We love visiting Thacher Park, but we have usually only gone to relax or hike the Indian Ladder Trail. The Indian Ladder Trail is incredibly scenic, as it meanders around the edge of the cliffs and offers amazing views, waterfalls, and more. It really is a must-see if you live in the area.
(read my Indian Ladder Trail post here).
Of all the years I have lived here, we haven’t checked out other trails at the park, and there are over 25 miles of trails to explore. I had heard about some nice waterfalls along the Paint Mine trail, and in light of quarantine, I was looking for quiet trails to wander.
It is easy to find Thacher Park, and you can even type in which trailhead you are looking for in Google Maps. We parked right in the Paint Mine lot. The way the park is laid out is there is a large park area with open areas, a visitor’s center, several parking lots with overlooks, and different parking lots to access trail heads.
I highly recommend a trail map if you are going to explore the trails. (You can download a copy here). I personally recommend saving a copy on your phone, especially since it is in color and you need the colors as a reference.
The trails can get confusing, and even though we only went about 4.5 miles, we took quite a meandering mix of trails. (The route we took: Paint Mine Lot, W2, red/yellow/green, green, W4, orange, W5, green, W7, red, Red/green, W2). There are so many combinations of trails you can take, and a map helps keep you on track.
The trails are clearly marked with signs and trail markers everywhere.
Not far from the Paint Mine parking lot was this waterfall. It is close to the parking area and you could hear the rush of the water right away.
A little further up the trail, there was a nice place to view more falls from a bridge.
The trails we went on were fairly flat, through wooded areas.
We went the first weekend in May, and saw lots of pretty spring wildflowers, like this Bloodroot.
We also some some Trout Lily (below), and Trillium.
The kids found some red efts (Eastern Newts) along the way, as well as salamanders.
These are common in the area (the photo below is from the Indian Ladder Trail).
There was an interesting marshy area along the trail, and we stopped to listen to the chorus of spring peepers (frogs).
The moss and rock formations here are interesting, and remind me a lot of Limestone Rise Preserve nearby (see my post here).
I must have jinxed us when we were about 3/4 of the way back to the car and said that I was surprised that the trail wasn’t muddy. It wasn’t long after that, that we hit some seriously muddy sections. We were able to navigate around much of it, but this comes as no surprise when we hike in the spring. There is just a lot of rain and mud on most trails.
Overall, we had a nice time checking out about 4.5 miles of trails. The trails were fairly flat and meandered through the woods, and makes for a good family hike. We do plan on going back to check out the other portions of trails that we did not have time for.
Visit Thacher Park at https://parks.ny.gov/parks/128/details.aspx