Helderberg Escarpment

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HELDERBERG ESCARPMENT

The four Hilltowns of Berne, Knox, Westerlo, and Rensselaerville lie above the Helderberg escarpment in the highlands of western Albany County. The escarpment is an abrupt limestone outcropping, or cliff, running north south dividing Albany County into the Hudson River valley below and to the east of the escarpment, and the land in the Helderbergs above the escarpment to the west.


Helderberg is a corruption of the Dutch word Helleberg or Hellebergh, meaning “bright mountain” or “clear mountain.” The name referred to not only the escarpment itself but at one time to the area above the escarpment which is now part of the Town of Knox; later it became the popular name for the community below the mountain that became Altamont.