Schenectady Hikes: Plotter Kill Preserve

If you are chasing waterfalls, Plotter Kill Preserve in Schenectady should be placed at the top of your list [Take 890 to Campbell Rd/2a. Turn right on Putnam Rd. Go 1.7 miles to State Route 159/Mariaville Rd. Turn right onto 159 and preserve parking lot will be on right.]! There are three magnificent natural masterpieces to witness here, and lots of people seem to know it. The parking lot was just about at capacity on a Saturday afternoon! While there were many people amuck, it wasn’t hard to find peace and quiet if you weren’t right by the major attractions. The trail system is less than perfect here and everyone seemed to be making their own way around. We started on the half-mile blue trail that was actually well marked and maintained. It was a quiet wooded path which led us to a view level with the first and tallest of the falls, an angry and spewing 60 ft behemoth.

IMG_4656No one seemed to be on the blue trail at all so we had this majestic view to ourselves. We continued on to the most popular of the trails, the red, which takes you up close and personal with the falls. We crossed over a little bridge which had a faded message ‘LOL butts’ spray painted on it, and we were on our way.

IMG_4662The red takes you along the rim of the falls where you get a birds eye view. We were soon standing right abreast with the falls we had seen from the blue trail and marveling at its power.

IMG_4665A whole horde of (20?) people were in front of us, and they were making their own path down to the base of the falls. From the red trail, it doesn’t seem like there are legitimate paths to get down to the base, however everyone is down there having found their own path of least resistance. This is a sad issue on account of people making their own way wherever they feel can lead to habitat destruction and erosion. After peering over the top of the lower falls,

IMG_4677 IMG_4680we found our own already trodden path down to the base. It is a bit farther down, and a bit quieter quite to our likings. Although this falls is a slightly shorter (40ft) than the first it is thicker, it falls in an almost perfect rectangular shape.

IMG_4682As we walked on an unmarked trodden path at the base for a short time we reached another picture perfect moment as the falls extended and continued to cascade down the creek.

IMG_4685Further along the base we spotted the third major waterfall Rynex Creek Falls, another 40 footer appears around a bend, and a more delicate sort.

IMG_4691I generally am a stickler for staying on the trail, but it did feel nice to wander just following the creek watching out for waterfalls as freely as we could. We saw many other interesting sights about including random stone art

IMG_4673 IMG_4676and a stone that looked like a quail fossil.

IMG_4694After some time meandering we were soon cut off by the creek running strong without a bank to stand on. We had to climb up a steep ravine to make it back to the red trail which was high above us. The red trail roams for more miles than we intended to hike on our schedule, so we decided after sometime to head back in the proper direction. We decided to take the long way back including the yellow trail which was very peaceful and quiet. It included some topo change, woodpeckers, butterflies, and ticks! It’s that time of year again folks, remember to check yourselves. We also spotted the first hepatica wildflowers of the season.

IMG_4693 IMG_4698This is a truly wondrous hike to take this time of year with so much to see, beat to your own drum, but respect nature.

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