Monday, August 22, 2016

Indian Ladder Trail
John Boyd Thacher State Park

Albany Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Indian Ladder Trail: Unblazed
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 0:55 Minutes
Estimated Distance: 1.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Amazing Formations and Beautiful Views

The Indian Landder Trail is a famous trail alongside a sheer cliff wall formation and arching cave structures. It is the most popular trail in John Boyd Thacher State Park and is the highlight attraction. The trail itself is very short and only about half a mile in length, but its very scenic and interesting. The Heldenberg formation is a mountain range jutting out near Albany formed of Limestone outcrops most exposed at Thacher State Park. It forms a sheer cliff wall several miles long, with the Indian Ladder Trail traversing part of this in a wide trail with guardrails along most of the way.

I had gone on a camping trip with my family to the area, and we camped out at Thompsons Lake State Campground which is adjacent to Thacher State Park. We parked in the Pear Orchard parking area, going past the playground and following the signs to the Indian Ladder Trail. The trail starts by going through a crevice, and then descinding down steep stairs to the bottom of the cliff wall.

The trail goes past an arching cave, several streams pouring out of the rock wall, and the highlight is Minelot Falls, an incredible waterfall jutting well above the trail with the trail arching underneath it. The summer had been very dry so the falls was a mere trickle, yet was still very impressive. At the end of the trail, it climbs back up steep steps to the top of the escarpment. At the top, I took the Long Path along the edge of the escarpment back to the car.

Map of the Route

Plaque Explaining the Helderberg Escarpment at the Beginning of the Indian Ladder Trail
View of Albany in the Distance Prior to Descending on the Indian Ladder Trail

Disjointed Cave Formation Along the Indian Ladder Trail

Close-up of the Cave Formation

Small Cave

Arching Cave Formation

Plaque Explaining the Underground Stream

Underground Stream Emerging

Talus Along the Side of the Trail

Water Dripping Behind the Falls

Me on the Indian Ladder Trail

Me Again

Approaching Mine Lot Falls

Boardwalk Descending to Mine Lot Falls

Looking Up at Minelot Falls

Plaque Explaining Minelot Falls

View from Under the Overhand at Minelot Falls 

Another View Along the Trail

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