Located near the southern tip of Seneca Lake just one and a half hours southwest of Syracuse in Watkins Glen, New York, Watkins Glen State Park is the most visited and well-known of the Finger Lakes region. Ideal for a day trip from the city or a magnificent stop on a cross-country road trip, Watkins Glen is sure to leave you spellbound.
Visitors flock from all over the United States to witness the unique beauty of Watkins Glen. Nineteen waterfalls cascade over a length of two miles with its stream descending 400 feet over 200-foot cliffs through Cavern Cascade. New York State Parks works diligently for the historic preservation of this pristine area in Schuyler County.
Hiking & Exploring Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen offers a wide variety of hiking trails to discover the beauty of the area. Hikers can explore the Finger Lakes Trail (called the South Rim Trail), Taughannock Falls, the Indian Trail, the Glen Creek, or the Gorge Trail (just to name a few).
Check out the trail map for detailed instructions and trail-specific information. This map gives amazing recommendations for seeing all 19 of the park's waterfalls, depending on if you came in from the upper entrance, the main entrance, or the south entrance and what level of difficulty you are looking for.
Pack your lunch and make use of the on-site picnic facilities, perfect for an afternoon hiking break.
Swimming & Fishing
One of the big reasons people visit Watkins Glen State Park is for its Olympic-size swimming pool that is open for both campers and the public (for a fee). Anglers can enjoy fishing in Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, which are renowned for their annual spring run of rainbow trout.
To stay overnight at Watkins Glen State Park, campers have multiple options. The park provides over 300 campsites, complete with restrooms, hot showers, picnic tables, and RV sites with hookups. The campgrounds are made up of Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk, Onondaga, Tuscarora, and Seneca Villages, as well as the rustic cabins and group pavilions for rent.
The main entrance to Watkins Glen State Park is off of N. Franklin St. in the village of Watkins Glen. This New York State Park charges an entrance fee of $8 per vehicle (includes pool entry fee), $35 for a non-commercial bus, and $75 for a commercial bus or a non-profit seasonal bus pass. All three entry gates are open from sunrise to sunset between mid-May to mid-October. Be sure to visit the gift shop to learn more about the park and grab a souvenir or a gift.
While you are in the area, other nearby attractions include Robert H. Treman State Park, Taughannock Falls State Park, Watkins Glen International Racetrack, and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
Have you been to Watkins Glen? Tell us your experience on the Wide Open Roads Facebook Page!
Enjoy reading about the open road?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.