When it comes to outstanding parks and outdoor sights, a number of travelers head out to the western region of the United States. However, you don’t need to always go west to find amazing natural attractions. In fact, the Watkins Glen State Park in New York has all the right traits to compete with its western counterparts. This state park is actually one of the most the famous in the Finger Lakes Region State.
The highlight for most people visiting Watkins Glen, is the Gorge Trail, which stretches to 2.5 kilometers. This incredible trail features small lakes, gorge rock formations. It ultimately leads you to not just a couple of waterfalls, but almost 20 gorgeous cascades. Most of these waterfalls have their own serene natural pools and surrounded by captivating geological structures. A number of these them flow from breathtaking 200-foot cliffs! Tackling the Gorge Trail and exploring Watkins Glen in general demands a lot of trekking on your part. Thus, make sure to wear sturdy footwear, ideally hiking boots that have good grip as the stones are often slippery. Gorge Trail welcome visitors from mid- May to the first week of November. If you enjoy hiking so much, try taking on the other outer rim trails that are open all year round. These trails provide fantastic views of the gorge.
Watkins Glen State Park makes a perfect day-trip destination. However, it is very much possible to spend more time in this beautiful park. You can always stay overnight at Watkin Glen’s camping and tent sites. Just remember to book ahead of time. The park is also equipped with showers, toilets, playgrounds, picnic facilities for visiting families and people traveling in groups. Aside from the waterfalls, there is also an Olympic-size swimming pool that you dip into to cool off. In the summer, some companies offer guided tours to the park from the village. The park administration also offers regular recreation programs. Other popular activities that you can enjoy at Watkins Glen including boating, hunting, biking and fishing. There are two excellent fishing sites in the area, and these are Catherine Creek and Seneca Lake. Catherine Creek, in particular is known for its rainbow trout that is abundant during spring.
Another impressive thing about Watkins Glen State Park is its location. You can find its main entrance conveniently located at the downtown area of the Watkins Glen village, specifically, on the main street called Franklin Street or State Route 14. To reach the wonderful waterfalls that made the park popular, you will need to hike 800 stone steps bridges. Now this may sound quite long, but the journey is only approximately two miles, and it is going to be quite an adventure as you will go through scenic stone tunnels and bridges!
If you are driving to Watkins Glen, you will need to pay the vehicle fee to enter the grounds, just like other New York State Parks. Such fees are not fixed, depending on the season and your chosen parking location. But if you plan to visit the park numerous times, consider getting a season’s pass called Empire Passport, which gives visitors unlimited day use vehicle entry not only to Watkins Glen but also other New York State Parks.