Schenectady County

Christman Sanctuary easy on the eyes — and legs

For those who want to experience nature without straining themselves, Christman Sanctuary in Delanso
The trailhead of Christman Sanctuary in Delanson on Thursday, July 31, 2014.
The trailhead of Christman Sanctuary in Delanson on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Sometimes it’s hard to find low-intensity nature trails with exciting features such as wildlife, streams, waterfalls.

For those who want to experience nature without straining themselves, Christman Sanctuary in Delanson is the perfect place.

The trails at Christman Sanctuary are more comparable to a walk than a hike, so you can enjoy the wild sights and sounds without having to stop and catch your breath. One trail follows along the docile Bozen Kill, which has several small waterfalls and water holes perfect for wading and cooling off in the summer heat.

There’s a map posted in the parking lot showing two paths, marked in blue and orange. The blue path is about a mile long, while the orange path is approximately 2 miles long and loops around through a wooded area away from the creek. The blue path is the more popular trail, as it leads to a 30-foot waterfall.

Worn down from hiking traffic, the beginning of the path cuts through a grassy field where green, white, black and blue dragonflies zig-zag between low-hanging trees and bushes.

After you walk for a few minutes, the path forks. The right trail goes higher above the creek, cutting through the woods to the top of that waterfall, only about 15 minutes away.

The left trail dips down a bit to a rocky creek. You can also follow this path for 15 minutes to the waterfall or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, kick off your shoes and wade your way up the creek.

If you decide to wade in the water, step carefully — the rocks are flat and can be very slippery, so water shoes are recommended. If you tread carefully, you might get a close look at the minnows and crawfish that live in the creek.

You’ll also have to climb several small waterfalls if you go this way, which takes a little more effort and strength. The shale rocks make the falls look like natural staircases, but even if you choose not to walk up, you can watch and listen to the water cascade over them.

Walking up the stream will take about 25 to 30 minutes, and you’ll soon be able to see the creek tumbling over the 30-foot cliff. You can swim in the pool at the fall’s base, have a picnic or just enjoy the view. A steep incline to the right of the falls will take you to its top, where you can continue on a trail or wade farther down the creek.

It’s easy to forget about the time and spend the whole day at Christman Sanctuary sunbathing, wading and listening to the water flow gently downstream.

On the way out, keep an eye out for the wild blackberries growing in the tall grass. The bright red honeysuckle berries might look delicious, but they can be mildly poisonous and are better saved for the birds.

The tiny parking lot by the trail’s entrance holds four cars, which can be a problem on busy weekends. But you can park on the side of the road when the lot gets full.

Christman Sanctuary is at 3281 Schoharie Turnpike. Traveling from the east on Route 7, drive until you reach the hamlet of Quaker Street, bear right onto Schoharie Turnpike, and the parking lot is on the right 3 miles down the road. If you cross a set of railroad tracks, you’ve gone too far.

If you’re coming from the Albany area, take Route 20 west. Approximately 2 miles after the Schenectady County line, turn left onto Schoharie Turnpike. After 3 miles, you’ll cross a set of railroad tracks; Christman Sanctuary will be 0.3 miles after the tracks on your left.

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