The first stop on my New England road trip was a stop over at Watkins Glen State Park. My ultimate destination was Maine and Vermont, but having seen the beautiful gorge in Watkins Glen on Instagram many times, I wanted to make a stop over here. I am glad I did as the drive through upstate New York was sensational and so was Watkins Glen.
Related: Baxter State Park is more than climbing Katahdin
Watkins Glen State Park hiking the gorge
I opted to camp in the state park. The campground is located on top of the bluff and the trail descends down into the canyon towards the entrance and Seneca Lake. Seneca Lake is one of the famed Finger Lakes. What comes down must come up, so be prepared to hike back up the Gorge Trail or you can walk up the road.
I set up my tent and headed immediately to the Gorge Trail. It was only about a ten minute walk from my campsite. In just 15 minutes my eyes were feasting on one of the 19 waterfalls. Within an hour, I had seen all 19. Since it was a weekday and it was late in the day and late in the year, there was not a whole lot of traffic along the trail. This was a good time to come.
The trail follows right along the gorge and sometimes underneath it. At the most spectacular part of the canyon, the cliff hovers over the trail as water drips down right on to the walkway. There are also bridges and overlooks all over the place, so just about every waterfall has a convenient vantage point. There is really not much to say about the series of falls one encounters in the state park. They are beautiful and well worth the visit.
Decent water volume even in fall
Have you ever trekked to a waterfall you have seen on Instagram only to find it a trickle or even non-existent? This happened to me at Yahoo Falls in Kentucky. It was just a drip, and I felt like a drip for hiking there. I was afraid Watkins Glenn State Park would also disappoint, but even though it was fall, there was a decent volume going through the park.
Stroll through the town of Watkins Glen
After the amazing hike down the Gorge Trail, I emerged at the Park Office. I walked through the charming little town to the shores of Seneca Lake. There was a harbor there and pier that stuck out into the lake. I got there just at dusk and took a few pictures of the fading last light of the day.
I then hiked up the hill back to my campsite for a campfire. My first stop on my New England road trip turned out a success. Instagram did not let me down. I now had a week’s worth of content and a blog post, and I had not even stepped foot in Maine yet.
Popular spot in summer
Watkins Glen State Park is a popular spot in the summer. I would recommend reservations if going at a more popular time. Check out the park’s website for more information.
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