Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Watkins Glen State Park

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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 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.

In 2015, the park was chosen from more than 6,000 state parks across the nation as a nominee in the USA TODAY Readers' Choice Poll for Best State Park in the United States, and won third place!

Pavilion Reservation Information 

Trail Shuttle & Trail Updates - Please contact the park to confirm conditions before traveling

Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Written proof of rabies inoculation. Not allowed in pool area or on the Gorge Trail.  For campers, if your site allows pets, there is a two-pet maximum.

Hours of Operation

  • Park is open year round.
    Vehicle entry fee collected from mid-May to November. 
  • Trails Update: The Gorge, South Rim and Indian Trails are open.

    Trail status is dependent on weather conditions. With any questions, please call the park office at 607-535-4511.
  • 2016 Swimming Season: June 18 - September 5, 11 am - 7 pm, daily

    *Dates and hours are subject to change. Visitors are strongly encouraged to contact the park office before your visit to confirm swimming is open.
  • 2016 Camping Season: 5/13 - 10/10
    Group Camp: 5/13 - 10/23

    *Please note within the camping season time frame, some loops/sites may open later or close earlier. For more details, please call the park or visit http://www.newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
  • Trail Shuttle

    Service runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m

    The Watkins Glen Trolley runs weekends only until July 4th and then runs daily after. The trolley runs weekends only after Labor Day.
  • Shelters/Pavilions available May - October

    Gift Shop open year round.
  • Bow hunting for deer is permitted in season.

Fees & Rates

Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.

Your key to all season enjoyment of state parks is our season's pass. For $65, the Empire Passport provides you unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of our parks. Apply on-line or call your favorite park for more information.

  • Vehicle Entrance Fee
  • $8 per vehicle (includes pool)
    Non-commercial bus: $35
    Commercial bus: $75
    Non-profit seasonal bus pass: $75

    Collected at Main Entrance - 
    Mid-May - 6/17: 9 AM - 5:30 PM, daily
    6/18- 9/5: 8:30 AM - 7 PM, daily
    9/6- 11/1: 9 AM - 5:30 PM, daily

    Collected at South Entrance -
    5/21 - 6/19: 9:30 AM - 5 PM, weekends & holidays
    6/20 - 9/5: 10 AM - 5:30 PM, daily
    9/6 - 10/10: 9:30 AM - 5PM, weekends & holidays

    Collected at North Entrance -
    5/21 - 6/19: 9:30AM - 5PM, weekends & holidays
    6/20 - 9/5: 9:30AM - 5PM, daily
    9/6 - 10/10: 9:30AM - 5PM, weekends & holidays
  • Camping
  • $18-$30

    Out of state resident fee for camping, per night: $5

    Cabins:

    Rustic Cabins (3 night minimum)

    Base Rate: $58.00 per night
    Out of State Fee: $7.00 per night
  • Group Camp
  • Call Park for more details
  • Peddling Fee
  • $400
  • Shelter/Pavilion
  • East - enclosed: $75
    West - enclosed: $75
    Loggia - open on one side: $75
    Iroquois Lounge - enclosed: $150

Maps

Digital Maps

New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.

Firewood source maps show a 50-mile radius from which untreated firewood may be moved to this campground. For more information see firewood restrictions.

The Finger Lakes Environmental Education Department offers scheduled gorge tours and educational programs at Buttermilk Falls, Robert H. Treman, Taughannock Falls and Watkins Glen State Parks. All park programs are free and open to the public, no registration required, although a parking fee may be charged.

If you have a group (10 or more) that is interested in scheduling its own gorge tour or educational program at one of the above parks or at another Finger Lakes State Park please contact the office at (607) 387-7041 x 131 or email Josh.Teeter@parks.ny.gov

The Finger Lakes Story

Sparkling lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and rolling pastoral land dominate the landscape of the Finger Lakes Region. Over thousands of years, gigantic glaciers and coursing streams have carved this landscape. The most recent glacier moved through shallow river valleys leaving in its place deep, steep-sided troughs. When the glaciers receded north 10,000 years ago, water filled these new troughs, creating the 11 Finger Lakes. Since that time water has flowed down glacially steepened hillsides carrying debris that cut away at soft sedimentary rock to form our beautiful and unique gorges.

