Waterfalls are beautiful and unique. Some of them are even more photogenic with the perfect sunlight or need a heavy rainfall to unfold its beauty.
Read our detailed guide to find out the best time to visit Watkins Glen State Park and enjoy the spectacular views of the Gorge Trail without the massive crowds. Additionally, you'll find a great review and tips by a local as well 10 amazing tips tips you need to know before you visit.
Highlights (Gorge Trail, Flow, Fall Foliage)
Gorge Trail: Only the Gorge Trail offers the stunning views of the waterfalls and all the caves. The trail is open from mid-May until late October. It's closed from the beginning of November. Depending on the weather it could be a little earlier or later.
Flow: There are a total of 19 waterfalls in the park. The peak flow is usually in spring. Especially with a strong flow, you can feel the earth tremble even more while standing next to or behind a waterfall. The flow gets worse in summer and often better during the months of fall.
Waktins Glen State Park - Autumn by Andy Arthur, CC BY
Autumn Foliage: In the fall Watkins Glen State Park offers a beautiful show of fall foliage with vibrant displays of gold, scarlet, and orange. The best time for the fall colors is usually early October until mid-October.
Avoiding the Crowds
Summer (mid-June until August) brings the most tourist crowds. It's ridiculously busy, especially on weekends. The trail itself is packed as well as the entrance area and the parking lot. Regardless of the season, you should go early in the morning and on a weekday. Be there after sunrise right before the gate opens at 8:30 AM: Official Website - Opening Hours. We highly recommend to stay at a nearby hotel (see below), hike the Gorge Trail first thing in the morning and then choose one of the nearby activities. Alternatively, you may dodge crowds when you arrive in the late afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m. However, it's usually still busy later in the day on weekends during the peak months of July and August.
Spring and fall usually bring very pleasant weather conditions. A mild climate and often average temperatures up to 70°F (21°C) can be experienced in May and September. In the summer it doesn't get too hot with average highs of 82°F (28°C). However, the short but strenuous hike uphill can be a challenge for some visitors in the summer. The area also has some slightly muggy months. The least humid month is April and the most humid time is late August and early September. Winter brings the coldest conditions. In January temperatures range between 15°F and 33°F (-9°C and 1°C). The area can receive heavy snowfall, especially in January and February. Detailed Monthly overview: Watkins Glen Weather
Sweet Spot Months
Best months without the massive summer crowds, great views, open Gorge Trail and pleasant weather: mid-May until early-June or September (after Labor Day) until late October. But still, try to avoid weekends or go early. It's worth it!
Visiting in Winter: The beautiful gorge trail is closed. However, the Indian Trail cuts across the gorge and you can see many of the waterfalls toward the bottom. Regardless of the closed gorge trail, we'd say it's definitely worth seeing when everything is frozen over and snow is covering the cliffs. It's also significantly less busy. Sometimes you hardly see anyone else.
Skógafoss! An astonishing waterfall in Iceland. Read on and learn about the best time to visit, how to avoid the crowds and more must-know tips.
Skókafoss is an excellent year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Less crowds and cooler conditions or pleasant temperatures with the downside of a packed and crowded place? Read our season overview:
Winter / Early Spring (November - April)
Although winter conditions can already occur in October, it’s usually November/December when heavier rain, strong winds, more fog and especially snowfall and ice are coming to Iceland’s south coast. It’s getting colder in winter months but not as cold as many visitors think. Average high temperature during the coldest months (December, January, February, March) is 3°C / 37°F. Be careful at the base of the falls, as it’s often covered with ice between November and April. Also keep in mind that days are short in winter. Between mid-November and the end of January there are only 4-6 hours of daylight on average. That’s important to know in case you want to photograph the waterfall: Sunset - Sunrise Reykjavik The great advantage in winter: It’s definitely less crowded. However, even in winter it can be a little busier at popular Skogafoss sometimes.
Late Spring / Summer / Early Fall (May - October)
The pleasant temperatures start in late May. On a warm summer in July or August day temperatures can even climb up to 20°C at times. Average daily sunshine in July/August is 5-6 hours. The perfect months terms of mild temperatures months are June, July and August. Great shoulder months for a visit without the harsher winter conditions as well less crowds and cheaper rates are May and September/October. July and August are the months when it gets very crowded with the highest rates for hotels and flights.
