I don’t think that many people that happen upon Watkins Glen, New York realize how many treasures are hidden there. Of course, there are the people that come there specifically for those treasures. But if you just somehow happened upon the small, but bustling town, it would take a second glance to see all the beautiful things it has to offer.
One of those things is their own state park. It features 3 hiking trails and 19 waterfalls. If that doesn’t appeal to you, I don’t know what will! The park includes the Indian Trail, which is high above the gorge, the Rim Trail, and the Gorge Trail, which takes you down into it, right next to, in front of, and even behind one of the waterfalls.
This year, Watkins Glen State Park was nominated in USA Today’s poll for best state park in the country out of over 6,000 parks, and it won 3rd place!
The park features a pool and campground, as well as pavilions and picnic tables. There is a shuttle from the top of the trails to the bottom (since it’s quite a distance and elevation change!) and vice versa during the summer months. The parking lot also accommodates tour buses and RVs, and there is a gift shop open year-round.
The park itself is open year-round, but the gorge trail is closed during the winter for safety. I’ve seen photos from people I know that have somehow gotten down there during the winter with the snow and ice all over and the photos are gorgeous though!
The vehicle entrance fee is $8, but is only collected during certain hours during peak season. Another option if you’re a NY State resident is to buy an Empire Passport, which is $65 and gets you into almost every state park in NY for a year. Cost information for the park as well as a link to info about the passport is here.
Watkins Glen is probably my favorite little town, and I’ve spent many days at this park ever since I was a little kid. It never gets old to me and I hope you’ll feel the same way I do; it’s definitely Watkins Glen’s greatest treasure.