We had been intending to spend some time in the Finger Lakes for years and in between visiting family in the Midwest and family in New England we finally managed to sneak in a few days here. We chose Geneva as our base for no particular reason really other than it had some choice in lodging and was close to several areas we wanted to visit.
Geneva is at the northern end of Seneca Lake. At the southern end are Watkins Glen and the magnificent Watkins Glen State Park. If you park at the lower entrance to the gorge which is really right in the middle of the city, this is the view into the park.
There are three main trails in the park, one along either side of the rim and the gorge trail which follows the river through the middle. The gorge trail is an attraction on its own as it is carved into the gorge walls and passes behind waterfalls, under overhangs and through tunnels.
This area was a private resort until the 20th century, the rim trails cross through some of the areas where the original resort buildings were. There is also a campground and a swimming pool on the south rim.
On a very hot day in July the gorge is relatively cool thanks to the minimal sun exposure and the water falling pretty much everywhere. This is the rainbow bridge - one of several places where the gorge trail crosses the stream.
It's not always obvious because the scenery is so impressive but hiking up the gorge is fairly strenuous. There are a lot of steps involved and extra altitude gain if you connect back and forth from the rim trails. The upper parking area is a little more than 500 ft. (150m) above the lower lot.
Not too far to the east of Watkins Glen is Taughannock Falls on Cayuga Lake. As you can see there was not a lot of water during the drought summer of 2012 but clearly this could be a very impressive waterfall. There are a couple hikers down at the bottom who followed a trail up the river from the lakeshore. We considered that option but since there wasn't a whole lot of water coming over the falls, we decided to go to the lake instead.
The park includes a lakefront section and the beach area shown here. Having had to watch Watkins Glen go by from a hiking carrier, Alaric enjoyed the chance to sit in the water and play at Taughannock.
At the north end of Cayuga Lake is Seneca Falls, home to the Women's Rights National Historic Park. This has got to be one of the smallest components of the National Park System. There is the original building where the Seneca Falls conference occurred (shown here), a memorial fountain and an adjoining building which houses the museum and most of the exhibits. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.