Watkins Glen State Park

Yesterday we went to Watkins Glen State Park to hike up the many falls until we reached the top. This is where we started, at the bottom, where this water eventually makes it way into Seneca Lake.

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And when I turned around, I saw the beginning of the awesome sites we were about to see:

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We started out on the Gorge Trail, and as we climbed to the first bridge, we saw the first waterfalls which is at the bottom of a series of waterfalls that fall in steps. This waterfall is really cool because the water goes through the narrow curves really fast:

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The stone walls drip with water and are covered with all kinds of plants, including liverwort! Excuse my excitement, I’ve never seen liverwort in person that I know of:

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I absolutely love how the water has cut through the rock in this next photo:

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And speaking of love, my heart belongs to. . .

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Is that awesome how the water has cut the rock into a heart shape! This is at the foot of the next waterfall:

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At the next waterfall, which we walked behind (but no pics because my camera doesn’t know how to swim), the early morning sun was shining on the water just right for us to see a rainbow – see it?

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Once we walked behind this waterfall:

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We had to climb up the spiral tunnel staircase built within the rock wall. We saw tons and tons of ferns, including Maidenhair Spleenwort (another favorite of mine):

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Trees were hanging on the sides with their roots for dear life:

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The wildflowers were gorgeous:

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The roses smelled wonderful:

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Check this out! These ripples on the walkway were actually ripples of sand at the bottom of an ancient sea!

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They also are in the streambed:

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There’s lots of moss along the stone walls. Here’s an interesting one that’s a little longer than the rest I saw there:

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Here’s the next waterfalls we encountered:

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This is the same waterfalls looking down from the stone bridge:

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At this point there are several pools, called the Glen of Pools, such as this one. Oh my, I could have dove right in the water looked sooo refreshing!

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The next waterfalls we saw are the Rainbow Falls. You have to be there just at the right time of day to see a rainbow here. What I love here is the waterfall coming down the side of the wall, too:

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Here’s a better view of the waterfall coming down the side of the rock wall:

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Oh, and now we saw the wall full of ferns. I’ve never seen so many ferns like this on a rock wall!

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There are several fractures, or joints, along the rock walls:

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These joints were caused by a great continental collision between North America and Africa three million years ago that pushed up the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Plateau, a large area that includes the Finger Lakes region. The tremendous pressure of the continental collision fractured the rocks of Watkins Glen and the rest of southern New York State and lifted the land up.

Here’s another pool which I think is really cool:

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Here’s another waterfall we encountered.

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Looking back once at the top of the waterfall, we saw more beautiful curves of the watercut stone:

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And after climbing all of the stairs (I’ve heard there are 800 stairs on this trail), we decided to go the top along the Indian Trail:

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The thing I like about the Indian trail are no stairs! We climbed up and down trails. Here’s where we tested out my hiking / trekking poles for the first time. My brother suggested that my Mom buy a pair since they’re going hiking in Yosemite, so she wanted to try them. She took off like a bat out of hell going up a hill with them, so I had to try them out, and I took off. They really work!

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On Indian Trail we saw an interpretive sign that said it takes 25 years for the water we saw here in the glen to make its way out to the Atlantic Ocean! That blew our minds.

We also saw many different species of trees, including Chestnut Oak.

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At this overlook on Indian Trail, we had come down the hill a ways, but still, I took a photo of the same hill as I show in the first photo, and you can see we were up and far into the glen quite a ways!

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Here’s another one of those faults (joints) I mentioned earlier:

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And another view of the first waterfalls.

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I took a ton of photos, and what I’ve shown you are just a few of them. I hope you enjoyed them, and I hope you can make it to Watkins Glen someday! It was very refreshing to breathe in the fresh air there, and to smell wonderful smells of wet dirt and water.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mon@rch
    Jun 18, 2007 @ 19:55:23

    almost a ton of photos! LOL But love everyone of these and I really do need to go visit this state park one of these days!


