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Updated 29 Nov 2021 (What’s New?)

Watkins Glen, New York

Copyright © 1999–2024 by Stan Brown,

near the gorge entrance at Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen first became part of my life in the 1960s, the first time I walked the gorge. Since then, it’s been a favorite vacation spot when I lived in the Midwest, and a nice drive of less than an hour when I lived in the Finger Lakes. Now that I live in the West, I carry those fond memories with me.

The Photo

I took the photo at right with an Olympus D-340R digital camera, one of the first “megapixel” models, in September 1999. This view is maybe 100 steps into the gorge from the entrance, and it’s a favorite for postcards. Sadly, I’m not enough of a photographer to do it justice.

You can see much better shots at Empire State Roads and Go Water Falling. (If you want more waterfalls, visit this page.)

The Park

This jewel of upstate New York is well worth your visit.

The park is a 1½ mile (2 km) rocky gorge carved out by a river. Bridges have been added and steps carved in the rock, so you’ll have an easy hike through the beautiful gorge. Less well known, but also beautiful, are the rim trails through woods at both edges.

For more information about the park, you can visit New York’s official page.

The Area

Watkins Glen State Park is located in the village of Watkins Glen, at the south end of Seneca Lake. There are non-chain motels and B&Bs throughout the area, plus some pretty good restarants. Pretty much everywhere you turn you’ll find beautiful waterfalls or a stunning lake view in this country shaped by the glaciers.

The Catharine Valley Trail is a nice biking and hiking trail that heads south for 13 miles from Watkins Glen High School, paralleling Catharine Creek and NY Route 14, much of it through beautiful woodlands.

The village is also your gateway to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

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