Upstater Destinations: Black Creek Preserve

  |  May 10, 2012

The Black Creek Preserve, one of the many Scenic Hudson parks located in Esopus, has long been one of those places we have taken various out-of-town guests who long to see something that exemplifies the beauty of the Hudson River Valley.

The trail head for the 130-acre preserve is right off of Route 9W, just south of the hamlet of Esopus, and the first sight you see is a gorgeous suspension bridge that spans Black Creek, a rushing, burbling, crystal-clear path of water that cuts through the preserve.

The trail then leads through a variety of terrain, from thick forests of hemlock to open space, which are dotted with vernal pools in the springtime (vernal pools are watery nurseries where amphibians go to lay eggs and raise their young).

Eventually, the trail will lead down a steep incline to the shores of the Hudson River, and the view is breathtaking. Gigantic bluestone boulders line the shoreline, making it possible to scramble down to the water to have a look across the river into Dutchess County. If you squint your eyes to the north, you can just make out Norrie Point State Park in Staatsburg, another great upstate destination.

Black Creek Preserve was once farmland, and the stone walls delineating property lines still stand in many places within the preserve, offering a juxtaposition between the natural, wild landscape that the preserve is now, and what it once was.

The Preserve is a great place to take the kids. Be warned, however, that the hike is no easy stroll in the woods. There are inclines and rocky patches to navigate. But the hike to the river and back isn’t a long one. Depending on how long you linger and look, the whole hike takes around two hours. Wear decent hiking shoes, be prepared for mud after rain, and tuck your pantlegs into your socks, because, like many beautiful places in upstate, ticks abound. But most importantly, take your camera. Black Creek Preserve is rife with photo opportunities.

About Kandy Harris

Kandy is a writer and musician/music teacher living in Saugerties, NY.

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