by Michele Accorso | Cardinal Courier, link to original post
Watkins Glen State Park has the type of setting I would expect to see in a fantasy film rather than Upstate New York. This trail is located at the tip of Seneca Lake and is less than an hour and a half away from Rochester, New York. Watkins Glen State Park has a reputation of having the most beautiful scenery and breathtaking views.
The park is divided into two sections: the deep shale and limestone glen that the park is known for, and the upper park, which is filled with picnic, camping and recreation facilities. The hike is about two miles long and consists of numerous 200-foot cliffs that generate 19 graceful waterfalls along its course. The gorge path allows hikers to stroll behind these waterfalls and provides a truly amazing view.
Campers and day-visitors can attend scheduled summer tours through the gorge, swim in the Olympic-size pool and spend the night at tent and trailer campsites nearby. Visitors can also picnic or fish near Seneca Lake. The Watkins Glen trail is the center of attention in this city and leads visitors through various cliffs and scenery.
The view of this gorge is beyond anything that I had imagined. I honestly was not expecting such an impressive and break-taking view at Watkins Glen.
The journey begins in the lower parking lot, which is actually where the massive mouth of the glen lies. This trail put me in a world of serenity with calm flowing water, birds singing above, gentle breezes and natural stone.
On the hot summer day I was there, the gorge provided coolness and surprising elegance as I hiked up this long trail. My favorite aspect of the path at Watkins Glen was a spot called “Lover’s Lane”, which was the most unique scenery I had ever witnessed. At this location, it looked as though the water had torn away at the rocks and made a heart-like shape.
I witnessed many couples taking pictures at this particular spot. As the sun shined on the marvelous aspects of the trail, I had many opportunities to take pictures that would last me a lifetime.
Some of the cliffs were pretty high. There were a lot of steps, so be prepared if you are terrified of heights! It took me about an hour to hike up the entire thing, but no worries – there is a shuttle to take visitors back to the ground or up to the top if preferred. I would not recommend wearing sandals or flip-flops due to mud or wetness on some parts of the trail, especially the waterfalls.
Aside from the gorge, I tented at one of their campsites. The staff was extremely friendly, helped us carry firewood back to our campsite and provided us with any information we needed.
The camping site was roomy and contained a grill and electricity. The bathrooms were clean and there were many of them around the camp. The Olympic-size swimming pool is definitely worth the time out of a vacationer’s day and the water was clean and clear.
The Seneca area is known for its wineries, and some even offer casual dining and gift shops. There are plenty of ice cream parlors nearby, along with the village’s waterfront park for you to enjoy the scenery.
The Watkins Glen Gorge Trail is the heart of the park and is why people travel there year after year. Although it is tucked away in upstate New York, Watkins Glen is an attraction worth visiting. This camping trip was one of the most enjoyable vacations I had ever taken, so plan a day and visit Watkins Glen!