Watkins Glen State Park is a hidden gem of nature I had never heard of before, until recently. Okay, so maybe it’s not quite as hidden as I hear it is actually one of the most famous New York State Parks and the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, yet somehow this amazing oasis of unparalleled beauty had managed to stay out of my radar my whole life.
It first came to my attention (barely!) a few months ago when I pinned a photo of one of its gorgeous cascades to my Travel board on Pinterest. However, even though the beauty portrayed in the photo captured me and it surprised me to read in the caption this was actually located in New York, I didn’t pay any further attention to it. I simply pinned it as yet another place on my travel bucket list that I’d like to visit “someday”.
Little did I know at the time, that for once “someday” wasn’t a vague word to describe a time in the very distant future, and that I would actually be visiting such wonder of the world before the year’s end. It wasn’t even that I planned to visit Watkins Glen State Park this soon, as I didn’t even remember ever pinning a photo of it, let alone its existence, but through various circumstances I found myself visiting the Finger Lakes area a few weeks ago and ended up exactly there in an almost spur-of-the-moment excursion.
I call this park a hidden a gem not only because I went my whole life unaware of it, but also because I’m extremely surprised that its popularity is sort of mild. Sure, there were other visitors exploring the park and hiking its trails while we were there, and I’m sure they get a good flow of tourists all throughout the summer, but its beauty is so incredibly magnificent it should be renowned around the world! It should be a household name, right up there with the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. It may not be as impressive in size, but its beauty will blow your mind.
I have traveled and explored many places in my lifetime, and I can honestly say this place astounded me. I didn’t even explore the whole park, but just the 1.3 miles of the Gorge Trail going over and under tens of waterfalls was enough to fall in love. Even a few weeks later, I still find myself looking at the photos I took of them, again and again. I just can’t get over it. And I’m pretty sure you won’t get over it either if you ever visit the wonderland that is Watkins Glen State Park.