Watkins Glen State Park has been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture of it when I first got on Flickr, about ten years ago. A picture very similar to the one on the left inspired my wanderlust. Looking at this picture, I would assume this was Costa Rica, or Hawaii, but no, this amazing glen of water and rock is actually in western New York. When I discovered this beautiful place is less than 8 hours away, I began planning a long weekend to explore it. Finally, the time came when it made sense to visit.

After visiting several Maine lighthouses, we made our way to Keane, New Hampshire for the night. I didn’t have much planned on the way from New Hampshire to Watkins Glen, but we did stop at the Albany Museum of Art and History to get out of the car and stretch our legs. Before long, we arrived at Watkins Glen and set up camp.

In the summer, the park offers shuttles from the Main Entrance to the upper entrance of the park. This allows you to hike down the 1 1/2 mile Gorge trail instead of having to go up 800 steps.  This made of a pretty leisurely, hike. It is definitely one of the most scenic of my life. If we had more time to explore, it would have been nice to hike some of the other trails in the park and get a different view of the gorge. As it was, I’m sure we got to see the best part.

From the moment we left the parking lot, I knew this was going to be like no other place I had ever seen. It seemed like every few feet there were beautiful stone bridges high above cascading falls. It reminded me a lot of Hocking Hills, but much more compact. The whole time I was amazed at the beauty, only to go down a few more steps, make a turn and get an even more breathtaking view.

While the top photo is the most iconic one of the park, the whole Gorge Trail blew my mind. I have never seen such a beautiful place. I have a really hard time reconciling it with New York state. This is not what I think when I think of New York. I’ve been told that some of the other parks in the Finger Lakes are just as beautiful. I will have to go back sometime to see for myself.

To plan your visit to Watkins Glen, visit parks.ny.gov. Be sure to come back next week when we visit the Corning Museum of Glass. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.