There’s a lot to like about Mine Kill State Park in North Blenheim, and high on the list is that to get there from the Schenectady-Albany area, you have to drive through pretty much the entire Schoharie Valley.
That is a scenic treat in itself. Once there, the park offers something for every member of the family. This time of year, the park’s Olympic-sized swimming pool is a popular attraction, and there are also soccer and baseball fields, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and three different playgrounds.
Picnicking options are numerous and there is a pavilion for public use. One nice spot includes a great vista overlooking the lower reservoir and Brown Mountain. Both are part of the nearby New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant. Another picnicking possibility is a more remote spot near the Mine Kill Falls, where water drops 80 feet through a narrow gorge. From that parking area, visitors gain access to an overlook platform, which provides a great view of the falls, along with entry to the Long Path Hiking Trail which takes you to a lower falls and beyond.
The Long Path, part of a 356-mile journey from Fort Lee Historical Park in New Jersey to John Boyd Thacher State Park just west of Albany, is just one of the hiking options for visitors. Another is the 21⁄2-mile Bluebird Trail, so named because of the park’s efforts to help restore populations of the state bird.
Or, if boating or fishing is your top priority, there is easy access to the lower reservoir, which is stocked with trout and walleye. Water skiing and kayaking are also possibilities.
There is a $3 charge per automobile to enter the park during the summer months. For swimmers, access to the pool is $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and kids under 12. Children under 5 are free. The pool is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days a week.
There is no overnight camping at Mine Kill State Park, but for those roughing it that option is available at Max V. Shaul State Park just a few miles north on Route 30. All those staying at Max V. Shaul get a free gate pass into Mine Kill.
The park is in the southern tip of Schoharie County. From the Schenectady and Albany area, take Route 88 west to Route 30 and head south through the small villages of Schoharie and Middleburgh. Continue south on Route 30, right under Vroman’s Nose, and you’ll cross over the Schoharie Creek five times before you get to Mine Kill State Park. It is a beautiful drive, the only disappointing note coming as you approach North Blenheim and see where the Old Blenheim Bridge used to be. A covered structure made of wood, it had the longest open span (210 feet) of any bridge of its type in the world before it was washed away during Hurricane Irene’s visit to upstate New York on Aug. 28, 2011.