Washington County Hikes: Battenkill State Forest

When you hear ‘Battenkill’ you might think about milk from their creamery. You may have heard of a bicycle race in the area. Maybe you’ve tubed or kayaked down the river, what could be better on a hot summers day? How about a hot sweaty hike, possibly climb, up 1260’? That’s what I’m talking about!! Head to Battenkill State Forest [Just past the entrance for Battenkill Valley Outdoors: 1414 NY-313, Cambridge, NY 12816 you will see a trailhead in a grassy lot] for an out and back just over 5 miles.

battenkill state forestGetting out of the car and stepping into the tall grass of the lot, I had no idea how maintained these trails were going to be.

battenkill state forest 7There was one other car in the lot, they were leaving as we were heading in and ask, ‘you guys heading all the way up?!’ This didn’t help my apprehension. We started out through a meadow of tall grass teeming with wildflowers, butterflies, regular flies, yummy snacking berries, not so sure what those berries are, and summer smells.

battenkill state forest 1 battenkill state forest 10 battenkill state forest 9Before we knew it we were in the woods and no longer had to tromp through the tall grass, dirt and rock was our new surface.

battenkill state forest 3Pass by a little stream and the playing field changes yet again.

battenkill state forest 6Now it is time to start the ascent, and it comes on fast. On a humid day be sure to bring water, you’ll need it. You will be heading up for a large portion of this hike. There are beautiful straights of respite, savor them. A couple of mushrooms and some singing birds will tickle your senses in the otherwise dense forest.

battenkill state forest 2As you near the end you will start descending a bit, and if you think ahead like I do you will be cursing this torturous trail. That means you’ll have more upward hiking on the way back! Keep going though, because you will find no views until the very end. Then you will have earned your reward: a beautiful scene of the rural area will fill your eyes, and a breeze will cool your body.

battenkill state forest 4 battenkill state forest 5We had the sight to ourselves, and the whole hike up was deserted. On the way down we passed a family making the journey with the same tired faces we had not too long ago. We were all laughs and smiles on the way down which I hope lifted their spirits, it went so quickly!

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