Guest Post: Watkins Glen, A Spellbinding Weekend Getaway

This guest post is from Johnie Gall of

Hear a mention of “New York” and your brain probably conjures up visions of gridlocked traffic or the elegant wool coats in the archives of The Sartorialist. And sure, the appeal of the urban side of New York State is pretty magical, but just a few hours from the city and short hike away is a truly spellbinding weekend trip.

watkins glen

Watkins Glen State Park offers 200-foot cliffs and over 19 waterfalls within an easy two-mile hike that looks like it’s in some remote part of South America. A shaded gorge path winds under and around the spray of waterfalls and massive pools of green water, and up to a beautiful suspension bridge. The entire walk takes about two hours, and that’s only if you’re stopping to snap pictures of the magical-looking location (and you will be…this place is definitely Facebook-worthy). It’s the perfect escape for NYC-dwellers looking to trade in their heels for hiking boots.

watkins glen

How to Get There

Rent a car or grab some friends and carpool up Route 14 to Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Inside the Park

Camping season is mid-May to early October and the park is open all year. There’s also a trail shuttle that runs on weekends after Labor Day from 9am-6pm. The trails close on November 9.  It’ll cost you $8 per vehicle to enter the park.

What’s Nearby

It’s a 40-minute drive to Lake Keuka, where you can toast to the hike at the local vineyards or go canoeing around the lake. Stop in for some pastries or dinner in Hammondsport, the “Coolest Small Town in America,” and watch the planes that sometimes land in the lake.

For more info, visit

watkins glen

Credit: Johnie Gall is the founder of


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