Gorge Tours provide information and insights about individual park history, ecology, gorge formation and geology. Tours last approximately one and one half hours.

Watkins Glen Gorge Tour - You'll tour a mile of the gorge trail that follows Glen Creek past water-sculpted rocks, through tunnels, next to and actually under two waterfalls. There are many beautiful stone steps on this trail making it a difficult hike for some visitors.

Educational Programs are offered about a variety of topics.

Birds ● Fossils ● Reptiles and Amphibians ● Insects ● Invasive Species ● Mammals ● Trees● Park Histories ● Animal Tracks ● Wilderness Survival

If don't see a specific topic please call or email us with your questions.

 

Deer hunting, bow only, is permitted in season. Please reference the NYS DEC Hunting & Trapping Guide for current dates and rules.

  • 2015-16 Hunting Schedule for Finger Lakes State Parks & Historic Sites
  • At Watkins Glen State Park, bow hunting on the west side of the railroad is open during DEC regulated archery seasons. The east side of the railroad opens November 1 through the end of DEC regulated archery seasons.

A valid New York State hunting license with the proper hunting stamps will serve as the regional hunting permit. Except where otherwise stated, this is the only permit necessary.

Safety zones and restricted areas are posted to ensure the safety of other park patrons and regional personnel. Signs will be posted at all parks during hunting season to notify patrons of this activity. Handguns will not be permitted in any of the parks. No trapping is allowed.

For additional information, please contact Watkins Glen State Park at: (607) 535-4511

Thu 25 Aug
Walk Behind the Waterfalls
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Watkins Glen State Park
(607) 535-4511

Join a park naturalist on a guided nature walk one mile up the Gorge Trail to explore the origins and history of the gorge.Meet at the gorge entrance at the end of the main parking lot off of Franklin St./NYS Route 14. No fee and no reservations are needed.

10:00am and 1:00pm

Fri 26 Aug
Walk Behind the Waterfalls
Friday, August 26, 2016
Watkins Glen State Park
(607) 535-4511

Join a park naturalist on a guided nature walk one mile up the Gorge Trail to explore the origins and history of the gorge.Meet at the gorge entrance at the end of the main parking lot off of Franklin St./NYS Route 14. No fee and no reservations are needed.

10:00am and 1:00pm

Sat 27 Aug
Walk Behind the Waterfalls
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Watkins Glen State Park
(607) 535-4511

Join a park naturalist on a guided nature walk one mile up the Gorge Trail to explore the origins and history of the gorge.Meet at the gorge entrance at the end of the main parking lot off of Franklin St./NYS Route 14. No fee and no reservations are needed.

10:00am and 1:00pm

Sat 03 Sep
First Saturday Hike
Saturday, September 3, 2016 09:30 AM - 12:30 AM
Watkins Glen State Park
(607) 387-7041 ext 131

Meet at the main entrance parking lot on Franklin Street. The hike will go up the Gorge Trail and we will return using the Indian trail and South Rim Trail. Total hike mileage 3.0 miles. Hike length and exact route subject to change due to weather conditions.

Registration: Required

Get Directions

Must See! This park supports the federally-threatened Leedy's roseroot wildflower.

Amenities, Activities & Information

  • Amenities
  • Camper Recreation
  • Campsites
  • Dumping Stations
  • Food
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Pavilions (Accessible)
  • Picnic Tables (Accessible)
  • Playgrounds
  • Playing Fields
  • Scenic Views
  • Showers (Accessible)
  • Swimming Pool (Accessible)
  • Tent/Trailer Sites
  • Waterfalls
  • Activities
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Recreation Programs
  • X-Country Skiing