A great place for a walk in the woods, the PKP is a world class nature preserve located near Albany in New York State’s Capital Region. On this website you’ll find trail maps, directions, history and information, photos, notes from a hiker. —Ed Atkeson
May 20, 2013: Trails are dampish today but no mosquito problem. The falls are at a trickle. The Red Trilliums are gone, we have Wild Geraniums and Buttercups, and these. After some searching I found the name Fringed Polygala. Watch for the efts. —Ed
April 5, 2013: I saw a pair of bluebirds at the Coplon Road trailhead, perched right on the sign. And the trail-clearers have been at work. Thanks! >>
March 30, 2013: The clean-boot season is over. Some trails are spongy leaf duff, some are sidewalks of sheer ice, some are muddy. Microspikes are recommended.
***The creek gets bigger as the snow and ice melts, bigger and noisier. It’s more fun to hike a rim trail if you can hear the little stream roaring below, but the crossings do get harder. The red trail blithely crosses the stream but some days there’s too much water, you just can’t cross. So instead of a loop you may end up with an out-and-back. Today I was able to get across the landslide crossing by tightrope-walking a narrow log.
***The falls are pretty satisfying. The upper falls is thundering away with boxcar-sized blocks of ice breaking up below. Keep the kids back from the edge.
***The picture is of the top of the Rynex falls. Even crossing the little Rynex had to be carefully done, avoiding the dreaded wetfoot. —Ed
3-24-2013: The preserve is still completely snow covered, still fun and challenging on snowshoes. This is Fairy Staircase Falls under ice. You can go up the Rynex to see the little falls, then go left up the hill perpendicular to the stream and hit the yellow Highland Trail, go right and follow it around and down to the red trail, go left to the footbridge.
3-8-2013: Reality’s user interface has a global effect called snow that completely transforms the visuals.
I headed for the woods, lucky to be there while the effect was still playing.
February 23: That’s me at the bottom of the upper falls, photo by Scott Meyer. Most trails are still snow covered, but not by much. Still glad to have snowshoes for surefootedness, and for keeping safe on the frozen stream. —Ed
1-11-2013: I’m a leave-no-trace kind of guy, but I think the bowties are pretty delightful. There are about 25 or so, low impact (thumbtack attachment) where the trail from Mariaville road turns and goes down to the footbridge.
***The preserve got 6 inches of snow last weekend so snowshoes start to make sense, and it’s been very cold so the creek is frozen and that opens up things. I took the spur from the red trail to the top of the lower falls and then walked up the creek to the bottom of the upper falls which is a giant wall of ice. Attention ice climbers, it’s a pretty good site.
1-19-2013: It snowed again last week but not very much. Today I used snowshoes even though there wasn’t really enough snow to warrant. The snowshoes (Atlas) give you a good flat platform, you can confidently take a step without worrying if you’re going to turn an ankle by stepping wrong on a snow covered root. You can walk right along instead of picking your way. Some snowshoes with a big toe claw wouldn’t be as good as the Atlas brand in this situation.
***The snowshoes also helped when I got to the Landslide crossing. There’s a lot of water in the Plotter Kill at the moment and it isn’t easy to cross. The shoes helped me bridge some ice chunks. Hiked the waterfall loop backwards, starting with the blue trail from the Mariaville Road trailhead. The preserve is pretty wonderful at the moment, snow-covered with the stream lively and half iced.
***I’ve put up some printable trail maps at Kevin Cataldo’s suggestion. Two-page letter size and tabloid. —Ed
December 16, 2012: The falls are starting to ice up nicely. Click the thumbnail for a view of the Upper Falls from the blue trail, south rim.
***A while back Brent Pierce posted, “I have recently noticed there are numbered signs throughout the park. Any idea as to what they are about? Thanks!” …I don’t know what they’re there for. If someone does, please leave a comment here and let us know? Just curious. thanks, —Ed