March 11, 2014

Watkins Glen State Park : Awesome

We've reached daytime melting temps here in northern MN (at last!) 
I'm enjoying listening to the sound of snow steadily dripping & sliding off the roof. 
As we wait for snowbanks to settle, I'm finally sharing one of my favorite places visited last May during our trip through the NY Finger Lakes region: Watkins Glen State Park.   
(It's not just a favorite because we share the same name.. The place was amazing!)
We had seized the gorgeous Buttermilk Falls State Park & Taughanock Falls State Park.
It was late in the day & we had worked up a good appetite, so next we stopped for a warm meal in the village of Watkins Glen before finding the park entrance.
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation of leaving guests spellbound.  The centerpiece of the park is a 400-foot-deep narrow gorge (about 1.5 miles long) cut through rock by Glen Creek.
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
I have put off posting about this stop for so long, mainly because I have so many photos I didn't know how to choose!  Again, poor lens selection & the gradual loss of daylight helped to limit my photos.  I'm glad some turned out half ways decent.

From the parking lot, the entrance to the park trail is a tunnel which took us to the Sentinel Bridge above, and began our climb into the gorge & waterfalls.
We were on the Gorge Trail, which is closest to the stream and runs over, under, and along the park's 19 waterfalls by way of stone bridges and more than 800 stone steps (all going up.)

Within two miles, the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf
Within two miles, the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. - See more at: http://nysparks.com/parks/142/details.aspx#sthash.0NumkIew.dpuf


Something that amazed me about these Finger Lakes State Parks is the beauty in how they've been made to accommodate humans.  There are no unsightly chains or steel rails, everything is created from stone, blending with surroundings & the natural course of the gorge. 
The paths, bridges, and stonework add to the magic, rather than detract from it.

Two park guests below offer perspective to the depth of the gorge & the height of it's walls around us as they peer straight up at the woods up on the rim.


The path took us under Cavern Cascade, a 60 ft. plunge pouring from over our heads, before winding up through another tunnel.

The trail would take us under the Rainbow Falls below, as well.



Rainbow Falls:

Things were a little wet & sometimes slick, this was the wettest!  


From under a natural ledge with water falling over us:


The Narrows: This area of the gorge has its own micro-climate. It
is shady, cool and very moist most of the time, similar to a
rainforest.   More muddy trail.



After a mile and a half of climbing steps into the gorge, we had the park more to ourselves as we turned around & headed back down.

We made it to three of state parks & waterfalls in the Finger Lakes Region all in this one day.  I highly recommend all three, and would love to return to see more (there are many.) 

As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.  I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche.  I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. - John Muir


27 comments:

  1. What an amazing park. Your nature shots are impeccable. Lovely greens and the waterfalls are mesmerizing.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

    ReplyDelete
  2. the greenery is gorgeous! those spills are other-wordly.

    and hooray for minnesota melting! at least for now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, so incredibly beautiful. Your pictures are stunning in their beauty and simplicity. The waterfalls, the rock, I love it all! Thank you for sharing this with me. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You bring back memories of our visit in late summer of 2012. We were headed to Lake Ontario (Fairhaven, NY) where we'd rented a house for the week. My mother-in-law was with us and she said oh sure she could climb the trail. I can't remember how far we got, maybe a third of the way and when I inquired of someone coming down how much farther it was and learned that it got steeper she consented to turning around. She was obviously hurting in her legs and knees but didn't want to admit it. It is a lovely place. Your photos do it justice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. gorgeous images of this beautiful spot ~ love the perfect words of John Muir -♥

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amanda, your photos of Watkins Glen are amazing. The waterfalls are so magical. You've captured the undulating rock formations of the gorge so well. I'd imagine walking down and back up a mile and a half of steps made for tired legs! Yippee for your melting snow - we just had more today!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stunning scenery Amanda and combine that with the water ( and the sound of the water while there) no wonder it's one of your favourite places. I love the bright greens agains the mixed greys too. You could really sit and just soak it all in for hours. Great quote...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow. That is a beautiful hike. Something my family and I, would really enjoy. Lucky you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an amazing and awe inspiring place. An absolutely exciting place and such a lot of exercise!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amazing waterfall pics! The eroded layered rock is very interesting. And I love how they use native rock walls and such for the walkways to blend in with the natural environment. I can see why this was one of your favorite places.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A lovely place! Your photos are just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a lovely place...just like a heaven..!

    ReplyDelete
  13. oh my oh my, breath taking shots. We are so lucky there are those who work these incredible areas into places everyone can take advantage..!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my word, what a gorgeous place!! I love that they haven't used metal railings, etc. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my. . . stunningly beautiful.
    And keeping it natural enhances the charm.
    Inspirational . . .

    ReplyDelete
  16. Holy cow, this is awesome! Adding it to the bucket list to visit here someday. It's just breathtaking. I love love love being in nature like this. I bet it was so awesome to be there in person. Your photos turned out great and I love how you captured the flowing water photos. So cool!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It has been many years since I last visited Watkins Glenn… thank you for reminding me of the extraordinary beauty of this place.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Watkins Glenn has long been on our bucket list, but after seeing your beautiful photos I want to get there more than ever.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a wonderful place! It looks like the kind of place I could stay for days just to take pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am going to have to show my Husband these photos. We love to go Hiking in places just like this. These photos are beautiful..

    Hugs~

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fantastic waterfalls♪ Thanks for the show! http://lauriekazmierczak.com/familiar-winter-sighting/

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh My Heart.... GORGEOUS..... We HAVE to go there sometime since we love waterfalls SO much.... After seeing your photos makes me want to go there NOW..... Beautiful!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow! What a great looking place! Although it may not be very original to say this, I'm sure that parst of Lord of the Rings could have been filmed here - especially the bridge!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: thanks for the multiple comments.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Absolutely magnificent shots! ~ need little words ~ how blessed you are to see this place and photograph it ~ xxx

    artmusedog and carol

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just love the layer upon layer of rock -- something we don't see here. Fabulous shots Amanda!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for sharing the higlights of the Watkins Glen! A fantastic walk you've had ... the layers of rock, the formations ... I can't help thinking of the thousands / millions of years history of the formation of these rocks: The ice rubbing the cliff, the water dripping and forming ... So unique!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wowza! It really is amazing...and I'm sure many an adventure was had there over the years.

    ReplyDelete