Watkins Glen State Park: 15 Facts You Should Know!

Watkins Glen State Park is famous for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities, and historical significance. 

  • The natural splendor, outdoor adventure options, and historical significance of Watkins Glen State Park are quite well. Hiking along the park’s pathways allows visitors to soak in the breathtaking surroundings.
  • Park is widely famous for its outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, swimming, and camping.

History and Facts

  • Watkins Glen Park has a history dating back more than 10,000 years, and the Seneca individuals who resided in it for generations respected it as a sacred spot. 
  • The Watkins family bought the land in 1863 and built mills to generate the energy required to crush grain into flour.
  •  In 1906, New York State acquired the park and named  it as a state park.


  • Address: 1009 N Franklin St Watkins Glen, NY 
  • Location: New York, United States
  • Zip code: 14891

Watkins Glen State Park

  • Watkins Glen State Park is known for its magnificent valley and waterfalls and is found in the Finger Lakes area of New York. Glen Creek eroded soft sedimentary strata, primarily shale, to build it. 
  • The 19 waterfalls that cascade down the 2-mile-long canyon path produced by Glen Creek as it flows through strata of strong, impervious rock like sandstone and limestone are the park’s principal attractions. 

Weather Conditions

  • Summertime is usually hot with a lot of humidity.
  • Winters experience temperatures sometimes lower than freezing point and is almost covered in falling snow.
  • Spring and fall are usually milder and more comfortable seasons, due to lesser humidity levels.

Wind speed Range (mph): 

Rainfall Range (in):

Snowfall Days:

Flora & Fauna


  • American beech
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Red maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Yellow birch
  • White pine
  • Wildflowers such as trillium, lady’s slipper, and violets


  • White-tailed deer
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Gray squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Red foxes
  • American black bear
  • Coyotes
  • woodpeckers, owls, and songbirds
  • Fish species.


Watkins Glen State Park is famous for the variety of things to enjoy like hiking, camping along with picnicking.

  • Hiking: Watkins Glen is a small town located on Lake Seneca and is widely famous for its ranging hiking trails and natural beauty scenes from there. 
  • The Gorge Trail with the North Rim Trail and the South Rim Trail are the 3 main trails in Watkins Glen. 
Gorge Trail and Indian Trail Loop

Difficult 6.8 Km 
Glen Creek George Trail 
Moderate3.1 Km 
Gorge Trail and Lovers Lane Loop   Easy1.1 Km 
Watkins Glen Indian Trail Moderate 3.9 Km
Watkins Glen South Rim Trail Difficult4.2 Km
  • Enjoying Waterfalls – There are several waterfalls in Watkins Glen, including some that require a trek and others that may be enjoyed from a canoe on the river. The terrain around the Finger Lakes is ideal for waterfalls, and there are numerous around.
Waterfalls Attractions 
Hector FallsThis is New York’s third highest waterfall, after only Taughannock and Niagara Falls. While it is a wayside waterfall, it may be seen from Seneca Lake on a kayak tour or cruise.
Shequagua FallsMontour Falls is a 165-foot cascade near Montour, New York. It is visible from the edge of Main Street and from one of the wooden benches. Visitors may stay to snap photographs or admire the waterfall.
Eagle’s Cliff FallsThe municipality manages Eagle’s Cliff Falls, a 40-foot waterfall in Havana Glen Park. There’s also a small campsite and playground, as well as $2 parking.
  • Picnics, fishing, and birding: These are all popular activities in the park. It features multiple streams and a big neighboring lake. 
  • Park offers a variety of picnic spots and areas to enjoy supper and snacks.
  •  Birdwatching: It is also feasible since the park is home to a diverse range of birds.
  • Swimming: During the summertime, the park features a huge swimming pool that is free to the public.
  • Playgrounds: Glen Park offers various playing fields which allow visitors to enjoy a wide range of sports.
  • Camping: Park offers a large range of 200 campsite options for visitors to lodge and stay overnight. 
  • Fees – $18-$30/night
    Non-resident – $5/night
  • Cabins: Rustic Cabins

(3-nights required for minimum)
Base Fee –  $58/night
Out of State Fee – $7/ night


The Glen Mountain Market, Farm House Market, Gorge View Snack Bar, and Picnic Spaces are all available in Watkins Glen State Park. 

  • Glen Mountain Store –  Provides a variety of beverage options like coffee inside the park.
  • Farm House Market – offers pre-baked and pre-cooked items.
  • Gorge View Snack Bar, – Gives sweeter options of ice-creams
  • Nearby-Restaurants – 
  1. The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor

#5 of 36 Restaurants in Watkins Glen

221 S Franklin St

0.1 miles from Watkins Glen State Park

  1. Lucky Star

#21 of 36 Restaurants in Watkins Glen

800 N Franklin St

0.1 miles from Watkins Glen State Park

  1. Subway

#33 of 36 Restaurants in Watkins Glen

800 N Franklin St

0.1 miles from Watkins Glen State Park

  1. Kookalarocs

#34 of 36 Restaurants in Watkins Glen

107 11th St

0.1 miles from Watkins Glen State Park

  1. Seneca Sunrise Coffee

#22 of 36 Restaurants in Watkins Glen

806 N Decatur St Garage

0.2 miles from Watkins Glen State Park


While there are no accommodations within the park except the camping and cabin lodging, some excellent choices nearby provide easy access to the area.

