Watkins Glen State Park

#3 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
Watkins Glen State Park picture
Naeem Jaffer /Getty Images

Key Info

1009 N Franklin St.

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

One of the most popular state parks within the region, Watkins Glen is known for its 19 waterfalls and picturesque trails, especially the Gorge Trail. This looped path, which spans 2 ½ miles, winds over and under the falls and through the spray of the Cavern Cascade. A shuttle runs to the top of the trail for those who prefer not to hike up the long slope. Both campers and day visitors also receive access to the park's Olympic-size swimming pool. What's more, the park offers picnic facilities and fishing in nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, known for its spring run of rainbow trout.

Recent visitors called the waterfalls "amazing" and said this park is a must-do for hikers and photographers thanks to the charming paths and stone bridges that blend into the natural environment. Some loved the scenic 2-mile walk, while others recommended taking the shuttle to the top and walking down. 

You'll find Watkins Glen State Park near the village of Watkins Glen, south of Seneca Lake, accessible via Interstate 95. The park is open year-round; the trail shuttle runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shuttle and some trails may be closed during inclement weather. The vehicle entry fee of $8, collected from mid-May to November, includes use of the pool. For more information, visit the New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation website.

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More Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes

Skaneateles Lake1 of 10
Skiing2 of 10
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Skaneateles Lake

Located about 23 miles southwest of Syracuse, Skaneateles Lake is the sixth-largest of the Finger Lakes. The name means "long lake" in the Iroquois language and indeed, the 16-mile-long lake crosses three counties: Onandaga, Cayuga and Cortland. The historic Skaneateles Village dates back to the Revolutionary War and is filled with local shops, restaurants, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. The sparkling, clear lake is a favorite for boating and fishing. 

Many recent visitors to Skaneateles Lake said it was a favorite stop and loved the charming, historic town, saying that both dining and shopping were excellent. Visitors also commented on the lake's calm and clean "crystal clear" waters and said that even though it's off the beaten path it's well worth a visit. Several recommended one of the local boat tours, such as those provided by Mid-Lakes Navigation, as a way to learn the history of the area. 

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