Plotterkill Preserve

Plotter Kill is a 632 acre preserve located along the Plotter Kill, a tributary of the Mohawk River in Schenectady County. Kill means “creek” in Dutch, and as this area (like much of New York) was first settled by the Dutch back in the 17th century, there are Kills all over the place.

K thinking about the falls in the middle of the conifer forest.

It’s quite a rugged place, muddy, hilly, with exposed roots everywhere.  The ledges that line the hills/cliffs are apparently what give the Plotter Kill its name: from “Platte” (flat).  At the end of the ice age, it was the melting waters that cut the gorge of the creek.

K and I were just driving by when we decided to pull in and check it out.  We looked at the different loops we could do, and decided to do the blue (1/2-mile) trail that would skirt along the edges of the waterfalls. Thinking that 1/2-mile would be really quick, I was surprised that it took us about an hour to hike – but that’s how rugged it was.  I did a search on the Plotter Kill on Google when we got back and it looks like others get similarly fooled – someone wrote that their 2 mile hike along the Plotter Kill took them more than 3 hours!

Looking down the slope to the Kill below

The gorge dips more than 900 feet through the Preserve and due to the rain this past week, the trails were very muddy and the waters high flowing, so the hubby and I decided to stick to the top of the waterfalls and save the bottom for another day.

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

The Falls are really pretty from down below, and we hope to get over there soon.  Here are some public domain/CC photos that others have taken.

This looks like Lower Falls

Lower Falls during the winter - Photo Credit: Geotek/Wikipedia CC

So if you’re local and looking for some good waterfall hiking, you should definitely check out Plotter Kill.  Just be prepared to get muddy!


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