When we visited Letchworth State Park earlier in the year, we could only imagine how beautiful it must be in the Fall when the leaves turned golden. We didn’t return to that particular park on a recent trip upstate, but New York in the Finger Lakes region is so abundant with gorges and waterfalls that visiting all the state parks in the region will keep us busy for years. About 4 hours north of NYC, just south of Seneca Lake, is Watkins Glen.
The centerpiece of the park is the narrow gorge which was carved by glaciers. Waterfalls cascade down in a series of pools and the gorge trail is an intricate walkway of stone steps and bridges along the length of the gorge. The trail even leads you behind a waterfall on one end which was a welcome surprise, but every step and turn produced equally stunning and interesting views. Since you’re often walking closer to the bottom of the gorge near the water, you feel cocooned in by the walls of the rock which consist primarily of layered shale. If it’s sunny, the sun filters the light through tree tops. Foliage wasn’t peak yet when we were there; you could see the colors starting to turn on the edges of some trees, but every now and then we’d see yellow leaves floating down from the top of the gorge to where we were down on the trail. Sounds enchanting, yes? Nature often is, and after the month we’ve had, this hike was magic beyond words and photos.