John Boyd Thacher State Park

Park Overview:

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.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path, X-C skiing, Handicapped
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:25 miles
Park Acreage:2155 acres
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

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. The park has volleyball courts, playgrounds, ballfields and numerous picnic areas with nine reservable shelters. Interpretive programs are offered year-round. From the top of the escarpment, which reaches 1,300 feet in elevation, there are fine views of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys as well as spectacular panoramas of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains of Vermont.

The history of the park area dates back to the late 1570s when the trail now known as the Indian Ladder Trail was used by the Mohawk Iroquois Indians to reach the trading post run by Henry Hudson. It was here that in 1777, at a spot known as Tory Cave, Jacob Salsbury found refuge from settlers during the Burgoyne Invasion.

The park is open year round, 8:00am until sunset. Seasonal parking fees are charged. There are several pavilions with toilet facilities which can be rented for private parties.

Nearby, Thompson's Lake State Park and Emma Treadwell Thatcher Nature Center provide additional opportunities for recreation.

Download a free trail map of the park. 

Trails Overview:

The Long Path (aqua) traverses the park for its entire length from south to north and reaches its current end-to-ender point in the park. A northern route from a parking area on Beaver Dam Road takes it 1 mile into the main park facility, where it can be used to access the Paint Mine-Hop Field Trail System. This system begins on the opposite side of the road from the Indian Ladder Trail and is available all year round. About 10 miles of trails with red, blue, yellow, white and the Long Path's aqua blazes provide options for many loop hikes. Combinations can be long, short, level or fairly steep. Continuing north, the Open Space Institute's Helderberg acquisitions have enabled the extension of the Long Path to a parking area on Old Stage Road and allowed legal public access to High Point Lookout along the way.

The famous and historic Indian Ladder Trail (0.5 mile, unblazed) is open only from May 1 to November 15, weather permitting. There are benches, bridges and stairs where needed. Guided tours are available. When it is open, Long Path hikers can divert along its fascinating, fossil viewing route.

A self guided Nature Trail connects other sections of the trail system where the walker can see many interesting geologic features, including caves, waterfalls, old farms and foundations, and a dynamite shack.


The park's main parking areas are on Route 157, off Rte. 85, 15 miles southwest of Albany.

Contact Information:John Boyd Thacher State Park
Region:Long Path
Fees:Yes, click on 'Contact Information' for further information

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

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