Unique geological shifts from the Ice Age have formed a natural wonder in upstate New York. The gorges of Watkins Glen State Park create a natural trail of weathered stone that loops under and across a rapid creek and the gorgeous falls it produces. The incredible views and stunning geometric shapes draw so many to this beautiful destination every year.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to enjoy RV camping in Watkins Glen State Park!
Watkins Glen State Park Facts
Learning about a destination is the best way to fully appreciate everything it has to offer. This primer of Watkins Glen State Park Facts will get you up to speed.
- Watkins Glen State Park is a 1.2 square mile national park in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
- The park’s biggest attraction is a 400-foot deep gorge created by a stream called Glen Creek.
- The gorge was created as far back as the Ice Age. Glaciers slowly carved into the hard rock of the valley until rapids and waterfalls formed.
- Unique geological movements left fascinating formations of shale, limestone, and sandstone scattered throughout the park.
- These three stones’ differing erosion speeds helped create Watkins Glen’s numerous falls and rapids. One great spot to see the results of this process is called Spiral Gorge. There, you’ll find gradient rocks shaped into uniquely rounded, sloping geometric patterns.
With all this rich history and more, you won’t want to miss out on the beauty this park has to offer.
Best Watkins Glen State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Now let’s get you set up at your home on the road. We put together this list of the best Watkins Glen State Park RV parks and campgrounds to guide your plans.
Mohawk Village Campground
: This is one of the six RV campgrounds in Watkins Glen State Park. All six campgrounds feature a convenient location near all the action. However, this one is the only campground that offers electric hookups. You’ll pay a very affordable
fee for hooking up your RV that is well worth the cost. The sites are all nestled in dense trees and on dirt pads. Each site can accommodate an RV up to 40 feet long.
: 54 sites
: Mohawk Village Campground
Seneca Village Campground
: Seneca Village is another RV campground in Watkins Glen State Park. This is the northeastern loop of RV sites. Unlike Mohawk Village, there are no electric hookups. You’ll also have to back into all sites. RV sizes are limited to 25 to 35 feet long. You’ll have access to well-maintained showers and bathrooms just a short walk away from any site. There’s also a modern-looking playground for the kids.
: 24 sites
: Seneca Village Campground
Onondaga Village Campground
: These are the central RV sites in Watkins Glen State Park. You’ll have a private feeling surrounded by trees on these dirt-padded sites. You’ll have to back in and won’t have access to hookups. If you’re looking to go hiking, this campground might be a top choice. Sites are located right near the Indian and Gorge hiking trails. These sites can house RVs 25 to 30 feet in length.
: 26 RV sites
: Onondaga Village Campground
Watkins GlenCorning KOA
: For a nice alternative to the spartan sites in the park, check out this RV campground near Watkins Glen State Park. At Watkins Glen/Corning KOA, you’ll get a generous amenities list, including full hookups at every site. There are a ton of activities for adults and kids to enjoy, like a pool, mini-golf course, horseshoes, and even a gym! But keep in mind you’ll be losing the sparse, private feeling of the park for these luxuries.
: 306 RV sites
: Watkins Glen/Corning KOA
Tuscarora Village Campground
: Tuscarora is one more of the RV campgrounds in Watkins Glen State Park. This spot accommodates up to 12 RVs sized between 20 to 40 feet in length. Like the others within the park, you’ll have a spartan and woodsy feeling with no hookups available. You can find bathrooms, showers, and a playground nearby. You can also enjoy a peaceful lunch at the provided picnic table or roast some marshmallows over the fire pit at night.
: 12 RV sites
: Tuscarora Village Campground
Best Time to Visit Watkins Glen State Park
Since New York has four distinct seasons, each offers a different park experience. To help you decide when is the best time to visit Watkins Glen State Park for you, we’ve put together this seasonal guide below.
New York winters can be stark and cold. From December through February, temperatures rarely rise much higher than freezing. You might have a chance to enjoy the snow with about nine days of precipitation on average. Still, winter RV camping
in Watkins Glen State Park can offer a truly unique experience. The gorge’s already otherworldly scenery takes on a new life thanks to the hanging icicles and frozen falls everywhere.
