Watkins Glen State Park

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1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY, USA

Watkins Glen State Park Reviews

vances vances
575 reviews
Watkins Glen State Park Jul 03, 2011
Watkins Glen Gorge is jaw dropping. I walked up the 832 steps to the top of the gorge, but it was quite leisurely as the steps are dispersed over a mile and the entire path is paved. It was also terribly crowded on a Sunday during the Fourth of July weekend. In fact, the only drawbacks to this amazing destination might be the crowds and getting a little wet as you walk behind two waterfalls during your ascent. I say ‘maybe’, because on a toasty day like this, getting wet might be considered a bonus!

Even though the climb is comfortable, you can catch a shuttle bus up to the top of the gorge for $3 and then walk back down. There is apparently an “indian village” up there, but it sounded touristy rather than authentic so I stuck to the natural wonders. And wonders they are.

As I said, the pathway takes you behind two waterfalls (Rainbow and Cascade) and the scenery is incredible the entire length. You encounter a suspension bridge perched above the gorge not too long after beginning the ascent and it looks terribly inviting from down below. I’m pretty sure there is a trail heading up there on the Gorge Trail side, but I missed it because my attention was focused on the beauty of the gorge. So I didn’t get on the suspension bridge until after I had been to the top, crossed over and started back down on the other side (just like Buttermilk, it was up via the Gorge Trail and down via the Rim Trail).

The suspension bridge was not as dramatic when you were on it and I felt views down in the gorge were way better. Still, it was fun to gaze on the throngs belong and see them looking up with longing and admiration, lol. I was pretty much back to the bottom on the Rim Trail by this time, and like Buttermilk, the Rim Trail was a bit disappointing. No steps for this track, just a gravel and dirt trail through the woods with only an occasional glimpse into the gorge. There was a really sad area where there must have been fifty round picnic tables sturdily constructed from rock. I say sad because nobody seems to picnic any more, and the heaps had obviously not been used in eons. Seeing all these stone structures littering a deserted area brought Easter Island to mind, but in honor of their original purpose I named the stretch “Feaster Island”.

Watkins Glen State Park is a masterpiece of nature and a must see if you are near the Finger Lakes. Entrance cost is $7 per carload...a real deal!
Entrance for Watkins Glen State Pa…
The views don't get any sweeter th…
Cascading streams throughout at Wa…
There is a wonderful combination o…
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
mslellen says:
You talked me into it . . . we are adding it to our itinerary :)
Posted on: Sep 26, 2015
shmodzilla says:
Yea thats to bad if anyone comes here then misses it. The rest of what i mentioned is less than 5 minutes away. In fact i'll be that way today so maybe i'll grab photos.
Posted on: Nov 03, 2011
vances says:
Dave - please write it up...would to learn about more opportunities here!

Posted on: Nov 02, 2011
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shmodzilla shmodzil…
14 reviews
Watkins Glen State Park Lesser known areas Local POV Nov 10, 2011
There is a great review on the State Park "Gorge" written. As a local I would like to add to lesser known parts to enjoy while you are here. You might as well enjoy the whole place!

The main trail and most amazing part of the gorge follows the north side. If you do follow it from bottom to top, you may want to take the "Indian trail" down which follows the north ridge. Although not quite as entertaining you'll see a few overlooks that are amazing. Along the way down to your left you'll see a cemetery . Right there at the top is a small mausoleum (not the old one right next to the trail just inside ) This is the burial site of Elizabeth Rothschild , who was a Titanic survivor. A amazing moment in history.

From here you may continue to walk down the Indian trail back into the Gorge or follow the cemetery down and which will have a few great views over the lake so it is your choice. Just follow the road back downhill and it leads to the State park parking lot.

Now even more to see is beyond the railroad bridge you get turned at while following the main trail. The problem is the trail is on the other side of the Gorge. There are a few options . Walk back down the gorge until one of the crossings and stairways leading up to that side or better yet get back to your car, pack a lunch and drive to the top. You'll follow the original Watkins Glen Raceway to the Hidden Valley 4-H camp on Whites Hollow Road. If you drive up RT 329 (recommended) you'll see signs about the historic track. When you reach Whites hollow turn right and in a few hundred feet there is a old road to the right called Punch Bowl Extension . Park there if you want to see the most. If you miss it you can park by the creek in the hollow and walk back up. I will add more as I remember or find more up here. I would add to be careful on this trail and not bring small children on the ridge trail. This is seldom used area up here so you'll enjoy the quiet and the parking is free.
A helper map
From one of the two scary falling …
A closeup of the dam. Do yourself …
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Eric says:
Great review, thanks for sharing!
Posted on: Nov 10, 2011

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