A Hike Through Rivendell

Watkins Glen State Park, New York

When we go hiking we expect there to be a payoff. We don’t go to stroll around the woods, commune with nature, or ‘find ourselves.’ We want to be rewarded for our efforts. Few places we’ve visited have been as rewarding as Watkins Glen State Park, in the Finger Lake’s region of New York State.

Any small portion of the gorge’s rock formations, 200 foot cliffs, or 19 waterfalls would have been sufficient to tempt us to undertake a several mile hike. We’d consider it a day well spent. At Watkins Glen, however, the entire 1 mile trek is pure payoff. From the moment we walked through a small cavern at the entrance, to our first sight of water careening around the twisted and stratified canyon walls, to the cascading falls and lush greenery that could have been ripped from a Rivendell stage set, we were wowed at every turn.

For sheer density of scenic beauty, it’s hard to think of a place we’ve been in the East that rivals Watkins Glen State Park. After over a year of travel, it probably ranks in the top three with Acadia National Park in Maine and Edward Ball State Park in Florida also vying for top honors. It’s a small park and it’s most impressive trail can be walked in under an hour . . . but it’s an hour incredibly well spent.

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11 Comments on “A Hike Through Rivendell”

  1. Simple Girl August 22, 2011 at 7:51 am #



  2. laurahartson August 22, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    this is so pretty!


  3. Victoria Fuller August 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Wow wow wow…never seen pictures of this before…How could it have escaped the “Beautiful America” calendars you see out and about? Lovely photo, well shot. Great light.


    • Brian August 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Many thanks.

      I think there are many, many hidden gems like Watkins Glen that get only cursory mention in large publications. We’ve certainly found some fantastic places on our trips that might qualify as “the best places you’ve probably never heard of.” I’ve lived in or around NY my whole life and had never been here before. Little surprises like this is what make our trip so rewarding.


  4. flyfishnevada August 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful It is surreal. If that wasn’t on the other side of the continent, I’d plan a trip just to see that. Fantastic.


  5. hikinginparadise November 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I lived in NY for the last 9 years, I think I’ve pretty much done the tour. The finger lakes and ithaca region are exceedingly beautiful. We spend a week here in 2009 hiking and still didn’t hit all the ones I wanted to.


  6. Rachel December 30, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    I went to Watkins Glen this June and also found it stunning! Another great fairly close hike is through Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca.


  7. Jason E. Marshall June 4, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    That is absolutely beautiful!


  8. travelscapism August 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Wow that is very pretty, I have to add it to my list of places to see.



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