Last Updated on April 27, 2020 by Lori
If you’re looking for a pretty hike while visiting the Schoharie Region of New York, be sure to visit Mine Kill State Park – a 500-acre state park with 8-miles of hiking, and mountain biking trails, kayaking, and water skiing to enjoy.
Just a short drive from our campground, we came upon Mine Kill State Park. As we pulled into the parking area we started on what we thought would be just a simple path to somewhere – but led to to a pretty waterfall that we weren’t expecting to be at the end of the trail!
One of our favorite places to camp is in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
So when we decided to try a campground a little further north than we normally camp, we weren’t sure what we would find along the way!
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Best Things To See At Mine Kill State Park
What did we see at Mine Kill State Park? What we found was an easy little hike which led to a pretty waterfall cascading 80-ft from above!
Where Is Mine Kill State Park Located?
Mine Kill State Park is located in the town of North Blenheim, New York. Mine Kill State Park is named for Mine Kill Creek, which runs through a narrow gorge in the park and features the 80-foot Mine Kill Falls.
The 500-acre state park is located in the scenic Schoharie Valley and overlooks the NY Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.
The lower reservoir is stocked with trout and walleye, and has several other species, including bass and is ideal for motor boating, kayaking and water skiing. The Olympic swimming pool is open to everyone at no charge.
Swim lessons are taught in the summer months–please contact the park office for details. Other activities include hiking and mountain biking on the parks 8 miles of trails.
Mine Kill State Park Waterfall
About 1/4 mile from its main entrance is a smaller parking area which leads to the Mine Kill Falls Overlook.
That’s where we started our day – mainly because we were camping at Nickerson Park Campground in Gilboa which was just down the road from the park entrance.
Not knowing what to expect when we left the campground, we found the entrance to the Overlook, parked, put on our hiking boots, and headed down the path to the Overlook.
The trail started as just a grassy path towards the overlook. Of course, Buddy – our Golden Retriever was along for the hike! He loves exploring the trails with us and this was one that would include many stairs, dirt and sand.
There are two ways to see the falls: the Overlook and the Bottom of the Mine Kill Falls.
We decided to check out the overlook first!
The stairs to the Overlook were very well maintained and were easy to use. They were more like little platforms as you made your way to the overlook.
Just take your time and you will be fine! Buddy, of course, took the stairs quickly so he and my husband went ahead.
The Overlook to Mine Kill Falls had a nice view of the upper falls. There is a bench where you can sit and relax before your trek back up. The area is all shaded so on this hot August day, it was a nice walk.
Waterfalls at Mine Kill Falls Overlook
Here is the view of the Upper Falls from the Overlook. It was interesting to hear both the upper falls and the traffic from the cars passing over the bridge.
As we made our way back up from the overlook there was a beautiful bench placed at the top for people to rest.
I was excited to see what the bottom of the falls would be like. When we reached the split, we headed downwards towards the falls.
As we made our way down the path, we realized that we could have WALKED from the campground – it was only 2 miles – and that it was only 275 miles back to New York City!
The views of the Lower Falls were well worth the walk down to the bottom!
After we returned to the parking area, it was just a 1/4 mile drive to the main entrance to Mine Kill State Park.
Since we were visiting in late August, the Olympic Size Swimming pool had closed for the season, but the park was still busy with hikers, bikers, and people BBQing throughout the park.
We decided to try one of the hiking trails to see what other surprises we could find!
Blenheim–Gilboa Hydroelectric Power Station
Mine Kill State Park is next to the Blenheim-Gilboa Hydroelectric Power Station. The plant uses power to pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. Then it generates power as the water descends through the project’s turbine-generators to create electricity, making it like a giant rechargeable battery.
The facility provides power to the grid at moments of peak demand and then recharges, restoring itself to readiness when demand and power prices are low.
There are two reservoirs with each having a 5 billion gallon capacity. The one at the foot of the mountain was created by the Schoharie Creek. When the reservoir is full, water is sent to the reservoir at the top of the mountain and stored until it is needed. When water is needed it is sent back down the mountain into the lower reservoir where it spins the turbines in the powerhouse.
The reservoir is perfect for boating, kayaking, and waterskiing. The waters are stocked with trout, walleye and several other species of fish.
Mine Kill State Park Trail Map
This is a photo of the huge map sign. You can see the “You Are Here” where we parked and then found the Red Trail. The Orange Trail leads back to the waterfall and is known as the Loop Trail.
Since we had already hiked to the waterfalls, we were looking for just a short afternoon hike. We didn’t want our Golden Retriever getting too tired so we opted for the Red Trail which would end at the reservoir.
After using the restrooms (which were very clean – no porta-potties), we headed out on the Red Trail – which mid-hike turned into the Yellow Trail because my husband wanted a view of the water!
Both the red trail and yellow trail lead to the reservoir but you can continue on the yellow trail or stop at the reservoir – which we did.
Education Programs At Mine Kill State Park
I love to stop and read the signs about the birds and animals we will see as we hike the trails. Most signs describe what to look for – and yes, I stop to read most of those signs!
It’s fun to see if you can identify something in the woods that is similar to what is on the sign! Some of the common animals you will see are chipmunks, bluebirds, house wrens, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and owls.
You might also see deer, rabbits, black bear and sometimes a coyote.
It was interesting to learn why geologists call Mine Kill Falls a “Hanging Valley”.
Kids of all ages can come to Mine Kill Falls for a series of Education Programs – all for FREE!
- Plant Science – Plant Planting: students will learn the many impacts a single tree can have on a life. Afterwards, students are given the opportunity to plant a seedling of their own.
Tree Identification: students will be taught a multitude of ways to identify local trees of New York State
- Animal Science – Birds, Bones, and Calls of the Wild: Examination of different skulls, feathers, bones, calls, and more from various wildlife in New York State
- Geocaching and Basic GPS Skills – Students will learn how to use a GPS to find hidden objects, and they will learn about the hobby of geocaching.
Check out the education programs offered at Mine Kill State Park.
Hiking The Red Trail
We had fun hiking on the Red Trail. As I mentioned above, we changed to the Yellow Trail because we thought we might see views of the water; however, there were many trees and we didn’t see very much of the water.
The trails are well-marked and easy to follow.
We had a great day at Mine Kill State Park! It was only a mile from our campground, so we were back relaxing at the campground by the fire for the rest of the afternoon!
What To See Near Gilboa, New York
You might be interested in other things to see in this area of the Catskill Mountains!
Read more about our stay at Nickerson Park Campground where you will love the spacious sites and amenities for the kids!
If you love caves – you have to read about our trip to Howe Caverns. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the campground – but so worth it!
Have you been to Acadia National Park?
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to one of the most visited National Parks – here’s our trip where we list 9 Amazing Things To See in Acadia National Park!