Watkins Glen State Park

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Watkins Glen State Park

Post by ElijahW » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:07 pm


Though most of the trails within Watkins Glen State Park (at the southern end of Seneca Lake) are closed until spring, I thought a winter visit to an accessible portion of the park, Punchbowl Lake, would be worthwhile, so that’s where I went today (2/11). I plan to add to this thread subsequent visits once the park opens up, but for now, this is it.

Punchbowl Lake is mentioned briefly in Bob Leverett’s and Bruce Kershner’s Sierra Club guidebook, and I first visited there about ten years ago, well before I was doing any tree measuring. Though the trail to the lake is a little steep, it’s a very short hike from the road, and relatively easy to get to.
Punchbowl Lake
Punchbowl Lake
The forest that covers the steep walls surrounding the lake is a typical Finger Lakes mix of oaks, maples, and hickories, but what’s most interesting to a tall-tree enthusiast is what’s at the bottom. At lake-level, the hardwoods give way to a fantastic grove of old White Pines and Hemlocks similar to what you experience in the Catskills or Adirondacks. The bad news is that this area is very small in size (just a few acres), but the good news is that it exists at all.

Here are some photos from my visit:
Hemlock-White Oak hybrid
Hemlock-White Oak hybrid
Trees Measured:

White Pine

137.5’ x 8.02’
131.4’ x 7.87’


116.0’ x 6.68’
113.3’ x 7.19’





Northern Red Oak


Red Hickory




Sugar Maple


Chestnut Oak


White Oak


Black Birch

84.7’ x 4.23’

Rucker Index: 105+

"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Re: Watkins Glen State Park

Post by sjhalow » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:14 pm

Pretty good heights on those White Pines. From the photos it looks like there might be a couple dozen more on the site.

I visited Watkins Glen (the gorge) a few years ago, I didn't realize that the park extended much beyond the gorge.

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