Have you experienced the hiking trails in Watkins Glen State Park's gorge? Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the glen is amazing. If you haven't experienced it, get outdoors and enjoy this amazing work of nature!
Normally, I write a tip to tell you about a destination. What features it offers, and activities you can do there. The pros and cons of a visit to that destination.
Not Watkins Glen. In this tip, I'm going to give you a couple of details and let you decide whether this natural wonder is worth a visit.
I will give you one hint. It is.
The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York was created thousands of years ago during the ebb and flow of glaciers. Not only did this action create the 11 Finger Lakes, but the last glacier also left incredible remnants. Flowing from Glen Creek, the Watkins Glen gorge now features amazing waterfalls, shimmering pools, and amazing rock formations.
Watkins Glen Gorge is easy to visit. Located in Watkins Glen State Park, the gorge is accessed by stone pathways and steps created by the CCC. The pathway is narrow, and visitors can expect to climb narrow uneven steps while exploring the gorge.
Visitors can also expect cries of "Marco" and "Polo" as you traverse the gorge. Why? The upper trail foliage is dense, and the gorge trail twists and winds. In other words, if the park isn't crowded, you may feel totally alone while exploring this natural wonder.
There is an auditory component of Watkins Glen. How many ways can you hear water? At places along the gorge, water rushes over rocks in graceful waterfalls. In other places, water lies in shimmering pools. I thought this heart-shaped pool was especially interesting.
Feel the humidity in the air and smell of fresh air and clean water.
Imagine exploring each twist and turn as the sounds of birds singing in the trees above the gorge float through the air. Hearing the leaves whisper in the breeze and the creak of tree limbs overhead.
Close your eyes now, and add the photos to the sounds, smell, and environment I've described.
Watkins Glen Gorge is a surreal experience.
Get outdoors and enjoy this one!
The park features hiking trails along the gorge rim. These hiking trails may be difficult for some because of a slight change in elevation. These hiking trails are true forest trails, with the inherent cushion underfoot that comes from eons of pine needle droppings. I find this type of trail surface to be more comfortable than rock-lined or gravel trails.
The gorge trail is narrow with uneven surfaces and lots of steps. It passes through narrow dark passageways and under waterfalls. Due to COVID, the trail has been temporarily restricted to one-way traffic.
The state park also features several camping sites. Be sure to reserve your spot early. We knew Watkins Glen was going to be on our Fall Colors 2020 trip but we waited too long to make our reservation and had to stay elsewhere. Visitors can also enjoy picnic areas and day-use.
Seriously, get outdoors and enjoy the incredible sights, sounds, and atmosphere of Watkins Glen State Park in upstate New York.
Have I convinced you? The gorge at Watkins Glen State Park is a great outdoors experience. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. You won't regret it!
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