Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. Within two miles, the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. Campers at Watkins Glen campgrounds and day-visitors can enjoy the Olympic-size pool, scheduled summer tours through the gorge, tent and trailer campsites, picnic facilities and excellent fishing in nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, which is renowned for its annual spring run of rainbow trout.
After spending several very quiet nights in sparsely occupied campgrounds, we arrived at Watkins Glen to a full campground. The Six Nation Campground is comprised of six loops, each named after a tribe, with a total of over 300 sites. It looked like some of the sites were being rehabbed. The Mohawk Loop is the only one with electric hookups. There are also cabins, but I did not see them. Rates vary depending on how many nights you spend, whether you have an electric or non-electric site, and if you are a NY resident or not. Although the sites are spaced a decent amount apart, most do not have trees or any other barrier to separate them. However, despite our loop being completely full, we did not feel too close to our neighbors. The bathroom/shower facility was reasonably clean. There are two shower stalls and four toilets, and I feared it might be overwhelmed when the loop was full, but I never had to wait.
There is a large day-use area with some nice playground equipment and there are additional playground areas (not as nice) in the loops. There is also a swimming pool but since we were there in October, it had already closed for the season (despite temperatures hovering near 90 degrees)! Normally, there is a trail that leads from the campground to the South Rim Trail, from which you can access the Gorge and other trails, however, due to recent heavy rains, this trail was closed when we were there. There are three access points to the trails: south entrance, upper entrance, or main entrance. From any of these, you can do a loop or just part of the trails. The most popular Gorge trail can get very crowded. We arrived at 10 am on a Tuesday in October and by the time we left at noon, the trail was much more crowded. I can only imagine how crowded it could get on the weekends (judging by the size of the parking lot).
We travel a lot around the country and as such, trash and recycling policies can vary greatly. There was a sign on all the dumpsters listing materials accepted for recycling so we assumed we should use one dumpster for all garbage and recycling (this is how it was in Acadia NP). It wasn’t until later that we saw on a bulletin board that there is a recycling bin near the camp office. This could easily be confusing and could easily be remedied with additional information on the sign indicating where to bring recyclables!
Very large campground with a lot of spots! The park is nice and has a beautiful gorge trail close to the campground. Right outside the park is the town of Watkins glen, which has cute stores and restaurants! The Watkins glen international is close by and we got to see some racing , which was really neat! Would recommend this spot.
Beautiful scenery, great campgrounds, hiking trails, historic town and area to go site seeing for the day. If you like Watkins Glenn road course right around the corner
We stayed in the Tuscarora village loop. The sites there were non-electric. There was one central bathroom/shower house, so if being close to a restroom is important, choose your site accordingly. Some of the campsites were quite a walk from the facilities. Many of the sites back up to the woods, making them feel more spacious. There are also sites that are very close to together and we saw several extended family groups using adjoining sites - one for cooking, one for sleeping and one for hanging out. here is a wonderful playground in the Tuscarora loop. There’s another great playground next to the swimming pool. The town of Watkins Glen is adjacent to the park and has lots of little restaurants and shops - even a Ben and Jerry’s scoop shop! The town itself gets very crowded with people arriving on tour buses to see the waterfalls, and the bottom half of the Gorge Trail can be very busy. The rim trails and the upper half of the Gorge Trail were much less crowded.
We went looking for waterfalls to hike and the Gorge hike is located in this state park. We camped for 2 nights at site 166 in the Onondaga Village camground. The site is spacious and has a picnic table and fire ring. Although it was gravel, there are some sites with grassy areas. Our site was right behind the shower house which had clean, hot showers and restrooms. There are water spigots to fill containers located throughout the campground. Most sites don’t have electric and water except on one loop for RVs. We hiked through this park and the Gorge, and unfortunately we lost our camp photos when one of our phones fell in the Gorge and we couldn’t retrieve it. This is a great Basecamp for neighboring parks and trails. We will definitely be back again. Check the website for closures and hours as some things are weather dependent.
Amazing park. We’ve gone there multiple times. We prefer walking down and catching the bus back. There is a shop. There are bathrooms at the top and bottom of the trails. There are many trails we haven’t walked them all yet. Bring your camera for sure lots to see!
The winning attraction is clearly the gorges and we spent 5hrs hiking through them. Wonderful! Pool was nice, but you need to drive to it. If you have a choice, camp in the Iroquois area or another in the back. The front area (can’t remember the name) is really overcrowded. We basically shared our little campsite with the people on each side. Our picnic table was all of 10’ from that of our neighbors.
Watkins Glen has been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture of it on Flickr back in 2008 and it definitely lived up to expectations! I recommend taking the shuttle to the upper parking lot and hiking down unless you really like stairs. The campground is a standard state park campground, clean, fairly private. I would definitely like to come back. Hopefully it won’t take me 10 years to return.
Campground has spacious sites with alot of privacy. The Gorge Trail is a must do, dont get discourage by the # of stairs, its not that bad.
The campsites are wide open sites great for campers or tents. Very few sites have electric so if you want it- book early. The gorge hike is beautiful. It is a moderate hike but even if you are not a hiker the views are totally worth it. It is located in close proximity to many wineries and the finger lakes so not only is there a lot to do at the campground there is also a lot to do close by.