Although we enjoyed all three of the state parks on this trip, if we had to pick a favourite it would be Watkins Glen. The waterfalls were smaller than Letchworth and Robert H. Treman, but the gorge walk was very impressive and it was the only park where you could go behind the waterfalls.
The name Watkins Glen is familiar to racing fans, as the Formula One Grand Prix has been held there since the 1950s. The park has been there even longer, with the gorge trail turned into a resort and park open to the public back in 1863. In 1911 it was taken over by the state and has grown into one of the more popular parks in the United States.
The entrance to Watkins Glen State Park is right on the edge of town, just across from a church and local businesses.
Walking up to the entrance is interesting, as the narrow opening in the gorge is difficult to see until you get close. It is 120 metres (400 feet) deep with the trail stretching 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) long. Near the entrance was a long stairway to the top of the gorge. We decided to to the gorge walk first and do the top and surrounding forest later.
There was a steady supply of small waterfalls along the trail. Combined with the almost hypnotic layers in the rock, it made for a relaxing walk.
As we approached the first waterfall, it was clear that there was a trail going behind it. This looked like fun…
This park is really well maintained, and the stone steps blend well into the the gorge trail.
Eventually we made our way along the top of the gorge and could seen down to where we had walked before. It gave us a better view of some of the waterfalls and there was a large forest around to wander through as well.
It was a great way to finish the three day trip. From Watkins Glen we made our way back to the border and were home by nightfall. The scenery in Western New York was beautiful and varied, and a change from our previous trip to the Adirondacks located towards the eastern side of the state. If things improve and we can cross the border once again we’d have no problem revisiting any of the parks we saw on that trip.