Skip to main content

Discover the Ballston Creek Preserve in the Town of Ballston, NY

Located less than 10 miles south of Saratoga Springs, NY, the Ballston Creek Preserve is a 33-acre public preserve owned by Saratoga PLAN. The parcel features approximately 1 mile of marked nature trails, and it is open year round for a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking (leashed dogs allowed), birding and nature study, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

marshy areaPhoto Credit: Saratoga PLAN, a non-profit land trust

Plan Your Route Through the Preserve

The Ballston Creek Preserve is home to flat terrain with a small elevation change of about 30 feet, making it a great choice for families with kids. This property was formerly used for crops and animal grazing prior to 1955, but since then, it has become a sanctuary for wildlife and nature lovers. In 2005, the Peterson family donated the nature preserve to Saratoga PLAN so they could protect it for future generations to enjoy.

Starting from the trailhead, the preserve's main trail (Pat's Trail) will bring you west for about .4 mile to the edge of a marshy area overlooking a Great Blue Heron rookery. Visitors can sit on the nearby bench and see spectacular views of the surroundings and local wildlife.

From there, you can travel along Sven's Loop for .25 mile. While on Sven's Loop, consider taking a short .1 mile detour to the Yellow Loop, which offers another viewing area near the wetlands.

Keep Your Eyes Open for Local Birds

great blue heron flying

The nature preserve is a prime spot to view a variety of wetland birds, such as Great Blue Herons. Great Blue Heron rookeries are communal nests that the large migratory birds use each year, and one of them is situated .4 mile into the Ballston Creek Preserve.

In addition to Great Blue Herons, some of the other bird species people have observed include:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Red-Winged Warbler
  • Common Grackle
  • Song Sparrow
  • American Robin
  • American Goldfinch
  • Tree Swallow
  • Blue Jay
  • Mallard
  • Canada Goose
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  • And many others

Directions to the Trailhead

The Ballston Creek Preserve is a key link in the Ballston Creek Valley Greenway and Wildlife Corridor, and it's located northwest of Malta's Shenantaha Park, which is where you can park your vehicle.

Beginning in Saratoga Springs at Exit 14 of I-87, drive south on the highway to Exit 12. Get off the exit and drive west on NY-67 for about 1.8 miles until you reach Eastline Road. Turn left onto Eastline Road and drive .5 mile to the parking area at Shenantaha Park. After you've parked, walk across the road and go north on Eastline Road until you see a Saratoga PLAN sign for the trailhead.

« Back to Hiking and Nature Trails