Oldest and most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, the beauty of Watkins Glen State Park is a geological masterpiece 12,000 years in the making– a glacial landscape that after thousands of years today captivates and mesmerizes countless visitors.

Watkins Glen State Park Overview 

Hikers will enter Watkins Glen State Park at mile 231 of the main Finger Lakes Trail, beginning just east of Sugar Hill State Forest and continuing along the park’s South Rim Trail.

The famous Rim Trail overlooking the deep gorge carved out by Glen Creek’s cascading waters is certainly the highlight of this New York State Park, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year to take in its incredible scenic landscape and 19 waterfalls.

Explore the Rim Trail, winding through the gorge and even passing behind the cascading falls at Cascade Cavern, or head to the nearby Catherine Valley Trail, featuring beautiful Catherine Creek, and its run of Rainbow Trout each spring.

Visit Seneca Lake while in Watkins Glen

After passing through Watkins Glen State Park, you’ll pass through the town of Watkins Glen. If you have some time to kill, venturing into Watkins Glen and enjoying Seneca Lake is worth the side trip. Nearby wineries on the hillsides surrounding Seneca Lake make for a sweet retreat from the trail, and boating is easily accessible via local marinas and harbors offering rentals and scenic rides. 

The main Finger Lakes Trail also passes along the shores and southernmost point of Seneca Lake, as well as the Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area. This area is accessible via the Queen Catharine Marsh Loop, and venturing a bit further will lead you to the Montour Falls Historic Loop, where you’ll find beautiful Montour or Shequaga Falls located in the village of Montour Falls. Both loop trails are located in Schuyler County. Find these loop trails and explore them further on our interactive map.

Places to Stay in Watkins Glen State Park

Hikers should be aware that camping is not permitted along the park’s Rim Trail. Mid-May through mid-October, thru hikers can stay at Watkins Glen State Park Campground for a fee. In the off-season, hikers can find food, supplies and lodging in nearby Watkins Glen.

Visit the Watkins Glen State Park website or call 607.607.535.4511 for more information regarding the park or camping accommodations.

Allegany State Park
Darien Lakes State Park
Letchworth State Park
Watkins Glen State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Bowman Lake State Park
Oquaga Creek State Park