Albany Pine Bush Preserve National Landmark

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!Β 

We stopped at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve on a road trip to Vermont. The Discovery Center was closed due to Covid-19, but the trails were open and dog-friendly. The Discovery Center is an award winning building because of its innovative design.

We couldn’t experience it, but we were pleasantly surprised by their restroom facilities. They use composting toilets. It’s the cleanest, least smelly outhouse I’ve ever used.


The Department of the Interior awarded the Albany Pine Bush Preserve a National Natural Landmark distinction in 2014. Pine Bush protects the largest field of inland sand dunes in the Eastern United States. The wind moved all this sand inland after the nearby glaciers melted 12,000 years ago.

To get an overview of the pine and scrub oak barrens and dune habitat, we took the short blue trail in the Karner Barrens section of the park. This loop is just about a mile and initially climbs to the Overlook Dune. From the overlook, you can glimpse the Catskill Mountains through the trees.


It was a hot day and the mile was more than our little dog could take. There is very little shade on the trail. But if you have better weather and more time, there are two other trails to explore in the preserve.


And the quarter-mile Discovery Trail by the visitor center is a nice sampling of the various habitats with interpretive signs. 


Location: 195 New Karner Rd #1, Albany, NY 12205
Designation: National Natural Landmark
Date Designated/Established: 2014
Date of my visit: 7/29/2020