John Boyd Thacher State Park is situated along the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. 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 history of the park area dates back around 400 years to a time 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. The park, today, has an Olympic-sized pool, volleyball courts, playgrounds, ball fields and numerous picnic areas with nine reservable shelters.
Interpretive programs are offered year-round, including guided tours of the famous Indian Ladder Trail. There are over twelve additional miles of trails for summer hiking and mountain biking, and winter cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and snowmobiling. The Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center is located 1 1/4 miles outside the park. The center offers exhibits, interactive displays, educational programs, and trails for hiking and skiing.
Primary Access Points And Trail Heads
Thacher Park is located off County Route 157 (Thacher Park Rd) off New Scotland Rd south of Altamont.
Wildlife Species Often Seen
The John Boyd Thacher/Thompson's Lake BCA consists of portions of two nearly contiguous State Parks in Albany County. John Boyd Thacher sits atop the Helderberg escarpment, a 100 foot high calcareous cliff. Thacher is dominated by forested uplands. The Thompson's Lake area consists of additional upland forest, old fields and a bur oak-black ash swamp adjacent to the lake.
There are 171 species of birds that have been identified within the John Boyd Thacher/Thompson's Lake BCA, of which 102 are confirmed or probable breeders, including: sharp-shinned hawk (Special Concern), Cooper's hawk (Special Concern), northern goshawk (Special Concern) and golden-winged warbler (Special Concern). The forests support some of the area's highest densities of breeding songbirds such as hermit thrush, winter wren, magnolia, black-throated blue, black-throated green, blackburnian, Canada and worm-eating warblers and Louisiana and northern waterthrushes. This BCA supported the first recent regional nesting of common ravens and is now the nucleus for the population in the area.
Best Seasons And Times For Viewing
Park hours and facility operations are subject to change. Patrons are encouraged to contact the park directly to confirm operating hours before traveling.
- Day Use/Picnicking/Hiking/Nature: Available year round.
The Indian Ladder Trail is open 5/1-11/15, weather permitting. All other trails are open year round.
- Interpretive Programs: Year-round. Call for details
- Picnic Shelter: Available year round. Advance Reservations available mid-April through mid-October by contacting Park Office.
- Skiing, Snowmobiling and Mountain Biking: Available on designated trails only.
- The park is open year round, 8:00am until dusk.
Don’t Miss This When Visiting
- Empire Passport Accepted
- Nature Trail
- Picnic Tables
- Playing Field(s)
- Recreation Programs
- Native Plant Sale (June)
- Trails Day (June)
- Highway Cleanup (three to four times a year)
- Fall Festival (October)
- Wheels in the Woods
- Salamander Rescue (March)
- Nest Box Monitoring (summer months)
- Invasive Species Removal (as required)
- Ice Fishing Contest
Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet, rabies vaccination and proof of same required. Not permitted in buildings or bathing areas.
Site is Child-friendly
Site is Pet-friendly