Thursday, July 24, 2014

Watkins Glen State Park

After driving north through Pennsylvania, I continued into New York and eventually found my way to Watkins Glen, at the south end of Seneca Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes.  Watkins Glen is known for its international race track and the Summer Jam music festival, which took place in 1973.  My intended destination was Watkins Glen State Park, whose main entrance is just west of the village itself.  I remember one other visit to this park, during my childhood in western New York.

The park consists of a gorge cut by Glen Creek, which flows roughly west to east, some camping areas, mostly south of the gorge, and some land extending along the north side the gorge.  From the main entrance, the Gorge Trail takes hikers inside the gorge, leading generally westward and uphill.  Visitors enter the lit tunnel toward the right of this picture, proceed up some stairs and then turn left to go across the first bridge.

Here's a view from the first bridge, showing several cascades and a natural dry opening.

I saw a few more cascades a bit farther along the Gorge Trail.

The Gorge Trail crosses Glen Creek by going behind Cavern Cascade.  If you forgot to shower in the morning, here's another chance.

The Gorge Trail goes over this bridge, just above Central Cascade.

Here are a few smaller cascades.

In this shot, which did not turn out to be very well-focused, the Gorge Trail goes behind Rainbow Falls, giving the hiker another chance to get a shower.  After passing behind the falls, on the left side of the gorge, you climb some stairs and go over Rainbow Bridge.

After the Rainbow Falls area, the Gorge Trail takes the hiker to Mile Point Bridge, a mile from the main entrance.  From here, short connector trails go to both the Indian Trail, which runs along the north side of the gorge, or the Finger Lakes Trail, which goes along the south side.  West of Mile Point, the Gorge Trail becomes much more level.  Here's a shot from within this relatively flat area.

The Gorge Trail eventually ends in a long upward climb toward the park's upper entrance, about a mile and a half from the main entrance.  I decided that I didn't want to do any more climbing, but I took this shot of the railroad bridge which passes just west of the end of the Gorge Trail, before turning around.

I proceeded along the Gorge Trail back to Mile Point, and then took the short connecting trail up to the Indian Trail, which eventually went mostly downhill.  Back toward the main entrance, a pedestrian suspension bridge goes over the gorge.  From here, I could take a pic looking downward at the gorge and the Gorge Trail, on which I had previously hiked.

From the south side of the suspension bridge, I found my way to the Finger Lakes Trail and a staircase that went down to the Gorge Trail near the main entrance.  I proceeded over that first bridge and down the lit tunnel (both seen in the first pic above) and back to the parking lot.  It was time to drink some water and get back on the road.

1 comment:

  1. It’s a nice trip report about the Watkins Glen State Park where I visited after orlando city tour. Watkins Glen State Park is located outside the village of Watkins Glen, New York, south of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County in the Finger Lakes region. The park's lower part is near the village, while the upper part is open woodland. This park is convenient and beautiful for your next trip or trail.