In 1916 the State of New York acquired Stark's Knob,
preserving it as a scientific reservation owned by the New
York State Board of Regents and managed by the New
York State Museum.
Stark's Knob is believed to have originated in the
Connecticut River Valley 400 million years ago as lava
"bubbled up" out of a crack in the earth's crust under a
shallow sea. The momentum of plate-tectonics "delivered"
it to the town of Northumberland just outside of
Schuylerville. The cone shape was created by the mining
of the volcanic material for roadbed. Being one of the few
places in the United States where "pillow basalt" can be
easily seen, this volcanic formation is internationally known
and often visited by students and professional geologists
from throughout North America.
During the Revolutionary War, in the fall of 1777, the
height of land at Stark's Knob created a pinch-point at the
north end of Schuylerville. Here, the military road the
British needed to traverse to make good their escape after
the Battles of Saratoga, passed through a narrows confined
by Stark's Knob on the west and the Hudson River and
associated wetlands on the east. It is believed that General
Stark used the vantage point this natural formation offered
his men. Placement of Stark's American Forces in the gap
was later described by historian John Henry Brandow as
"the corking of the bottle" which profoundly influenced the
outcome of the Battle of Saratoga, leading to Burgoyne's
The summit vantage point is still breathtaking; visitors to
Hudson Crossing Park enjoy scenic views of the Hudson
River and the Green Mountains of Vermont.
1910 Image of Stark's Knob courtesy Darryl Dumas Collection
The site is presently being developed for better public
access and interpretation through the introduction of trails
and enhanced parking and signage. Currently, a small trail
allows access up to the summit where a scenic overlook is
planned. On the short walk in to the base, interpretive signs
provide clear lessons in both history and geology. Visitors
may one day find a shelter for field classes and picnics at
the foot of Stark's Knob.
While one can certainly spend hours exploring this site and
enjoying the views, even a brief 30 minute excursion is well
worth the effort. Don't miss it! For more about this feature
go to http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/starks/
Following charts and images were taken from the State Museum web site about Stark's Knob
View from the top of Stark's Knob via the trail just west of the site.
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