dionondehowa Wildlife Sanctuary & School is located in the Hamlet of Shushan (Town of Salem) and is a non-profit sanctuary, school and land trust on 217 acres bordering the Battenkill. The Sanctuary is accessible to the public through the school. For more information, call 518-854-7764 or visit www.dionondehowa.org.

Feeder Canal Parks and Trail. The Feeder Canal, a conduit for water from the Hudson River to the Champlain Canal, first began moving goods and people by canal boat in 1832. By 1928, the canal was abandoned and left neglected until 1987, when the Feeder Canal Alliance was formed. Through their efforts the historic canal and towpath is now a 7-mile linear park providing the community with recreational opportunities for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking & picnicking. The trail connects to the Warren County Bikeway; a 9.5 mile paved bikeway that extends to the shore of Lake George.

For information contact:

  • Feeder Canal Alliance
  • PO Box 2414
  • Glens Falls NY 12801
  • 518-792-5363

Pember Nature Preserve (sometimes referred to as the Hebron Nature Preserve) consists of 125 acres of wildlife habitats; open fields, wetlands and forests, as well as seven nature trails that offer the walker an easy stroll to a moderate hike. The preserve has two entrances on Route 22 south of the Village of Granville; one at Porter Schoolhouse and one at South Grimes Hill Road.

For information contact:

  • The Pember Library & Museum
  • 33 West Main Street (NYS Route 149)
  • Granville NY 12832
  • Tel: 518-642-1515
  • www.pembermuseum.com