Spring RV Camping in Watkins Glen State Park can be a nice choice. It might not feel like a traditional spring atmosphere, though. The temperature stays a brisk 40 to 60 degrees on average, and Watkins Glen isn’t well known for its wildflowers. If you want to avoid big crowds and don’t need the more pleasant summer conditions, spring is a great time to visit.
Summer might be the best time for RV camping in Watkins Glen State Park. Upstate New York’s summer season is perfectly mild, with a temperature of around 75 to 80 degrees. All of the park’s falls will be flushed with water and flowing rapidly. You will also have a much higher crowd density than normal since this is the high season. So if a summer visit is in the cards, plan and book early.
Fall is another favorite time for RV camping in Watkins Glen State Park. New York greenery is a sight to behold as the fall foliage shifts to gorgeous hues of burnt umbers, reds, and oranges. Even the moss growing in the crevices of the slotted stones in the gorge is painted in rich autumn tones. Aim for October for the best balance of comfortable temperatures (around 60 degrees) and fall coloration.
Things to Do in Watkins Glen State Park
There are so many wonderful things waiting for you to discover at this amazing destination. Get started with these things to do in Watkins Glen State Park!
- Hike the Gorge Trail. This 4-kilometer trail is the best spot for photo-ops in the whole park. The trail winds through the gorge and features several waterfalls along the way. You’ll be climbing quite a lot of stairs along the way. But you’ll be stopping to admire the view so much, and you might not even notice.
- Branch out into the Finger Lakes’ network of trails. If you’d like to add more miles to your boots, each of the park’s trails connects to the larger Finger Lakes Trail Network. You can challenge yourself as much or as little as you’d like with sprawling 800 miles of hiking options.
- Visit Seneca Lake. A gorgeous part of the Finger Lakes is just a 5-minute drive from the park. Seneca Lake offers a placid and peaceful view all year. Spend the afternoon walking along the charming pier, exploring the local town, or even trying your luck at fishing.
- Imbibe along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Celebrate the day at one of Seneca's renowned wineries, breweries, or distilleries. You’ll find something that any palate can enjoy and a ton to choose from. In fact, it would take a few days just to see each spot on the trail, so do your research first!
- Check out Watkins Glen International, an official Formula One racetrack. For some thrills to bookend your trip, Watkins Glen International is worth a visit. This track is home to NASCAR, supercar, and FormulaOne races. Check the schedule on their site for more info.
With so many fun-filled activities, you’ll want to book your campground spot well in advance, so you don’t miss out!
Tips on Visiting Watkins Glen State Park
Before you hit the road, make sure to look over these final tips on visiting Watkins Glen State Park.
- The park’s trails are only open from mid-May to November. Plan accordingly if you’d like to get some hiking in.
- Pets are allowed in the park, but not on the Gorge Trail. For your furry friend’s safety, keep your pet leashed and under careful supervision at all times.
- On rainy days, the Gorge Trail’s stone steps can be extremely slippery. Wear shoes or boots with good traction and be careful.
- The crowds can be heavy along the trails since people tend to go slowly and take lots of photos. Time your visit away from the weekends or the high season if possible.
- Remember that only the Mohawk Village Campground has electric hookups available in Watkins Glen. Make sure you book especially early if you’d like both a site in the park and electric.
Now that you know the best tips and tricks for visiting Watkins Glen State Park, it’s time to book your trip!
RV Rental for Watkins Glen State Park
That does it for our guide to this lovely destination. This beautiful park can make for a fun non-traditional family adventure
or a short getaway too. And what better way to do it than with a Watkins Glen State Park RV rental? Cruise America’s RVs are jam-packed with all the amenities and comforts you’ll need to make the road your home away from home. Enjoy a working kitchen and bathroom, shower, living area, and bedding for a comfortable stay wherever you go.
Reserve a Watkins Glen State Park RV rental spot and let Cruise America get you there in comfort with our extensive line of RVs