Approximately a 20 minute drive from Albany, the Bennett Hill Preserve offers a climb to the top of a plateau 1135 feet above sea level, with a nice view of the surrounding hilltown area and beyond. This trail is maintained by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. With around 400 feet in elevation gain, the hike does require some uphill climbing, although not at an overly intense level.
Going to the top and looping back down covers approximately 3 miles, although the distance can vary based on which trails you take. From the parking lot, located not far from Route 443, you'll sign in at the initial trail sign and begin walking on the green trail. This trail goes alongside a farm, where you may see cows out grazing in the field.
Soon, the trail begins to climb into the woods and toward the top of the hill. At about 2/3 of a mile in, you can choose to turn onto the red trail, or continue another quarter of a mile to the end of the green trail. Right before the green trail ends, you'll encounter a unique spring complete with water running out of a pipe into a bathtub.
At the terminus of the green trail, you'll come to an intersection with the yellow trail, where you can turn in either direction. The yellow trail will loop around back to the same spot (on the way back, watch for the sign with the yellow trail markers noting the intersection, as the green marker for the path down is not very prominent). You can also turn onto the red trail midway along the yellow trail.
Approximately halfway around the yellow loop, you'll come to an overlook where the brush has been cleared for a view down to the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see distant hills, as well as the city of Albany and nearby towns. Just past this overlook point, I noted another slight clearing, although not with as great a view. When the leaves are off the trees, the view is likely better.
See a detailed trail map courtesy of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.
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