Hike the Indian Ladder Trail

Indian Ladder Trail

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
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RT Distance 3.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 200 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Beautiful Trail w/ Cool History

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.


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