Watkins Glen State Park


Friday we needed to get our hiking shoes on as we were headed to Watkins Glen State Park. Located next to a village of the same name at the south side of Seneca Lake, this 778 acre park is famous for one thing, the 400ft deep gorge that you can walk through, passing 19 waterfalls, various water pools, numerous stone bridges, and tunnels hand carved out of the rock sides, oh and the stairs… LOTS of stairs. You have almost without a doubt seen pictures of the waterfalls and stone bridges in this park even if you didn’t realize what you were looking at.

The day was pretty toasty but we didn’t want to let that stop us so we woke to the alarm and headed out hoping to find a spot in the lower end parking lot before it filled up. Having successfully found a place to park the big ole truck we walked toward the gorge. I found it kind of amazing that just as you drive down a very ordinary small town street, the hill next to you opens up and there is this amazing crack leading back into the hill. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the first person who stumble upon this gorge, had they found it from the top of the hill I could have imagined the view down would have been quite frightening.

Our entry into the gorge had us climbing up steps through a tunnel which seemed like the perfect way to enter the strange terrain within the gorge. Though I tried to capture as much as possible with my camera, it really doesn’t do it justice.

The hike has us crossing over the stream numerous times, walking along side, and in some cases underneath numerous waterfalls. It was all quite beautiful! As we got further into the gorge we found the air temperature dropping, which was a welcome relief to all of us.

The experience in the gorge wasn’t quite as good as it could be though, given the time of year, and recent lack of rain, the water flow going through the gorge was down to a trickle. Spring and Fall are typically the best times to view the gorge as the waterfalls would be much more spectacular with several times the amount of water flowing over the rocks. We definitely intend to come back some day so we can see that! Another way in which the natural beauty was diminished was because of all the trash. Why oh why must people be so lazy and need to throw their water and soda bottles (which they brought in to stay hydrated as they viewed the splendor of the gorge) into the water. There were so many places, even with the low water flow, I wanted to take a picture of, only to give up because of all the junk lying around.

Despite the negatives the gorge was still very much worth the drive. We ended up walking about three miles while there, though that distance felt a bit more draining because of the close to a thousand steps that we had to climb.

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