Tamanna Mohapatra sent a recap of the group outing to Watkins Glen State Park that took place earlier this fall:
Watkins Glen State Park is rated #3 of the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice of Best State Parks. It lived up to its reputation and more.
For me, the best part of the trip was the ride to the park and back. Living in the city it is a luxury to enjoy a long car ride during peak fall season. The trip from Manhattan is a good 4 hours, but we did not see much traffic given our schedule. What we did see were hills, ranges, and farmland, and highways with peak color pouring in from all directions.
Outing leader Charles Dexter did a spectacular job organizing the rides, the restaurants and each day’s itinerary. As we hadn’t planned for rain on the day of the hike, some of us went to the Watkins Glen Falls with fingers crossed and others ended up enjoying the surrounding Corning museum and a much smaller but equally impressive Havana Glen Falls. I recommend visiting both.
If you love capturing waterfalls, give yourself two days to make it through the entire park. Although not more than 3 miles from start to finish, you can easily be captivated in the first half of the park, which has the majority of the falls, and never make it to the end before the park closes at sunset. If you need to avoid climbing (especially after a day of carrying heavy camera equipment), start the park at the Upper entrance and climb your way down; otherwise if you enter at the Main Entrance there are close to 40 steps leading to the end of park. Also, be aware of the shuttle schedule (and have $5 cash) to ride back to the parking lot, unless you have the time and energy to do the trail all the way back.
Fall is a great time to visit, and even in the rain, it was a great weekend trip!