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Hike to Watkins Glen's Waterfalls

Watkins Glen, New York

4.6/5
based on 9 reviews

Details

Distance

4 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Timothy Behuniak

This easy hike features beautiful scenery and several great photographic opportunities.

Nestled right off the main road in the small village of Watkins Glen in Upstate New York, Watkins Glen State Park is a beautiful area with plenty to see. Although it is a bit touristy and right off of the road, you'll forget how close to society you are when you see these beautiful waterfalls.

With three different entrances, parking is fairly easy, but arriving later in the day or earlier in the morning is still the best time to come to avoid large crowds and to catch the best light for pictures.

Start at the Upper Entrance to hike down alongside the falls. Start at the Main Entrance to see the very beginning of the falls and to hike up along side them. Start at the South Entrance to get the best vantage point and less-used parking area.

If you start at the South Entrance, you can skip the bigger crowds that generally form around the Upper and Main entrances. Also, you're placed right near the start of the falls, so you don't miss much in terms of sightseeing.

From the South Entrance, take the trail down towards the falls and head over the Suspension Bridge for the best sight seeing and photo ops. Follow Lover's Lane and stick with it as it merges into the Gorge Trail. Definitely stay 'til the end if you and your group are feeling up to it. The trail is relatively easy, with built in steps and sidewalls to prevent falling. It's about 2 miles from the South Entrance all the way to the end. Once at the end, you can easily loop back around to hike the way you came up, or bypass the crowds and most of the views and take the Indian Trail, if you're feeling anxious to get back to your car or a picnic area near the parking lot to refuel.

Watkins Glen is open year round and is beautiful in any season, but you definitely will not regret making your first time in late Fall.

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Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

This is one of the most popular areas in the Finger Lakes and for good reason. The path is well paved for the most part but there are quite a bit of steps so be prepared for that.

Yes, this is a beautiful hike, but it's just too crowded to be enjoyable on most days. If possible, visit when it's raining so that you have more time to enjoy the falls without feeling like you're in a parade. The hike is fabulous and the falls are amazing.

If you visit in the winter, the main gorge trail will be closed. However, the rim trail will still give you some great views into the gorge!

Grew up in the area, so have visited most of the waterfalls and parks. But this one is spectacular because of its unique tunnels and paths that go behind the waterfalls. Epic !

We camped at the nearby campgrounds, so I made many trips to the falls and walked it up and down several times. In the early morning sun there's almost no one there and the mist from the falls creates beams of light everywhere. That was probably my favorite time to go. Some trips I took photos, others I smoked a pipe and contemplated life in the dreamy Lord of the Rings' Rivendell-like environment. If you're sneaky, you can walk up the stream as the river is only knee-deep at most, but you're technically not allowed to do so. Park security does walk to trail from time to time, so be aware. Do be aware mid-day to early evening it is often slammed with people, so plan accordingly. Great falls, great photos, great vibes.

Beautiful, well-maintained state park with gorgeous waterfalls, slides, gorges, and cool steps and staircases carved into the rock. Hike was straightforward and easy. Went on a Friday afternoon in August and main, Gorge trail was practically a highway of people. Nonetheless, still a good, quick walk in the park. Worth the trip if you don't mind or can skip the crowds via the south entrance.

Nice hike with plenty of waterfalls! The trail is nice and easy to walk; the views are even better! The park does get very busy on nice days.

Stunning park, it is a simple beautiful hike through a gorge with several impressive and unique waterfalls. As a photographer, get there early to avoid crowds and get unobstructed photos.

Great hike past beautiful waterfalls. This is one of my favorite hikes. The bridges spanning the falls look great and the trail is in good condition. The trail leading back from above the gorge is a nice change of scenery, a forest of red pines. I can't wait to go back with my new camera.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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