BY Molly Congdon
Go ahead; brave the great outdoors!
Here’s part three in this summer’s exploration of public natural places in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon area.
Hayes Nature Park is our next recommended local park to check out.
Location: Hayes Nature Park’s main entrance is just off Moe Road, past the big bend at Englemore, with a small parking lot and a bike rack. The park is just north of Countryman Estates, and just south of the Huntwood neighborhoods. It is a great neighborhood park, right in the Stony Creek I Park District, in southeastern Clifton Park.
Description: The 48-acre park includes a one-mile-long stone dust and gravel surface trail for walking and hiking. To get across the streams and wetlands there are wooden boardwalks, which approximately form a large “figure-eight” pattern. The entrance for motorists is off Moe Road, but there are two pedestrian entrances from nearby Countryman Estates North. An additional pedestrian entrance from Huntwood is under construction.
This park was opened to the public in 2010, with a ribbon cutting in 2011. The new park is named for the late Ralph and Luella Mae Hayes, the last private owners of the land on which Countryman Estates North was built. This open space is the culmination of nearly five years of planning by the park district’s board of directors.
Nature to see: There are plenty of wildflowers to check out at this park; you are surrounded by beauty at every turn.
Sights to see: It’s quite picturesque when hiking across the quaint wooden bridges with the streams flowing underneath.
Level of difficulty: Hiking, walking, jogging and wildlife watching in this natural area are common activities. This is one of the easier nature trails. It’s very low-key, that is, unless you are trying to beat your personal record on the MapMyRun app.
Must bring: Wildflower guidebook, binoculars, water.