All The Waterfalls | And Much More To Explore | Watkins Glen State Park

I love Watkins Glen State Park. It is probably by far my most frequently visited state park. I visit this park for running, hiking, photography, or just to relax. This park has so much to offer.

A group taking selfies at the Cavern Cascade. Watkins Glen State Park.

Gorge Trail

Of all the state parks I have visited Watkins Glen State Park has the most beauty packed into the smallest package. Watkins Glen State Park is known for its waterfalls. Tourists from all over come to this park to see the waterfalls. And almost all of the waterfalls are along the Gorge Trail. The Gorge Trail is a short 1.5 mile trail. And along that trail you will see 19 waterfalls.

All of Watkins Glen State Park’s most iconic features are found along the gorge trail. No other park I’ve been to allows you to see so much of nature’s magnificence in such a short journey. 19 waterfalls including two waterfalls that you can walk right under and watch as the water pours down in front of you. You can’t go wrong here and having such a short distance to travel to soak in all of these sights allows people to take their time and enjoy the experience.

Visitors enjoying Rainbow Falls and taking photos. Watkins Glen State Park.

More than waterfalls

Setting the waterfalls apart the park has much more to offer. The waterfalls are cause because of the gorge that has been carved out of the surrounding stone. Beautiful and majestic from any vantage point. The gorge is full of lush foliage in the summer and vibrant colors in the fall. Watch the falling leaves swirling through the waters.

Want to go for a hike but want to avoid the foot traffic of everyone on the gorge trail? (It does get busy on that trail) You have options. There are three entrances to the park. The Main entrance, the South Entrance, and the Upper Entrance. You can use any of these entrances to not only access the Gorge Trail, but the other two trails the park has to offer. Access the North Rim Trail or the South Rim Trail from any entrance and enjoy all the nature that is not accessible from the gorge trail.

Along the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park.

Rim Trails

As the names suggest the North and South Rim Trails are up above the gorge floor below and follow the rim of the valley. There is usually fewer people on these trails if solitude is your thing, it is definitely my thing. A full circuit of these trails will allow for a hike of around 3 miles and avoid most of the high traffic areas.

If waterfalls are not what gets you out of bed in the morning, I hear these people exist, these trails might be just for you. The rim trails allow you to get into the more woodland areas. Close up with the trees and surrounding plant life and landscapes nature has to offer.

Moving through the gorge with water streaming down from above.

Finger Lakes Trail

Another feature that Watkins Glen State Park can boast that not many others can is its connection to other trail systems. The Finger Lakes Trail runs through Watkins glen State Park and essentially follows the South Rim Trail where it passes through the park. The Finger Lakes Trail system comprises 950 miles. Imagine camping at Watkins Glen State Park and using it as your home base to explore part of this massive trail system.

There are also lean-tos along the trail in Watkins Glen State Park so if you are passing through on the finger Lakes Trail you can stop at one of the shelters for the night. I love the idea of hiking a section of the Finger Lakes Trail and spending the day in Watkins Glen State Park, sleeping in one of the trail shelters, and waking up the next day to hike back to my car or move on further into my hiking journey.

There are so many possible adventures and nature sightings to be had in Watkins Glen State Park.

Winter waterfalls. Out exploring Watkins Glen State Park.

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