Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen, New York

Watkins Glen is a small village situated within the towns of Dix and Reading in the Schuyler County, in the central portion of the US State of New York. Watkins Glen is located at the southern end of the 61km long Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes of New York. The village covers a total area of 5.7 sq. km, of which 0.8 sq. km is covered by water, and 4.9 sq. km is covered by land. The village is well-known for housing the world-renowned Watkins Glen International racetrack that hosts several international automobile racing events.

Watkins Glen
Sunset on Seneca Lake at Watkins Glen, New York.


According to the Köppen climate classification, Watkins Glen experiences a warm-summer continental climate, with warm summers and freezing, snowy winters. The warm season lasts from May to September, with July being the hottest month having an average high temperature of 27.2°C and a low temperature of 16.1°C. The cold season lasts from December to March, with January being the coldest month, having an average low temperature of -7.7°C and a high temperature of 0°C. Watkins Glen receives an average annual rainfall of 36 inches and an average annual snowfall of 45 inches.

Frozen Waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York.
Frozen Waterfalls appear on a cliff at Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, during a sunny but cold winter day.  

The Population And Economy Of Watkins Glen

In 2019, the village of Watkins Glen had a population of 2,000 people with a median age of 39.5. As of 2019, about 85 people (4.25% of the residents) of Watkins Glen were born outside the country. The most common birthplace of the foreign-born residents of New York is the Dominican Republic, followed by China and Jamaica. The largest ethnic groups in Watkins Glen are the non-Hispanic White representing 89.4% of the city’s population, followed by the Hispanic White at 5.55%, Asians at 3.8%, African Americans at 0.75%, and two or more races at 0.5%. All households in Watkins Glen speak English as their primary language, and 97.5% of the village’s residents are US citizens.

Pier at Seneca Lake harbor at Watkins Glen, New York
The Pier at Seneca Lake harbor in Watkins Glen, New York. 

As of 2019, the median household income in Watkins Glen was $45,060, and the median property value was $128,800. The average car ownership in Watkins Glen was two cars per household. The largest industries in Watkins Glen are Accommodation & Food Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Retail Trade.

Tourist Attractions In Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park

Rainbow Falls at Watkins Glen State Park in Watkins Glen, New York
Rainbow Falls at Watkins Glen State Park in Watkins Glen, New York. 

The Watkins Glen State Park is a flagship park of the US State of New York that is located in the village of Watkins Glen. Established on December 27, 1906, the park is spread over an area of 3.15 sq. km and is at present managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The principal feature of the park is a deep limestone gorge that has been cut by Glen Creek. The creek then descends through the gorge creating several waterfalls, rapids, and pools. There are three trails in the park that remains open for the public from mid-May to early November. These include the Southern Rim Trail, the Indian Trail, and the Gorge Trail. The Gorge Trail winds through the 19 waterfalls of the park and also provides access to the well-known Jacob’s Ladder. All three trails are in turn connected to the Finger Lakes Trail, which is a 1,300km trail system that runs throughout the State of New York.

Auto racing at Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, New York
Paul Menard battles for a position for the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, New York. Editorial credit: Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock.com

Watkins Glen is well-known for housing the world-renowned Watkins Glen International race track, which is considered one of the United States’ most exclusive automobile road racing tracks. This race track has hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix, the IMSA SportsCar Championship races, the IndyCar Series, and the NASCAR Cup Series in the previous years.

Farm Sanctuary

Sheep in Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York
Sheep in a group with a red barn in the background at Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, New York. 

The Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary is a national farm animal protection organization that is spread over an area of 271 acres in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Established in 1986 by an activist named Gene Baur, the sanctuary provides shelter to more than 500 farm animals that have been rescued from various unfortunate situations. The Farm Sanctuary hosts several public events and is visited by numerous visitors from all over the world.

Brief History Of Watkins Glen

The settlement of the village initially began in 1791. In 1794, John Watkins bought a property around the gorge and constructed mills. After his death, the property was inherited by his younger brother Dr. Samuel Watkins, who spent nearly four decades developing the area by building a hotel, several shops, and roads. In 1842, the village was first named and incorporated as “Jefferson.” Ten years later, it was renamed “Watkins” in honor of Dr. Samuel Watkins. The word “Glen” was added to the village’s name in 1926. At present, the village serves as a trade center for the surrounding orchards and farmlands, as well as a tourist center for the Seneca Lake district.

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