  1. Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

This well-rated hotel with 104 rooms and suites overlooking Seneca Lake is a 3-mile ride from the park’s cascades.

  1. Idlwilde Inn

This Victorian inn includes 15 guest rooms, 2 of which are pet friendly, as well as a complimentary breakfast served on the wraparound porch.

  1.  Glen Motor Inn

The lake-view motel has an outdoor pool, moderate prices, complimentary coffee, and convenient access to the park.

  1. Seneca Heights Cabins

At Watkins Glen, tiny cottages with nautical décor are offered for Airbnb, with AC and electric fireplaces, but require sharing of a public bathroom.


Visitors may enjoy a range of facilities in the parK:

  • Baseball/Softball Fld
  • Basketball Net/Court
  • Comfort Station
  • Dump Station
  • Hiking
  • Ice
  • Interpretive Programs
  • Parking
  • Pavilion
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Recreation Programs
  • Showers
  • Swimming – Pool
  • Water Fillup Stations.

Best Time to Visit

JanuaryFewer crowds, beautiful winter sceneryVery cold temperatures, icy and slippery trails
FebruaryFewer crowds, beautiful winter sceneryVery cold temperatures, icy and slippery trails
MarchBeautiful snowmelt waterfalls, fewer crowdsCold temperatures, icy and slippery trails
AprilSpring wildflowers, smaller crowdsSome trails may still be closed due to winter
MayWildflowers in full bloom, mild temperaturesCrowds begin to increase
JuneWildflowers in full bloom, mild temperaturesCrowds continue to increase
JulyWarm weather for swimming, longer park hoursCrowds are at their peak, lines and wait times
AugustWarm weather for swimming, longer park hoursCrowds remain high, lines and wait times
SeptemberFall foliage, cooler temperatures, smaller crowdsTrails can be slippery due to fallen leaves
OctoberBeautiful fall foliage, smaller crowdsTrails can be slippery due to fallen leaves
NovemberFewer crowds, beautiful autumn sceneryCold temperatures, some trails may be closed
DecemberBeautiful winter scenery, fewer crowdsVery cold temperatures, icy and slippery trails


These are some sites to view while visiting Park:

  • Seneca Lake: Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises provides an hour-long guided sightseeing trip around the lake, along with meals and nightly entertainment cruises. It’s a terrific way of enjoying the water while learning about the region’s history.
  • Franklin Street: Franklin Street, Watkins Glen’s major street, is lined with businesses and eateries. Bring a pair of good walking shoes and trek from the shoreline to the Watkins Glen State Park entrance. Take in the atmosphere by stopping for a snack or a drink.
  • Watkins Glen International:  Watkins Glen International is a contemporary motorsports attraction in the Finger Lakes area of New York. It has held NASCAR and IndyCar races, as well as sports car races and festivals. For $30, visitors may “drive the Glen” and experience the sights and history from the same asphalt as the experts. 
  • Finger Lakes National Forest:  The Finger Lakes National Forest is New York’s sole National Forest, featuring approximately 30 miles of hiking and exploring routes. Cell phone coverage is tough to come by, but there are lots of camping options.


The steps are as follows:

  • Visit State Parks’ official website Watkins Glen State Park (ny.gov)
  • Select the “Reservations” tab on the Fall Creek Falls State Park page.
  • Choose the kind of accommodation you want to book (cabin, campground, RV site, etc.) and press “Search.”
  • To view what’s available for your days, click “Check Availability.”
  • After you’ve selected a suitable accommodation, click “Book Now” and continue the on-screen instructions to finish your reservation.
  • You may also buy your admission ticket directly during the booking process, or spend when you reach the park.
  • Visitors will get an email confirmation with all of the information about their booking after you have finished their reservation and settled for your access pass.

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Fess Charges-

  • Swimming Pool operation: 30th June- 4th September (12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  – weekdays)
                                                                                            (11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.- weekends)

  • Camping:  For further info, visit http://www.newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com or call 1-800-456-2267
  • Shuttle Bus (between entrances only) – $6 /person/each way

Rules for Pets

  • Pets are permitted in approved in some specific areas of the park.

Specific Rule or Restriction

These are some ground rules to follow when exploring Ricketts Glen State Park:

  • At the park, glass containers are permitted.
  • Pets are not authorized in the slide rock or rill regions, although they are acceptable on a lead in other areas of the park.
  • Smoking is permitted only in defined places.
  • It is not permitted to jump or dive from rocks or cliffs.
  • The park does not allow amplified music or sound systems.
  • Visitors are not allowed after exit time
  • Proper disposal of waste is necessary otherwise park will fine penalized.

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