Watkins Glen State Park is a lesser known park located in New York’s Finger Lakes region outside of the village of Watkins Glen, just south of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County.
The lower area of the park is near the village while the upper area is open forest.
In operation to the public since 1863, it operated as a resort under private ownership until 1906, at which time it was purchased by the state and managed by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Only 1.2 square miles in size, the park is known for its centerpiece attraction, the Rainbow Gorge. The narrow gorge is 400 feet deep and is cut through by Glen Creek, which feeds the gorgeous Rainbow Falls. The gorge offers a wholly unique and beautiful site. A geological wonder, Rainbow Gorge is worth the drive alone.
This is not to minimize the rest of the park, however, as Watkins Glen State Park packs a lot into a small package. There are also three trails, which are open from mid-May to early November. There are also numerous camping sites that offer picnic tables, pavilions, playgrounds, dump stations, and showers. There’s also a gift shop located onsite. Fishing and hiking are popular activities at the park.
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