  2. Lynne at Hasty Brook
    Jun 18, 2007 @ 19:59:38

    All of your pictures made me gasp at the beauty! The first pic of the falls acutally made me dizzy! Liverwort!!!! Too cool- you know I share your excitement. I’ve never seen it in person either. It’s almost overwhelming when I think of the power of the water that carved all of that rock. Thanks for taking me along and I look foreward to more pictures and stories of Watkins Glen.


  3. Pam
    Jun 18, 2007 @ 20:03:19

    Mon@rch – I took a ton of photos that I’m not “boring” you with!! I love it there! I know you would, too!
    Lynne – I was gasping the whole time I was there. My Mom asked me if I had never been there before, she *knows* I have since I’ve been with her before when I was younger. For some reason it just was more gorgeous than ever to me yesterday. Liverwort!!! I was soo happy to finally see it! The power of water amazes me to no end!


  4. Sherry
    Jun 18, 2007 @ 20:39:24

    Thank you for taking me on your hike!
    Waterfalls are my favorites.
    Enjoyed every photo and your commentary.
    Thanks again,


  5. jayne
    Jun 19, 2007 @ 06:16:22

    WOW! What a wonderful day and what a beautiful, breathtaking place to visit. Thanks so much for sharing all your lovely views with us Pam. I really must try and make the effort to get out of my own yard…. note to self.


  6. Pam
    Jun 19, 2007 @ 16:22:26

    Sherry – thank you, and you’re welcome. I love waterfalls, too.

    Jayne – You’re welcome! It is a really beautiful place to be.


  7. Mary
    Jun 19, 2007 @ 17:35:01

    You know I love a waterfall and I wish I were with you, Pam. This was invigorating to me and I thank you! It’s too hot to walk here.


  8. Sandy
    Jun 19, 2007 @ 17:59:38

    What a beautiful park, and it looks like you had a good day for your hike. This was a great photo tour, and one that I really enjoyed.


  9. laurie
    Jun 19, 2007 @ 21:34:04

    Holy Cow!! The photos are incredible!

    Wow, just wow!


  10. Susan Gets Native
    Jun 20, 2007 @ 00:21:13

    You. Are. Such. A Big. Show-off.
    I think the next birding trip needs to be up in your neck of the woods. And if we don’t see any birds, who cares? With scenery like that!


  11. naturegirl
    Jun 20, 2007 @ 06:58:30

    AMAZING nature in all it’s awesome glory!! WOW I am impressed have NEVER seen anything like this!!! You are so blessed in having had the opportunity to be so close and intimate with all this ! I must go back and study those images again! Thank you for sharing!! Just AWESOME!!! hugs NG


  12. Pam
    Jun 20, 2007 @ 16:39:54

    Laurie – thank you! This is part of the reason why I stay in NY State even though the job situation here sucks for my background.

    Susan – LOL!! I’ve been sooo boring for too long (with whining about missing my Dad) I have to start making up for it! There are lots of birds around!

    Naturegirl – I know! It is amazing – I love it soo much there! Thank you! Hugs to you!


  13. Cathy
    Jul 02, 2007 @ 20:14:29

    Watkins Glen. I’d heard about it. I didn’t know it was this spectacular. I’m so glad you’re doing it whilst your joints are young :0)


  14. Zack
    Jul 05, 2007 @ 11:59:00

    Is there a way to see these images in a larger size? When I click on them it says I don’t have permission to view them. 😦 They are beautiful anyway.


  15. Cheryl
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 22:11:21

    I love your photos! I first visited Watkins Glen gorge with my mom and dad 50 years ago when I was just 10. Over the years I had remembered feeling impressed with the natural beauty but of course the images had dimmed over time, and I wasn’t sure how I would feel seeing it again. This past week I went with my teenage son. We took the shuttle bus to the top and walked down. I honestly felt that same sense of the stunning natural beauty. Being a weekday morning, it was not crowded at all. I loved this trip and it was the highlight of our weeklong tour through New York State.


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