Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous state park in Finger Lakes The glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs in a matter of two miles, and it causes 19 waterfalls along its course.
The centerpiece of the 778-acre (3.15 km2
) park is a 400-foot-deep (120 m) narrow gorge cut through rock by a stream – Glen Creek – that was left hanging when glaciers of the Ice age deepened the Seneca valley, increasing the tributary stream gradient to create rapids and waterfalls wherever there were layers of hard rock. The rocks of the area are sedimentary of Devonian age that are part of a dissected plateau that was uplifted with little faulting or distortion. They consist mostly of soft shales, with some layers of harder sandstone and limestone.
The park features three trails – open mid-May to early November – by which one can climb or descend the gorge. The Southern Rim and Indian Trails run along the wooded rim of the gorge, while the Gorge Trail is closest to the stream and runs over, under and along the park's 19 waterfalls by way of stone bridges and more than 800 stone steps. The trails connect to the Finger Lakes Trail
, an 800-mile (1,300 km) system of trails within New York state.