Chasing Waterfalls – Revisiting Rensselaerville Falls
By Donna McCabe aka Bookgirl911
Back in November 2018 I had the opportunity to see Rensselaerville Falls which is located on the grounds of the E.N. Huyck (pronounced “hike”) Preserve and Biological Research Station. The preserve covers 2000 acres and offers 12 miles of hiking trails around Lake Myosotis, Lincoln Pond and Rensselaerville Falls. Along these trails you’ll see remnants of original stone walls that marked off 160-acre lots when the land was first settled in 1785. The trail by the creek is lined with the remains of the foundations of the papermaking felt woolen mill from the 1870’s.
My first visit was around the time of heavy rainfall and the falls were raging. We stopped by later in the day and, being November, it gets dark early. With darkness coming on fast, we didn’t have much opportunity to explore more of the preserve but I was determined to make a return visit. I finally got my chance to visit again late in August on my way home from taking my son to college in Massachusetts. The route from the thruway is about 30 minutes and takes you through some great small towns southwest of Albany.
We arrived in Rensselaerville mid-day and found the parking lot of the visitor’s center had only two other cars parked in it. The trail begins right off the parking lot where you’ll find an information stand that has maps along with a visitor’s book to add your name to. Before you see the falls, you’ll hear them as this cascade tumbles down well over 100 feet. The view from the footbridge is amazing and there are locations to get closer to the falls as well. Following the Falls Trail, you can walk a bit along Ten-Mile Creek and then take the trail to view the upper falls which then connects to the trail around Lake Myosotis.
Once you cross the bridge, the trail to the left will take you among the ruins of the mill while heading to the right will take you to a short path to view the middle falls. This section was pretty much covered with water when I visited in November but on this trip, the water was at a level that allowed me the freedom to climb around more than was safe to do on my earlier visit. I’m not sure which was more fun … the climbing around or taking pictures.
Once back on the main trail, I followed the signs to the upper falls area. There is another great foot bridge at the top of the falls and plenty of signs offering directions for the various trails. If I had more time, I would have walked around the lake but, since this was a stop on my way home and I had about 4 ½ hours yet to drive, I had to call an end to my visit.
E.N. Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station is definitely a hidden treasure of New York State. Maybe it’s the out of the way location or maybe it’s that not too many people know about the preserve but both times I’ve visited, there weren’t many others around. I’m confident that if you visit, you’ll find the same solitude I did and thoroughly enjoy yourself.