Watkins Glen State Park is located in the state of New York, south of Seneca Lake, which is part of the Finger Lakes region at 127 km (79 miles) far from Syracuse and 251 km (156 miles) from Niagra Falls. In the central part of the park there is a spectacular gorge cut by the Glen Creek.
The park features three tracks – the Southern Rim, the Indian Trail and the Gorge Trail – connected to the Fingers Lakes Trail. Among these, „Gorge Trail” is the most spectacular route, with 19 waterfalls, stone bridges and very, many stairs (over 800 stone steps). The highest waterfalls are 18 m (Central Waterfall) and 15 m (Cavern Falls). At the very end of the trail, you will make a last effort to climb Jacob’s Ladder, a staircase with 180 steps, to the top of the gorge where you can admire the spectacular landscape. The „Sothern Rim” trail crosses a forest at a distance of nearly 5 km and is ideal for summer hiking when it is very hot, but also in autumn for the forest colors. The „Indian” trail crosses the gorge and offers the opportunity to overlook many of the 19 waterfalls.
The access to the park is through the Main Entrance, the Upper Entrance and the South Entrance. No entrance fee is charged, but you have to pay a $ 8 parking fee. The very high humidity and the hundreds of steps that you have to climb / descend can be serious impediments for children or for convenience people. I cannot say that the lack of sports shoes makes it impossible to trace safely. The access to the „Gorge Trail” is forbidden after heavy or long rains and in the cold season.
The good part is that if you do not have too much time or if you are joined by kids you do not have to make the whole route. The last part is more difficult, and if you are exhausted at the end of the route, you can take a bus for a modest amount of money.In the park there are campgrounds, picnic tables, playgrounds and small souvenir shops. There is the possibility to go by bicycle and fishing.
In the end I can only say that this park won the third place in the US TODAY Readers’ Choice Poll for Best State Park in the United States in 2015.