The Bozenkill preserve located in Altamont NY is an interesting area. About 30 minutes west of Albany this preserve boasts 214 acres with an additional 400 acres protected by MHLC, and is somewhat remote when compared to some of the other MHLC areas.
“Flowing from the Helderberg Escarpment, the Bozen Kill originates from wetlands in Schenectady County and Duane Lake near Delanson and builds as it heads off the mountain. After passing through the Nature Conservancy’s Christman Preserve, the stream flows through the largely inaccessible Bozen Kill Ravine before passing Altamont, eventually entering the Watervliet Reservoir, the primary drinking water source for Watervliet and much of Guilderland.” *
The name Bozenkill is derived from the Dutch words “Boos” meaning angry*, and “Kille” meaning creek.** As the Capital Region of New York is rich in Dutch influence, “Kill” is a very common name of many area waterways. (ie: Normans Kill, Beaver Kill, Snook Kill etc.)
There is enough parking for what looks like 8-10 cars. The lot is unpaved so may be a little muddy in wet weather. There is a “Tick” warning (as is in most wild areas) so tick repellent is a good idea, especially if you bring children along. I would also strongly recommend that you keep a close eye on them when near the creek, especially after a rainfall, as the water becomes very heavy and fast.
This preserve also contains some Geocaches, which is another great form of entertainment for the kids. If you are unfamiliar with Geocaching, you can learn more about it here.
Do you like mud? Well this preserve has it. Quite frankly I am not sure if it will be as muddy later in the year, but judging from the amount of board crossings and rock fill on the trails, I’m thinking maybe. But that’s ok. Hikers shouldn’t mind a little mud. Proper hiking footwear is a must. I would use gaiters as well. Trekking poles may be a good idea also, as some areas of the trails can be a little slippery. Poles will also be helpful for some of the water crossings that you will find, depending on which trail you choose.
There are 3 trails that you can take. Two of them are “out and back” and one “Loop” The shortest is the “Mike Love” trail or Blue trail which is a loop. This is a nice little jaunt that skirts the Bozenkill. It’s about .17 miles in length, and a very nice walk. Again I would caution those with children to keep and eye on them to prevent an accident.
The main trail is the “White” trail. a little over half mile in length. A very easy walk albeit with some muddy areas. Speaking of mud. please, if you come across a wet or muddy area, do not go around it unless there is already a trail that does so. Many trails become eroded and widened due to this practice. Expect to get dirty, wear the proper footwear, and walk on- not around.
There is a lovely scenic “overlook” at about the halfway point of the White trail. There is a sign dedicating this spot to Henri and Doris Plant. I was not familiar with these names, but a quick Google search revealed who they were. Henri was a very interesting man. You can read more about them here, but Henri was very focused on the great outdoors and was involved with the Nature Conservancy’s Christman Sanctuary, which the Bozenkill flows through on its way to reservoir.
The White trail follows a gentle grade both up to the overlook and down to where it ends at the creek again. you’ll find a mix of hardwoods and young pine. You will find mix of birds also. As you approach the end of the White trail, it intersects the “Red” trail.
I really enjoy the Red trail. It meanders along the bottomland in a very nice, private kind of way. (Hikers will understand what I mean.) It’s a little muddy, but that’s ok. There are several small stream crossings, and a small stretch which almost looks like the trail is in a feeder stream. The trail dead ends at a point which looks like it may be the tail of the Bozenkill Ravine. A great place to just “sit” and listen to the sound of the rushing water. If you bring a little alcohol stove and brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea. (Fires are not permitted in the preserves.)
So if you happen to be in the Capital District and are looking for a great way to get into the wild, Try the Bozenkill Preserve. I think you will find that you will be glad that you did.
You can also donate time or money to the MHLC. This helps in keeping these great areas maintained and open to the public. You can find out more ways to help at https://www.mohawkhudson.org/ and click on the “Participate” tab.