Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park is in western New York, in the village of Watkins Glen, at the southern tip of Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen contains several small waterfalls, and is a really amazing place especially for those who like the sight and sound of rock and water.

The park includes a campground, a large picnic area, swimming pool, etc. but the main attraction are the trails through the Glen, particularly the gorge trail. This is not a rugged wilderness experience, but a very tourist friendly adventure. The park is right in the middle of town, across the street from a sub shop. The Glen is small. It is only 2 miles long, 300 feet deep, and in places only a dozen or so feet wide, so you can easily see everything in half a day. The place does get crowded, but it is nice and deserted in the early morning. If you are looking for a wild, secluded, hiking adventure, this is not the place for you.

The entrance to the trail is a tunnel, followed by a bridge over Glen Creek. Part of the charm of the place is the stone walkways and bridges built in the 30's as part of a public works project. Purists may prefer scenery totally devoid of human handicraft, but in my opinion the combination of natural beauty and man made stone work results in an amazing fantasyland setting. It is kind of like visiting Rivendell.

The path follows the gorge, going behind waterfalls, through tunnels and over bridges. The main waterfall is the Cavern Cascade. Despite its name, this is a 60' plunge falls.

The Central Cascade is roughly the half way point. It is 3/4 miles from the entrance, and there are another 3/4 miles to the end.

Rainbow falls is a particularly pretty part of the Glen. Here you can walk behind another waterfall and cross another bridge.

At the far end is a picnic area with a concession stand, and a railroad bridge. The last stretch of the trail is less scenic than the earlier parts, but it is all good.

There is also a trail on either rim of the gorge, but it is hard to get views of the glen from above.

[Lake Cayuga & Lake Seneca] Nearby Falls

Hector Falls, She-Qua-Ga Falls, Eagles Nest Falls and I am sure a dozen other waterfalls are all within 15 miles. Taughannock Falls State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Lucifer Falls and probably a hundred others are within an hour's drive.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 19-Sep-2009 20:42:34 MDT.

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