Nature Preserves and Trails
The Schenectady County Forest Preserve is located in the Town of Duanesburg on Lake Road (County Route 88). The 102 acre forest serves as a multi-recreational property where the public can hike, hunt (Nov 15-Dec 15), fish, cross-country ski and snowshoe. This preserve is historically significant as one of James Duane's original Great Lots where remains of stonewalls, a farm house foundation and a small family cemetery can be found.
The Preserve is comprised of a number of habitats, including native hardwood forest a red pine plantation and a man-made pond that was dug in 1982. Many wildflowers bloom in the spring, such as jack-in-the-pulpit, red trillium, and ten fern species.
Directions to the County Forest:
NYS Thruway to Exit 25. Take I-890 West to Campbell Rd (Exit 2a). From Campbell Rd turn right on Putnam Rd, and go 1.7 miles to Rte 159 (Mariaville Rd). Turn right on Rte 159 and go approximately 4.5 miles to the intersection of Rte 159 and Lake Road. Turn left on to Lake Road proceed 4 miles to the entrance of the County Forest parking area
The Indian Kill Nature Preserve is located in the Town of Glenville on Hetcheltown Road.
The 100-acre Indian Kill Preserve follows the banks and bluffs of the Indian Kill. The Preserve is comprised of a number of diverse habitats including, native hardwood forest, conifer plantations, and wetlands. The Preserve is an attractive area for hiking, nature study, fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
The Preserve is also a special place for wildflowers in the spring, and a variety of fern species. Hepatica, trout lilies, trillium, cohosh, toothwort, and jack-in-the-pulpits bloom along the stream banks. Eleven species of ferns grow along the trails, emphasizing the diverse habitats of the area, moist stream banks, wetlands, cool north-facing bluffs and the dry sandy uplands.
Directions to the Indian Kill Preserve:
Go north on Rte 50 to Glenridge Road. Turn right on Glenridge Road and go 1.3 miles to traffic signal at Maple Ave. Turn left and go 0.4 miles to parking lot on left at junction of Maple Avenue and Hetcheltown Road. Parking is on the left.
The Plotter Kill Preserve (located in the town of Rotterdam on Route 159) contains 632 acres of rugged hardwood and coniferous forest along the Plotter Kill, a scenic tributary to the Mohawk River. The gorge of the Plotter Kill was cut by melt waters at the close of the ice ages about 10,000 years ago. The ledges give the stream its name: platte (flat) and kill (creek): Please exercise caution when hiking in the Preserve; the terrain is very rugged with steep slopes and ledges near the trails.
The Plotter Kill drops 900 feet in its 3.5 mile descent from Rynex Corners to the Mohawk River. There are three spectacular waterfalls: the Upper Falls, Lower Falls and the Rynex Creek Falls at the junction of Rynex Creek and the Plotter Kill. All are magnificent sights in spring high water and in winter ice. The Upper Falls is 60 feet high, and the others 40 feet.
The Plotter Kill Preserve is wonderful for nature study. Over 600 species of plants have been found in the area including: trilliums, violets, lilies, ferns and club mosses.
Directions to Plotter Kill Preserve:
NYS Thruway to Exit 25. Take I-890 West to Campbell Rd (Exit 2a). From Campbell Road, turn right on Putnam Road. Go 1.7 miles to State Route 159 (Mariaville Road). Turn right on Route 159 and go 1.9 miles to the Reserve sign and parking lot on the right. The Coplon Road entrance is accessible from Mariaville Road.
The Great Flats Nature Trail is an important wetland habitat, located on the border of the City of Schenectady and the Town of Rotterdam, located on West Campbell Road (Route 337) just off exit 2a of Interstate I-890.
From the trailhead, a well-defined path is followed through woodland displaying a variety of plants and trees. The wooded area eventually gives way to wetlands and a small lake. Here the path becomes a boardwalk round the lake. The trail is a circular route of about 3 miles total, there are several small side paths taking the total trail length to about 4 miles.
The Lisha Kill Preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy, is a rare example of an old growth forest in a developed area. Some of trees (Eastern white pine and Eastern hemlock) are estimated to be well over 200 years old.
Trailhead: Take I-87 (Northway) to exit 6. Go west on NY Rte 7 for 4.4 miles. Turn right onto Mohawk Road. After 0.7 miles, turn left on Rosendale Rd. Continue for another 1.1 miles to parking area on left side - 0.3 miles past River Rd. Look for the brown sign (Lisha Kill Preserve). Park in the lot on west side of the old garage. (Lat:42.7965 Lon:-73.8595)
The Gateway Landing-Rotary Park is located in the Town of Rotterdam along the Mohawk River, immediately west of the City of Schenectady's Historic Stockade area. This park provides dock space for small boats, car top boat access to the river, fishing opportunities and an important link to the river front along with a connection to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.