There are a number of area attractions to enjoy and learn about our environment. Click on each to learn more about the activities they have to offer.
Located in the heart of the Capital District Region, the Albany Pine Bush represents one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. This gently rolling sand plain is home to an unique diversity of animals and plants, including 20 rare species and two rare natural communities.
Six Mile Waterworks is located in the glacial sand plains of Albany's Pine Bush. It is a recreational oasis offering fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. Tucked away in a tiny corner of the city, the 57-acre park boasts picnic tables, grills, expanded parking facilities and a sparkling new state-of-the-art playground facility. Rensselaer Lake, a 43-acre manmade lake, is stocked several times each year with fish from the City's Alcove Reservoir, said to be home to some of the biggest fish in the Capital District.
Dippikill is a private 850-acre wilderness retreat facility owned by the Student Association of the University at Albany. Since 1956 Dippikill has remained true to its mission: To keep the area pristine, limit development and offer visitors a glimpse of nature's beauty while enjoying overnight visits in rustic-style lodging. The cabins and campsites at Dippikill are open to reservations from University at Albany undergraduates and University at Albany affiliates: graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Washington Park in Albany New York is a haven for outdoor activity, including strolling, jogging, picnicking, fishing, site seeing, bird watching, you name it. The park is also a year round hotspot for many popular special events, displays and concerts. Washington Park is among the most beautifully sculpted and well-maintained parks in the Capital Region. It contains over 100 species of trees, including intriguing bonsai trees as well as gigantic oaks.
Thacher State Park, is situated along the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. Even as it safeguards six miles of limestone cliff-face, rock-strewn slopes, woodland and open fields, the park provides a marvelous panorama of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains. The park has volleyball courts, playgrounds, ball fields and numerous picnic areas with nine reservable shelters. Interpretive programs are offered year-round, including guided tours of the famous Indian Ladder Trail. There are over twelve additional miles of trails for summer hiking and mountain biking, and winter cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and snowmobiling.
Thompson's Lake State Park, nestled in the mountains just four miles from the Helderberg Escarpment, is a popular camping ground and recreation area. In addition to 140 wooded campsites, the park comprises a sandy beach, mixed hardwood and conifer forests, limestone outcroppings and open fields. Recreational opportunities include a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a playing field, swingsets, carry-in boat access, rental row boats, fishing areas, and nature trails. Interpretive and recreational programs are offered for campers throughout the summer. During the winter, visitors can cross-country ski and ice fish.
The Normans Kill Preserves consist of three parcels that were obtained from Albany County in 2005 because of non-payment of taxes. The three parcels total 46 acres. They are on both sides of the year-2000 Delaware Avenue landslide; and include over a half-mile of the frontage on the Normans Kill in an area directly across from the City of Albany's Stevens Farm. Trails have been developed on the east and west parcels, which combined are about 42 acres in size.
The crown jewel for bicycling in the Capital District is the 40-mile Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail. The ride begins (or ends) in downtown Albany across from the pedestrian ramp for the Dunn Memorial Bridge (US 9 and US 20). The trail meanders north through the Corning Preserve and follows I-787 into Watervliet where it empties onto local roads. For the remaining 30 miles of the trail, about 26 of them are off-road and all but about 2 miles is paved. The non-paved portions are crushed stone.