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Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park – Canyon of East Coast

Watkins Glen State Park stands among the famous places to visit of the beautiful Finger Lakes StateParks. The park has gained reputation for mesmerizing its visitors with its unparalleled beauty. Watkins Glen State Park is situated outside the village named Watkins Glen in New York, towards south side of Seneca Lake, part of Schuyler County in region of the Finger Lakes. Park’s lower part is near the village and there is woodland along the upper part. Historical details show that the park used to be privately run tourist resort open to public from 1863 till 1906. Later New York State purchased it in 1924. Since then it is under the control and management by the Finger Lakes Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation as well as.


The park spreads over 1000 acres park and one of the attractions is a gorge which is 400-foot-deep and where a stream cuts through a rock called Glen Creek. The place was left really hanging as the old glaciers, as old as the Ice age, had deepened the Seneca valley. This increased the branch stream gradient creating some rapids as well as beautiful waterfalls wherever the water course found hard rock layers. The area rocks are sedimentary belonging to Devonian era.

Services and Activities
Glen Park has some convenient camping sites, several picnic tables and pavilions together with playground, food, playground, pool, a gift shop, shower areas, dump stations, trailer and tenting with recreation programs, hiking, fishing, hunting and skiing facilities. The entrance fee ($8 per car) is convenient and affordable for the whole day of picnic and for each car entering the place. The park remains open whole the year but all listed facilities are not available in all seasons; so better check before planning your picnic if you are keen to go for a certain activity.

The park features three tracks one is open mid-May till early November enables the visitors to climb or even descend the gorge. Then there is Indian Trails and Southern Rim that run along the wooded part within the gorge, while the Gorge The track which is closest to the stream running over as well as under and sometimes along the park’s 19 waterfalls having some beautiful stone bridges and sensibly constructed 800 plus stone steps. There is important stretch of two miles, the glen’s stream keeps sharply descends like 400 feet past some 200-foot cliffs. That majestically generates those 19 waterfalls along creek course. Then the path of that gorge magically winds over as well as under those waterfalls and amid the fine spray from Cavern Cascade. Those Rim Trails provide an absorbing scene overlooking the gorge too.

These trails are connected to Finger Lakes Trail, which is a fairly long approximately 800-mile or 1280 km long system of trails adding beauty to throughout the New York state. Day visitors and campers can enjoy a pool of Olympic-size while scheduled tours during summer can go through the beautiful gorge, trailer and tent campsites, friendly picnic facilities and excellent fishing from the nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, which is renowned for its annual spring run of rainbow trout. These trouts and fish species are of salmonid are found in tributaries having cold-water in Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. The fish has beautiful color mix like a rainbow.

There is Finger Lakes Environmental Education Department that also offers scheduled gorge tours as well as educational programs at few places including Watkins Glen State Park. These educational programs are free and open for everybody to attend even without registration. In some cases only parking fee from visitors is charged. Special programs may also be arranged for a group of ten or more the same manner but the visitors need to make a booking at park’s education counter on phone.

Watkins Glen State Park is the famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Finger Lakes are just one hour drive from the Glen Park having breathtaking waterfalls as well as rolling pastoral land dominating the landscape of the area. In far history over thousands of years there had been gigantic glaciers as well as coursing streams that did carve this landscape. Recently the glacier has moved through the shallow river valleys and left in its place some deep and steep-sided troughs. 10,000 years ago as the glaciers moved away to north, water had filled the then formed troughs and created the 11 Finger Lakes. Till now since that time, there has been flow of water down to glacially steepened hillsides and water carried debris cutting away at the soft sedimentary rocks forming those unique and beautiful gorges.

If a visitor opts for a guided tour, there is an option for Gorge Tours that provide information and goodinsights about individual history of the park together with its ecology, details about gorge formation and some tips on geology. These tours take around 90 minutes to complete. In such a case you are likely to tour around a mile of the gorge trail that will follow Glen Creek passing the water-sculpted rocks. Then proceed through tunnels and then passing under two waterfalls. You will see several beautiful stone steps on the trail that sometimes makes it difficult for those who are less physically fit for hiking.

The Educational Programs however, are offered about some interesting topics like birds of the area, fossils found followed by reptiles and amphibians. The program will also address some insects as well as invasive species, mammals and the trees explaining park histories and about animal tracks and insight about the wilderness survival requirements. The guides and educationists are all trained to answer difficult, witty and difficult questions adding value to the trip.

Though New York has variety of car rental options and the driving time from New York is usually 6 hours. However Syracuse Hancock International Airport located at 1000 Col Eileen Collins Boulevard is nearest to the park. Several car rental companies are available with a variety of packages and car models. Travel distance by car is around 95 miles and in normal circumstances it would be covered in less than two hours. Hotel accommodation with flexible options is also available near the park for those who plan to stay overnight adding value to their trip.