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What To Do In Watkins Glen In The Winter?

What To Do In Watkins Glen In The Winter?

Watkins Glen, located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region in New York, is a famous tourist destination known for its natural beauty and world-renowned racetrack. While many visitors flock to the area during the summer, Watkins Glen is equally impressive during the winter. 

The Watkins Glen State Park is open year-round, providing scenic trails for hiking and snowshoeing. The community center’s rink is open to the public for those interested in ice skating. Additionally, visitors can indulge in wine tasting at the local wineries, which offer a cozy atmosphere to escape the cold weather.

This article will discuss a few exciting things to do in Watkins Glen during winter.

Visit The Watkins Glen State Park

One of the main attractions of Watkins Glen is its State Park, which boasts a spectacular gorge and waterfall system. Although the park is open year-round, visiting during the winter provides a unique perspective on the area’s natural beauty. 

The park’s trails are less crowded during winter, and the snow-covered landscape creates a serene atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy hiking through the park’s 2-mile gorge trail, which showcases 19 waterfalls, stunning rock formations, and picturesque scenery.

Go Ice Skating At The Community Center

Watkins Glen’s Community Center offers a variety of recreational activities, including ice skating. The ice rink is open to the people and provides a fun way to spend a winter day. Skates are available for rent, and skating lessons are available for those new to the activity. 

The rink is located indoors, making it a perfect activity for those who want to escape the cold weather while still enjoying a winter sport.

Watch this short video to have a glimpse of Watkins Glen in winter:

New York in Winter – Watkins Glen

Take A Wine Tour

The Finger Lakes region is popular for its wineries, and many of them are open year-round. A wine tour during the winter provides a unique experience, as visitors can enjoy the vineyards’ snow-covered scenery. 

Many wineries offer tastings and tours, allowing visitors to discover the winemaking process and sample some of the region’s best wines. The Watkins Glen Wine Trail offers a self-guided tour, allowing visitors to create their itinerary and visit the wineries of their choice.

Ski At Greek Peak Mountain Resort

For those who enjoy winter sports, Greek Peak Mountain Resort is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. Located just 45 minutes from Watkins Glen, the resort offers a variety of trails for all skill levels. 

In addition to skiing, the resort also offers snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Visitors can rent equipment and take lessons, making it an excellent option for beginners and experts.

Visit The International Motor Racing Research Center

For car enthusiasts, the International Motor Racing Research Center is a must-visit attraction in Watkins Glen. The center houses a vast collection of motorsports history and artifacts, including photographs, films, and documents. 

The winter months allow visitors to the center without the crowds typically present during the summer. Visitors can learn about the history of racing in Watkins Glen and other motorsports events worldwide.

Attend The Watkins Glen International Winter Festival

The Watkins Glen International Winter Festival is an annual event in January. The festival features a variety of winter activities, including ice carving, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. 

There are also food vendors, live music, and fireworks displays. The festival provides an excellent opportunity to experience the winter season in Watkins Glen and is a fun activity for the whole family.

Explore The Montour Falls Trail

In addition to Watkins Glen State Park, the Montour Falls Trail is another popular hiking destination. This 3.5-mile trail is just a few miles from Watkins Glen and offers stunning views of Montour Falls. 

The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. During the winter season, visitors can enjoy the snow-covered landscape and the frozen waterfall.

Take A Dip In The Hot Springs At The Rasa Spa

After a day of outdoor activities, visitors may want to relax and warm up in the hot springs at the Rasa Spa. This luxurious spa offers various services, including massage, facials, and body treatments. 

The hot springs are open year-round and provide a unique experience during the winter months. Visitors can soak in the warm water while enjoying the snowy scenery outside.

Go Snowmobiling In The Finger Lakes National Forest

The Finger Lakes National Forest is a popular destination for those who enjoy snowmobiling. The forest offers miles of groomed trails for snowmobiling, making it a great activity for those who want to experience the winter scenery faster. Visitors can rent snowmobiles and take guided tours, making it a safe and fun activity for all.

Visit the Corning Museum of Glass

Located just a 30-minute drive from Watkins Glen, the Corning Museum of Glass is a world-renowned museum dedicated to glass art and science. The museum houses over 50,000 glass objects, from ancient artifacts to contemporary art pieces. 

Visitors can watch live glassblowing demonstrations and even participate in hands-on glassmaking workshops. The museum is open year-round and provides a unique indoor activity for those who want to escape the cold weather.

Take A Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

For a unique winter experience, visitors can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy countryside. The Double R Ranch in nearby Montour Falls offers 30-minute and one-hour rides, providing a fun activity for the whole family. Visitors can enjoy the scenery while staying warm under blankets and sipping hot cocoa.


While many visitors to Watkins Glen come for the summer season, there are plenty of things to do in the winter months. From hiking through the State Park’s gorge trail to skiing at Greek Peak Mountain Resort, there are activities for everyone. 

Visitors can also enjoy the quieter winter season to explore the area’s wineries and museums. Whatever your interests, Watkins Glen is a great place to visit during the winter season.