“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Voorheesville in Albany County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Indian Ladder Trail

The Indian Ladder Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 26, 2011
1. The Indian Ladder Trail Marker
Inscription.  The Indian Ladder Trail runs along the base of the cliff and was historically called the "Lower Bear Path." Here, you are halfway down the limestone cliff, where the Coeymans formation above meets the Manlius below. At the top of the Manlius is a soft layer of limestone that has eroded, forming a ledge in the cliff face. This indent in the cliff has been call the "Upper Bear Path." The soft layer is a limestone mudrock that is fine-grained and valued as a source of cement. Limestone is mined in quarries throughout the region for use in construction.

Geologists believe that the Helderberg Escarpment existed before the Pleistocene or glacial period, which began about 1.6 million years ago. Though many cliffs were created by glaciers, this cliff was actually protected by the ice, which could not move up the vertical rock wall. Only the ice above the escarpment was in motion, carving striations across the surface rock and dropping foreign rocks from other regions, known as glacial erratics. As the last ice sheet retreated about 10,000 years ago, meltwater flooded the valley, forming glacial Lake Albany, eventually the lake water was drained
The Indian Ladder Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 26, 2011
2. The Indian Ladder Trail Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
through the Hudson River.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Environment.
Location. 42° 39.157′ N, 74° 0.722′ W. Marker is near Voorheesville, New York, in Albany County. Marker can be reached from Thacher Park Road (Route 157) 0.6 miles east of Hailes Cave Road. The marker is in Thatcher Park, mounted on the cliff face and can be viewed from the steps that descend to the Indian Ladder Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Voorheesville NY 12186, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Tory Cave (within shouting distance of this marker); Thacher Point (approx. ¼ mile away); Tory Cave 1777 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Indian Ladder (approx. 0.3 miles away); Helderbergs (approx. 0.9 miles away); Henry Crounse (approx. 1.2 miles away); Locust Vale School (approx. 1½ miles away); Knox School #5 (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Voorheesville.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo with the caption, "The softer layer of limestone erodes before the harder layers above and below it. Many caves are formed in this layer."

On the right is an illustration with the caption, "When glaciers retreated approximately 11,000 years ago, the valleys filled with meltwater, forming glacial lakes."
Also see . . .  Thacher State Park (John Boyd Thacher). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Submitted on June 29, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.) 
Additional keywords. Thatcher Park, John Boyd Thatcher Park
Indian Ladder Trail Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 26, 2011
3. Indian Ladder Trail Marker Detail
"The Indian Ladder, Thompsons Lake, N.Y. in the Helderburgs"
Until the steel staircase was installed in the 1950s, visitors used a tall wooden ladder to climb the cliff at this location. The ladder shown in this ca. 1920s postcard is NOT the original "Indian Ladder," which was located at the other end of the trail. The ladder was not for the faint-hearted and many of the visitors that fell here were seriously or fatally injured. To appreciate the height of the climb, look down from the top of the stairs. Photo courtesy of Timothy Albright.
<center>The Indian Ladder Trail - Minelot Falls</center> image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 26, 2011
The Indian Ladder Trail - Minelot Falls
A hike on the Indian Ladder Trail is the highlight of a visit to the John Boyd Thatcher State Park. The Minelot waterfall, one of two waterfalls on the trail, is a highlight of the Indian Ladder Trail. Visitors enjoy the refreshing mist that drifts from the falls onto the trail on a muggy summer day.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 2,229 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 28, 2021