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The two RV Gypsies
walked the gorge and climbed the 832 stairs
in Watkins Glen State Park
and then had to muster the strength for the return trip
September 18, 2013

USA map showing location of New York statemap of New York showing location of Watkins Glen

Entering Watkins Glen State Park cost the two RV Gypsies $8 to park their truck. Then they walked the Gorge Trail which followed Glen Creek past water-sculptured rocks, 19 waterfalls, plus 832 stairs (one-way).

Watkins Glen State Park sign
sign about water power in Watkins Glen

From the parking lot, the two RV Gypsies got a glimpse of the Sentry Bridge and Cavern Cascade.

Sentry Bridge and Cavern Cascade

Below: The entrance tunnel leading to the Sentry Bridge. Tunnels in the gorge were hand-cut into the rock in the early 1900s.

entrance tunnel  to Sentry Bridge
the entrance tunnel to the Sentry Bridge

The two RV Gypsies looked down from the Sentry Bridge into the gorge and they got a glimpse of Cavern Cascade.

Looking down from the Sentry Bridge into the gorge
Looking down from the Sentry Bridge into the gorge

history bookThe two RV Gypsies noticed a hole in the cliff to the right of the falls and learned that in the mid 1800s, water behind a dam passed through this hole (which is really a tunnel), then the water flowed down a wooden trough, and over the waterwheel of a flour mill in the Main Entrance.

a special tunnel

The two RV Gypsies looked back at the Entrance Tunnel where it met Sentry Bridge.

Looking back at the Entrance Tunnel as it meets Sentry Bridge
looking back at Sentry Bridge

Looking down into the gorge and the lower falls of Cavern Cascade.

Looking down into the gorge and the lower falls of Cavern Cascade
Looking down into the gorge and the lower falls of Cavern Cascade
the gorge
Cavern Cascade
Cavern Cascade
Cavern Cascade
Cavern Cascade

Below is one of two waterfalls the two RV Gypsies got to walk behind. This is made possible by the wearing away of a thin layer of shale rock underneath a tougher layer of sandstone. The waterfall has eroded this narrow section of gorge and the deep pool below. First Karen Duquette photographed Lee Duquette as he was about to walk under Cavern Cascade. Then Lee went back down the trail and photographed Karen as she was about to walk under Cavern Cascade.

Lee Duquette ready to walk under Cavern Cascade
Karen Duquette ready to walk under Cavern Cascade

Below: Standing behind Cavern Cascade, Karen photographed Lee as he once again approached Cavern Cascade. Then Karen looked straight down Cavern Cascade to the pool below and took a photo of the amazing sight before her eyes.

Lee as he approaches Cavern Cascade
Looking down Cavern Cascade
 

As the two RV Gypsies continued their walk, they paused and looked up to the top of Cavern Cascade, plus looked back at the main gorge trail that led to Cavern Cascade. Karen Duquette marveled at what a wonderfully unique place they were fortunate enough to explore. She realizes how lucky they are to be able to travel as they do.

Looking up to the top of?Cavern Cascade
The main gorge trail that led to Cavern Caascade

After climbing up the stairs in the Spiral Tunnel, Karen Duquette turned around and took a photo, but only a small portion of the Spiral staircase could be seen in the photo.

the Spiral Tunnel

Next, the two RV Gypsies groaned as they saw a lot of stairs leading to the suspension bridge, 85 feet above the creek.

history bookDuring the great flood of 1935, the water rose to within five feet of the suspension bridge. Much of the stone masonry work in this park was built after this flood. In the 1800s, the dining room of the 3-story Glen Mountain House peered over the gorge next to the Suspension Bridge and Lily Pond.

stairs leading to the suspension bridge

At the top of the stairs, Karen Duquette paused and looked down the stairs and into the gorge. Then when she stepped onto the suspension bridge, she looked down at the Lily Pond.

looking down the stairs and into the gorge
Lily Pond

Looking over the edge at
"The Narrows"

Several cascades seen from The Narrows

The Narrows
two waterfalls
 
divider bar

Glen Cathedral

approaching Glen Cathedral

Karen Duquette and the Glen Cathedral Tunnel

Karen Duquette exiting the tunnel to Glen Cathedral
exiting the tunnel to Glen Cathedral
Karen Duquette
cliffs at Glen Cathedral

Lee Duquette paused to read some informative signs. Then Karen Duquette photographed the signs and they are posted below. The two RV Gypsies want this website to be more than just a bunch of photos. They like to include a touch of history, and Karen thinks that signs are a great way to do just that.

Lee Duquette reading a sign at Glen Cathedral

The orange dot in the photo below shows that the two RV Gypsies were actually standing way below where the water level used to be 12,000 years ago. The sign also explained the formation of the gorge.

dot showing where the two RV Gypsies are standing
sign about cutting a canyon
WOW
sign about winter
sign about frost-loosened rocks
sign about floods
divider bar

Plunging more than 60 feet, Central Cascade is the highest waterfall in the gorge. Above this waterfall, the trail crosses the creek via a scenic stone bridge.

Central Cascade and the stone bridge

But to get there, the two RV Gypsies had to climb lots more stairs. - There are 832 stairs in total(one-way).

stairs, Central Cascade and the stone bridge
stairs, Central Cascade and the stone bridge

Lee climbed up the stairs to the bridge and Karen spent some time taking photographs from the trail below. Then she took photos of Lee on the Central Cascade Bridge.

Lee Duquette on the scenic stone bridge
Lee Duquette on the scenic stone bridge

Then Lee Duquette photographed Karen Duquette as she finally made her way up the stairs too.

