BY Molly Congdon
WATERFORD — Go ahead; brave the great outdoors!
Here’s part twelve in this summer’s exploration of public natural places in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon area.
Peebles Island State Park has rapids, cliffs and a collection of trails to cover.
Location: 1 Delaware Ave., Waterford, NY 12188
Description: This beautiful state park has 191 acres. Rapids surround this island located at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, and — as an added bonus — there are some pretty sensational views for those who take advantage of the paths through this rolling and wooded landscape. It’s also a home and a migration stop for a wide variety of birds.
Peebles Island is a utopia for a nature-lover.
The looping two mile perimeter trail winds through open meadows, a hardwood forest, along cliff tops and past river rapids. Along with this, there are numerous trails crisscrossing the island that may be preferable during the summer months, when the park receives a high volume of visitors.
For those who are hooked on casting a line with bait dangling and dancing at the end, fishing with a license is allowed.
Also, picnic tables are available along the route.
Though this park is located within eyesight of nearby cities, the rapids at the Southeast shore drown out the sound of traffic. It’s diverse and serene.
Wildlife to see: There is plenty to see at Peebles Island State Park, including bald eagles, barred owls, great blue herons, osprey, swallows, beaver, gray and red foxes, groundhogs, white-tailed deer, eastern coyotes and snapping turtles.
Sights to see: There are lots of trails and lookouts to explore.
Level of difficulty: You can partake in hiking, fishing and — in the winter — cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you prefer a more leisurely time, the Visitors Center is open from mid-May to mid-October.
Must bring: Grab some sunscreen, bug spray, water, perhaps a fishing pole and a basket full of food fit for a picnic, and you’re set.