The Gorge at Watkins Glen - A Unique Hiking Trail in Upstate New York

By DynamicDenise | Oct 2, 2020
North America > United States > New York > Watkins Glen

Stone Bridge in Watkins Glen Gorge

Stone Bridge in Watkins Glen Gorge

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.

Visiting Watkins Glen Gorge

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.

Now for the real Watkins Glen

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.

Glen River flowing through the Gorge

Glen River flowing through the Gorge

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.

Heart-shaped pool in Watkins Glen Gorge

Heart-shaped pool in Watkins Glen Gorge

Get outdoors and enjoy this one!

Visitors can enjoy lots of activities at Watkins Glen State Park in New York

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.

Trail and waterfall along the gorge path

Trail and waterfall along the gorge path

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!

United States Watkins Glen Gorge Hiking Nature New York North America Trails

Share this tip:

Written by DynamicDenise
TravelAcrossTheWorld is a travel blog written for a few simple purposes. Encourage people to travel Provide tips designed to improve your travel experience Give ideas about travel destinations Share stories of our travel escapades Stimulate people to think more kindly about new places, different people, and unfamiliar things Make the world a better place - this magnificent world belongs to us all, and we want to encourage others to experience it in a loving, accepting manner. Want to learn more? Check out my travel blog at Besides enjoying travel and travel blogging, I am an author, my latest book is a... Read more

Thoughts? Questions?

See also


Tours and activities

NYC Bridge and River Bicycle Tour

The Bridge and River tour is a scenic 3-hour bicycle tour will take you from the Upper West Side of New York City up and over the George Washington Bridge for a ride along the river on Route 9W. Get the full touring experience and leave New York City for a few hours. During the ride, we make stops at Grants Tomb Memorial on the Upper West Side.

Chilling Charleston Macabre Walking Ghost Tour

Tales of ghosts, legends, and murderers, Gas lit streets, Peak at graveyards , Haunted History Tales...