John Boyd Thacher & Thompson's Lake State Parks
|Description: Situated on the Helderberg Escarpment a short drive from Albany, these two
nearly contiguous parks have sharply contrasting landscapes. From sheer,
rocky cliffs at Thacher to Thompson’s tranquil woods, streams and lake, these
parks form a New York State Bird Conservation Area. More than 170 species
have been identified, with more than 100 confirmed or probable breeders.|
Fossil-rich limestone tells a fascinating story of life in a shallow sea about
400 million years ago. Now, the sheer rock walls of the escarpment serve as a
prime hawk-migration viewing area. From clifftop overlooks, you’ll have the
unique experience of looking both up and down at raptors gliding on updrafts
from the valley floor far below.
Wildlife to Watch: The common raven, a black bird that is larger than a crow with a thicker beak,
nests among Thacher’s cliffs. Large raptors include turkey vultures, red-tailed
hawks and northern goshawks. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks are smaller
raptor species you may see.
Eastern chipmunks make their burrows in the rocky cliffs. Many species of
warblers, woodpeckers and flycatchers breed in the forest canopy. Bobolinks,
American kestrels, eastern bluebirds and American goldfinches are found in
open meadows and grasslands. Canada geese swim along the lakeshore.
The Jefferson salamander is a species of special concern, and, each spring,
concerned volunteers help hundreds of these amphibians cross the road, to
reach their breeding ponds.
Special Tips: Thompson’s Lake: hiking, camping, canoeing/kayaking, nature center,
boat launch, swimming, beach, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing,
restrooms and parking
Thacher Park: hiking, biking, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing,
snowmobiling, restrooms and parking
These sites have some accessible features: Thompson’s Lake—camping;
Thacher Park—picnic area, scenic overlooks, nature center.
Thompson’s Lake: 518-872-1674, 68 Thompsons Lake Road, East
Berne, NY 12059, www.nysparks.com
Thacher Park: 518-872-1237, 1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville, NY
Thacher Nature Center: 518-872-0800, 87 Nature Center Way,
Voorheesville, NY 12186, www.nysparks.com
Ownership: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Closest Town: New Scotland, Berne and Knox
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: