Watkins Glen State Park is located at the edge of village of Watkins Glen, New York, south of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County. It is one of the most popular parks in the New York’s Finger Lakes region. The glen descends 400 feet through the 200 feet high cathedrals of rock, creating 19 waterfalls while traversing 2 miles. The lower part of the park is next to the village and the upper part is open woodlands. The park provides spectacular views of water sculpted rocks and waterfalls.
Watkins Glen State Park is best experienced by taking the Gorge Trail which follows the glen creek past the cathedral rocks and the waterfalls. The trail is accessible from the Main, South and Upper entrances. We were traveling with a 4 year old, so to minimize the walk we parked our car at the Main entrance and took a bus to the upper entrance.
We walked down towards the Main entrance along the 1.5 miles long Gorge Trail, a dirt and stone trail with steps and bridges. It was one of the most spectacular walks. We were surrounded by majestic rocks and the meandering creek added to the beauty, carving its way through the rocks , creating beautiful waterfalls and pools as it flowed through the gorge.
Spiral Gorge and Pluto Falls
The first landmark in the Gorge Trail when walking down from the upper entrance is the Mile Point Bridge. This is actually 1 mile from the main entrance. The Indian trail and South Rim trail meet the Gorge trail at this point. Beyond the mile point bridge is a a dark and narrow passage with dripping springs, sculptured pools, and thin Pluto Falls (picture below), named after the ancient Roman lord of the underworld.
Beyond the Spiral Gorge is the Rainbow falls. You can walk under the rainbow fall and in the afternoon on a sunny day you might catch a rainbow formed near this fall.
Glen of Pools
Above the Central Cascade is the Glen of Pools a series of sculptured pools and potholes. The creek winds through the rocks and falls into a pool.
Beyond the Rainbow falls and glen of pools you will come across the Central Cascade. It is the highest waterfall in the park and plunges down 60 feet.
“Beyond the Central Cascade is the high Glen Cathedral area. Lover’s Lane meets the Gorge Trail here which leads to the Indian Trail at the Suspension Bridge. If the Narrows are like a rainforest, then the Cathedral is like a desert. On a clear day, you will notice the sun soaking the dry gorge walls beside the trail. These ledges support drought-resistant grasses, wildflowers and shrubs typical of a dry field. An interpretive panel here features the plants that grow in both sunny and shady sections of the gorge. ” – http://nysparks.state.ny.us/
Beyond the glen cathedral is the “Narrows” region where the creek flows through the closely spaced rocks. Beyond the Narrows region is the “Cascade Cavern”.
This was my favorite part of the park. One of the most spectacular falls with a 50 feet plunge and a 6 feet crest. The glen creek pierces the rock and it seems the falls emerge from a roof of rocks. You can walked behind the falls along the paved pathway. The approach to this falls provides a wide angle view and is one of the most popular falls in the park.
Once you pass the cavern cascade you will pass through the sentry bridge towards the main entrance tunnel.
It is a beautiful place. Take your time through the trail and enjoy!
The following link has the trail map for Watkins Glen State Park
Useful Links and References
The following are some of the links which have useful information on Watkins Glen State Park. I have referred the following links to refresh my memory regarding this visit during 4th of July weekend, 2005.
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