The Finger Lakes overall was a beautiful area to spend a few days. We stayed at a campground in between Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake. The farmland and vineyards were delightful. If interested, a history and geology of the Finger Lakes can be found here. Today's post is mostly pictures, and even they don't do justice to the beauty of Watkins Glen.
Many know of Watkins Glen New York as a NASCAR racing destination, but a short distance below Seneca Lake is Watkins Glen State Park, which features a spectacular narrow gorge where you can hike alongside Glen Creek past deep pools, water-sculpted rock and nineteen total waterfalls. The gorge was first opened to the public in 1863 by Morvalden Ellis, a journalist from Elmira. It was privately owned and operated as a tourist resort until it was purchased by New York State in 1906. Tunnels were dug, and sturdy concrete walkways and railings were installed through the gorge, but most were destroyed in a disasterous flood in 1935. After the flood, the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the walkways, constructing beautiful stone stairs, bridges and walls designed to blend in and harmonize with the natural beauty of the area.
There are three trails in the park: the Gorge Trail ( the main attraction, and of course the one that we could not walk the dogs on), the Indian Trail and the South Rim Trail. We developed a game plan: we would both walk the Indian Trail with the dogs to the end. Then Al would walk back on the Gorge Trail, while I walked them back to the truck. We then had some lunch, and drove up to the north entrance, where I then walked back down the Gorge Trail and met them at the entrance. BIG TIP: If at all possible, this is the much easier way to walk the Gorge Trail. Its 3/4 of a mile long, and encompasses a total of 800 stairs steps. All uphill from the entrance. And if you want to go up to use the facilities at the north entrance, "Jacob's Ladder" staircase awaits you at the end:
This is about halfway down, and note the hairpin turn as they keep ascending up. It's a long long climb!Anyway, on to the pictures. They don't do it justice whatsoever, but we did the best we could.
Our first view from Indian Trail. This is on the suspension bridge 85 feet above the creek.
The unassuming head of the creek
You walk down a spiral staircase from above this waterfall, and then walk behind it to the other side. It's really cool.
I noticed this pattern made by the action of the water...I thought it was really neat, and would like to know...what do you see??
Lord of the Rings fans...doesn't this look like a scene right out of Rivendell?
The Gorge narrows a lot here, and the force of the water coming through the small space is amazing, it almost seems to be spiraling downwards
Close-up of the spiral motion
The entrance falls, if you start at the Gorge Entrance, rather than the back as we did!
A short video of different sections of the Gorge
It was an amazing place, and even with the crowds of people there, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. It is easily in the top walks we have done so far...and was basically in our "backyard" all the time!
If you would like to see all our pictures from this day, I have them posted here at my Flickr account. Enjoy!