Lee Duquette on the scenic stone bridge
Karen Duquette making her way up the stairs.
Central Cascade

The Glen of Pools area that leads to Rainbow Falls.

small cascades at The Glen of Pools
small cascades at The Glen of Pools
small cascades at The Glen of Pools
small cascades at The Glen of Pools

Lee Duquette stopped to read a sign before walking under Rainbow Falls.

Lee Duquette approaching Rainbow Falls
sign about the gorge

Karen Duquette walked under Rainbow Falls and reached out to feel the water.

Rainbow Falls
Karen Duquette under Rainbow Falls

Karen Duquette felt the coolness of the water at Rainbow Falls.

Karen feels the coolness of the water at Rainbow Falls
the water at Rainbow Falls

Stairs leading up to the bridge over Rainbow Falls.

The two RV Gypsies under Rainbow Falls
Stairs leading up to the bridge over Rainbow Falls.

From the bridge above Rainbow Falls, Karen Duquette looked back at other people walking under Rainbow Falls. Then Karen photographed the view from the bridge, looking in the other direction.

people walking under Rainbow Falls.
The view from the bridge over Rainbow Falls

Beyond the bridge above Rainbow Falls, there were lots more stairs down to Spiral Gorge.

more stairs
the Gorge Trail

The two RV Gypsies walked through Spiral Gorge, a dark and narrow passage with dripping springs and sculptured pools

Spiral Gorge, a dark and narrow passage with dripping springs and sculptured pools
Spiral Gorge
looking down from Spiral Gorge at cascades

Lee Duquette on the stairs leading to thin Pluto Falls, named for the ancient Roman lord of the underworld.

Lee on the stairs leading to thin Pluto Falls
Pluto Falls
 

Then, of course, it was time to go down some stairs and then the two RV Gypsies viewed a staircase of several unnamed waterfalls.

time to go down some stairs
un-named cascades
a small waterfall
a small waterfall and a big rock

Below: Sculptured pools of water and beauty

sculptured pools of water
sculptured pools of water
Mile Point sign

Karen Duquette photographed the gorge from each side of the Mile Point Bridge, while Lee studied the Mile Point sign. The two RV Gypsies did not cross over Mile Point Bridge, instead they continued on the Gorge Trail.

view from Mile Point Bridge
view from Mile Point Bridge

Lee Duquette noticed a large beehive and bees on the side of the cliff.

a large beehive and bees on the side of the cliff

After Mile Point Bridge, the scenery changed as the Gorge Trail took the two RV Gypsies low down in the Gorge and right beside a small stream. The water appeared to be still, but in reality, it was moving ever so slowly. The two RV Gypsies meet a group of people who were on a tour bus as they were walking the opposite way from the two RV Gypsies. The tour bus dropped them off at the Upper Entrance and they will walk one-way to the Main Entrance, where the tour bus will pick them up. However, once the two RV Gypsies reach the Upper Entrance, they have to walk the trail and do the 832 stairs all over again to get back to the Main Entrance and their truck where they parked in the Main Entrance parking lot.

the easiest part of the gorge trail
Lee Duquette on the gorge trail
divider bar

The two RV Gypsies came a sign about the railroad bridge at the upper end of Watkins Glen. Karen photographed parts of the sign that explained what they were actually looking at.

sign about the railroad trestle
photo of A 1904 postcard showing the original Railroad bridge
sign

Below: A 1904 postcard showing the original Railroad bridge at the upper end of Watkins Glen - and the actual bridge as it appears today, September 18, 2013

A 1904 postcard showing the original Railroad bridge
the actual bridge as it appears today, September 18, 2013
  the collapsed railroad bridge
sign about floodwaters
sign
divider bar

The it was time for the two RV Gypsies to complete their 1-1/2 mile hike from the Main Entrance to the Upper Entrance by climbing the remaining staircase at Jacobs Ladder. Below, Lee was part way up the final staircase, and Karen told him to turn around so she could photograph him on the stairs.

Then as the two RV Gypsies rounded the corner, there were even more stairs. Karen was too tired to photograph the rest of the stairs. This completed a total of 832 stairs (One-Way) on this journey along the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park.

Lee Duquette on the stairs leading to the Upper Entrance

After reaching the Upper Entrance, the two RV Gypsies sat on a wall and took a much needed rest. Then they photographed two signs that were at the Upper Gorge, and used the restrooms. The gift shop and snack bar were closed.

sign at the Upper Gorge
sign about Watkins Glen State Park

In season, there is a shuttle bus at the Upper Gorge that drives people back to the Main Entrance Parking Lot. But it was no longer prime season so the shuttle bus was not running and the two RV Gypsies had to hike their way back to the Main Entrance Parking Lot. They considered walking the roadway back, but thought there could be a possibility of getting lost if they tried that. So they thought it best to stay within the park. They were quite relieved when they eventually reached the Sentry Bridge again and were able to take a picture of their truck in the parking lot. But they agreed that this hike was worth the effort.

the truck of the two RV Gypsies back at the parking lot - end of the hike
Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures in New York
September 17-19, 2013

You may visit these four (4) sites in any order you choose.
There is also a link to Pennsylvania below.

bullet Rock City Park, a prehistoric ocean floor in Olean, NY

bullet five waterfalls and a Grist Mill

bullet 1-1/2 mile hike along a gorge, 832 stairs one-way and 19 waterfalls (this page)

bullet Watkins Glen KOA campground

look below for navigational options

go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all three sites above, please continue on to see The two RV Gypsies visbulletit Karen Duquette's cousins in New Milford, Pennsylvania