Watkins glen loop


Watkins Glen State Park holds the most enchanting gorge I have ever seen – full of bright green foliage, turquoise waterfalls, and mossy stone bridges. It lived up to all of my expectations, which were set very high after seeing photos of this place! The hike itself is pretty easy – low mileage and a slow incline of about 500 ft overall to reach the Indian Trail.

We took our time strolling through the gorge to admire the view, and also had to hike a little slow due to the large crowds walking in both directions. The trail begins next to the Watkins Glen Gift Shop where you pass through a tunnel to enter the gorge from above. The stone path soon reaches the Spiral Tunnel where you can walk behind a large waterfall. Hikers continue up the gorge meandering along the stream and pass several cascades, over bridges, and under springs. The gorge widens near a bridge at the one-mile point and soon after begins to climb the side of the canyon to reach the Indian Trail and upper entrance.

To complete the loop, head back towards the main entrance along the Indian Trail. This will give you a new perspective of the gorge from above. The path runs adjacent to a cemetery before crossing a suspension bridge to the other side of the gorge. The bridge ends near the south entrance where camping sites are available. Finally, the trail descends back to the gorge trail right near the entrance tunnel for a quick walk back to the parking lot.


Use caution on this hike in all seasons – the stones can become very slippery from rain or spray from the waterfalls. The park is closed in the winter.

getting there

Watkins Glen State Park is located at the southern end of Seneca Lake in New York, just off the 14S. There is a fee for the parking lot near the trailhead.

Updated June 2016