This hike through the woods, starting from high on the Helderberg Escarpment south of Albany, leads to an incredible overlook off the cliff to the surrounding valley. Part of the Thacher Park trail system, this section offers a much quieter experience than the tourist-crowded main section of the park near the overlook, visitor's center, and picnic areas.
While a few potential access points exist, a parking lot off Old Stage Road provides the easiest entrance for getting to this overlook. You'll start off following the green Long Path signs. You can either break to the left when the High Point trail breaks off, or continue following the Long Path signs, which will also lead you to the High Point overlook.
After approximately a mile of easy hiking (no significant elevation gain, since you're already starting high up), you'll reach an incredible cliff overlook, with views to the Capital Region in the valley below. You can also see distant mountains on a clear day. Be careful, as there is a sheer drop-off with no fences in this section of the park.
For a longer trek, you can continue on other trails in the Thacher Park system. Another overlook exists at Hang Glider Cliff, and you can also follow the Long Path into the main portion of the park.
Overall, this trail offers a great excursion into the woods not far from the Capital Region, along with a different window into the Thacher Park property if you've only seen the main section of the park.
View a detailed map of the surrounding trail system courtesy of New York State
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