• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    3.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    200 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Enjoy a picnic and walk along the Helderberg escarpment passing waterfalls, streams and caves in John Boyd Thatcher State Park.

There are many parking areas within the park. Park at the overlook parking. From here you head west following the wood fence. This is the Cliff Top trail. Approximately after walking 0.5 miles you will reach the stairs that will lead you to the base of the cliffs. This marks the start of the Indian Ladder trail.

The trail does have interpretive signs along the way. The trail will pass under two waterfalls, streams and caves. Check out the caves, you can enter a short ways. You will reach a second set of stairs which will lead you back to the Cliff Top trail.

You will then follow the top of the cliffs back to your vehicle. The top is beautiful as well as you now walk over the top of the falls. It also offers views of the Capital Region.

Pack List

  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Water
  • Snack
  • Camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

First, I would highly encourage reading the historical signs found along the way. Knowing that you are walking trails along a cliff face that have been used since before the colonization of North America creates a feeling of connection to the land and its history. Though going off the trails is advised against by the park (just plugging this as a disclaimer), my friend and I found some cool short climbing spots with more spectacular views of the forest below. If you're willing to get a little dirty, you will get a lot more out of this trail than most do as it is a popular tourist destination for locals looking to go on an easy hike along a regularly maintained trail. We went in July, so the waterfalls along the trail were mostly dry but still beautiful where they ran. Definitely going to visit again in early spring to get the most of them.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Rebecca Nichols Explorer

I hike to push my limits both mentally and physically, take in the beauty of the great outdoors, and just to get away from it all. Every chance I get you will find me in the mountains, on a kayak or ending my day by the campfire!

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

4 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves