62 Days of Summer
If lounging by the pool or running through the sprinkler is getting boring, on the next hot day head to the Indian Kill Nature Preserve in Glenville.
The 100-acre natural area, accessible from Hetcheltown Road, follows the banks and bluffs of the Indian Kill, providing the ideal combination of stream and shade, waterfalls and wildflowers.
The preserve’s pathways wind along the bluffs, through native hardwood forest, conifer plantations and wetlands. There’s an unmarked trail that borders the creek, too, but on a hot summer day, I think the best place to walk is in the water.
Water walking in the Indian Kill is not appropriate for small children or those who are unsteady on their feet. If you decide to go, water shoes are a must. And if you like to swim, wear a bathing suit. Bring a waterproof bag to hold your snacks and camera. A walking stick is helpful.
From the Hetcheltown Road parking area, take the red trail — the only option at that point. Follow it over the dam and hang a right. Follow the trail up the bluff, bear right and keep going straight until the land slopes sharply in front of you to the Indian Kill below. There’s a spot where you can make a steep descent to the stream on an unmarked but well-traveled trail. Go slowly and grab on to trees where you can.
The portion of the Indian Kill that runs through the preserve is typically shallow and perfect for wading. The current clips along, but is not dangerously swift. That could change after a rainstorm, though, so keep that in mind and don’t go in if the water is rushing and deep.
In some places the creek bottom is blanketed with rounded rocks, but often the water flows over smooth shale, almost like an underwater sidewalk.
Small pieces of shale found at certain spots along the banks are perfect to skip across the water’s surface. See how many times you can get a small, flat rock to bounce before it sinks to the bottom.
Walking in the water, you are serenaded by the creek and see things you might miss while hiking on the path.
In springtime, hepatica, trout lilies, trillium, cohosh, toothwort and jack-in-the-pulpits bloom along the banks. Eleven species of ferns can be found growing in the preserve, too.
There are places along the way where trees have fallen across the creek, so it’s necessary to leave the water for a portage on the unmarked trail. Other spots just aren’t good for water walking, so use your judgment and make your excursion a combination of land and creek trekking.
If you walk far enough, you’ll discover Third Falls, where the Indian Kill takes a tumble down a series of shale steps. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic, and at the base of the falls it’s usually deep enough to swim. Swimming’s allowed in the county-owned preserve, but you won’t find a lifeguard; swimmers assume all risk to their own safety.
The round-trip walk to Third Falls is about one-and-a-half miles total. Further upstream is the equally pretty Second Falls.
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