Luther Forest Trails

Luther Forest in Malta east of Northway exit 12 has easy singletrack trails, mostly beginner. They are very popular being both easy to ride and in a convenient location. I believe the trails are permanent To understand the situation you need to know the players in the area. Look at the pdf displayed below.

The trails are in the area just southwest of Hermes Rd and northwest of Stone Break ext. I have outlined the parcels with a green dashed line. The Luther Forest Technology (Campus) (LFTC) is I think a quasi public agency. It was created by the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC). It was LFTC that sold their and Malta’s soul to get the Global foundries plant, which you can see on the map. LFTC has a lot of land in the area, apparently they are having problems getting additional new businesses because everyone wants the same deal the gave Global. Notice the 80 acre LFTC parcel. Another big landowner is NYSERDA, notice they have a 260 acre parcel that extends on both sides of Hermes Rd and also a smaller 15 acre parcel. The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is on their property. BPI develops energy standards for residences and certifies contractors. NYSERDA is, by the way, a state agency. Another important parcel is the 47.4 acre piece owned by Jennas Forest Homeowners. I think the woods in that area were known as Jennas Forest, and the subdivision in the Foxwander/Plum Poppy street area is perhaps named Jennas Forest. You can see that some realtor had an orgasm coming up with the street names; they nearly make you vomit. I expect that, as part of the development, some of the land has to be put away and this is the 47.4 acre piece. On the Saratoga tax map the zoning is park, although this doesn’t necessarily mean public park. But I expect the 47.4 acres is forever wild. Also notice the irregular shaped 19.3 acre piece owned by Foxwander East Neighboorhood (also zoned park). Foxwander is the subdivision developer and I expect this parcel is another the is put away and protected. For some reason the ownership name is different than on the 47.4 acre land.

Below Stone Break ext is a parcel called 100 Acre Woods, actually 109.5 acres owned by LFTC. This parcel is also zoned park and is open to the public, although unfortunately mountain biking is not allowed on it. At the east end of this park as some athletic fields owned by the town of Malta. That is ok, I guess, although they don’t do grownups much good.

The town of Malta has a document ( where they gush about all the wonderful trails they have. The trails in the area just south of Hermes Rd they call the STEP trails. STEP stands for Saratoga Technology Energy Park which is essentially another word for NYSERDA. The document states that the STEP trails were originally developed by mountain bikers and are now multi-use trails as part of the Malta trail system. And all is great with the world. The only problem is the STEP land is the small piece of NYSERDA south of Hermes Rd. As we will see the actual trails extend far outside the NYSERDA land.

Below is a map with some of the trails. I mapped these in December with my GPS. I think I got all the outside trails but there are additional interior trails we did not ride so they did not make the map. The contours that are shown are 6 m (20 ft). As you can see there is not much change except for the drops down to the stream. I put the GPS grid on, UTM NAD83 as usual. I did not leave the parcel information on, too much detail. You can compare the trails with the above picture and see that a lot of the trails are not on the NYSERDA/STEP property. There is a lot on both the homeowner and the LFTC area, but I believe that is ok. Interestingly, there is a lot of NYYSERDA land north of Hermes Rd that might be used for more trails. Below the picture is a link where you can download the trail map if you wish.

To get to the Luther Forest trails, get off exit 12 on the Northway. Go east across Route 9 and drive on Dunning St 0.87 miles past Route 9. Then turn right on Hermes Rd. Continue about 0.62 mi and turn right into the small parking lot. The turn is hard to see. The BPI building is visible across the street in the area where you make the turn.

To download the map, right click the link and select “Save Target As…”
Luther Forest trail map

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