Avoiding the Crowds
Due to its popularity it’s usually very busy at Skógafoss, even more so in peak summer months. Tour busses, many cars, people to the falls and back from the parking lot. However, while some complain about the crowds, other visitors say it doesn’t feel too crowded, even during high season.There is definitely plenty of free parking, which means you don’t have to worry about getting a parking lot, even in July or August. Also the climb to the top is not too crowded since a good portion of the visitors stay at the base area. On the other hand, it’s a different experience to enjoy such a stunning waterfall with less people in general. The well-known way to dodge the crowds is visiting in the cooler months with less daylight. Although less crowded, you won’t experience real solitude at Skógafoss in winter, it’s just too popular. Thus, two other great options to avoid tourist crowds are:
- Visit Early/Late: Usually it’s a great idea to get to the famous waterfalls in Iceland very early to avoid the crowds. The reason: Most visitors and especially the tour busses usually don’t arrive before 10 a.m. However, at Skógafoss the early mornings can be busy in summer with campers due to the very close campground. Visiting later in the day? In general, after 5 p.m. crowds start to dissipate. Some even visit at night for real solitude. Tip: We wouldn’t drive directly from a hotel in Reykjavik. Rather check hotels close by (Skogar Hotels). They are pricier than in Reykjavik but it's worth it to stay closer. Then you can visit this waterfall twice: During daytime/morning and then later or even at night. That way you dodge the crowds enjoy walking around, take photos during different light conditions. Trust us, it’s 100% worth it! After your second visit or on the next morning you can continue to Seljalandsfoss and still have plenty of time. As recommend: It’s not a good idea to visit both waterfalls on one day starting from Reykjavik and returning there.
- Climb to the Top / Walk Along the Path: Even if you visit in peak season and the base area is packed: Climb the 400 stairs and then walk the path along the river. Many visitors stay at the base area, some walk to the top and only very few continue walking the path along the river. Check the details about this great path in the text below (How to Visit)
Weather and Climate
The south coast and it’s waterfalls experience cold winters (around freezing) and mild summer months with temperatures around 11°C (52°F). However, Iceland’s south coast experiences a milder climate in winter than you might think. This is due to the Gulf Stream that flows along the west and south coast, bringing pleasant air from the Caribbean. The summers are short with only 3 months where temperatures are considered warm. Regardless of the season: Weather in Iceland can change very quick. Always be prepared and pack an extra sweater as well as rain gear. Please note, that the temperature chart below shows the average high temps from a weather station (Stórhöfði) which is located 40 km from Skogafoss and on a small island. Degrees can vary at the waterfall.
The best time to visit Dettifoss waterfall, depends on what you’re looking for: Total solitude and a fascinating landscape in winter or intense flow and pleasant temperatures in peak season during summer? Read on for the best tips:
Winter (mid-November – April): Less powerful flow but stunning snow and ice covered area. Also virtually no other tourists most of the time, especially in deep winter. Except maybe the small group you are travelling with. You definitely won’t have to fight for the best spots. Check out the amazing winter photos below. You'll also get a chance to see Northern Lights during this time. Please consider, that in winter a tour might be cancelled due to heavy snow storms. This might happen even in April.
Summer (June - August): More powerful waterfall with a really intense flow and mild climate. Also the most daylight. However, it can get crowded. In the peak months from June to August it's often busy during the day. Particularly on the west bank.
Shoulder Months (May, September-October): Less crowded than in the peak summer month and less busy than other popular waterfalls in Iceland. However, Dettifoss attracts more tourists noow and you'll still be there with some others.
Avoiding the Crowds
Just Chillin at Dettifoss by Vinnie Cartabiano, CC BY
Dettifoss is much less crowded than Gullfoss for example. However, especially in the summer there are still lots of tourists visiting Dettifoss. To enjoy the falls with less others go either earlier in the morning or later in the evening when most groups left already. If you only want to visit one side: The east side is quieter nowadays and less popular. The west side is more 'touristy'.
There is less daylight in winter. Only 5 hours in December (5-7 hours in Nov and Jan). However, some photographers love to go then, since the light is magnificent during that time. As if you've got almost 5 golden hours every day.
Make your Iguazu visit unforgettable! The insights we compiled from our own visits and from speaking with locals, you’ll find nowhere else:
Avoiding the Crowds (Worst Time to Visit)
With 1.5 million visitors each year Iguazu is pretty busy most of the year. Usually 5 – 6 thousand visitors come here each day. On average 10 thousand people visit the park in the peak season. There are even more during carnival, Easter and on bank holidays which are on the same days in Argentina and Brazil. The peak season lasts from late December until the end of February (school holidays in Argentina and Brazil). July is crowded as well. If possible avoid weekends. Important to know: The park gets closed with roughly 12 thousand visitors inside. This can happen during the peak season from midday onwards.
Opening Hours / Tickets
The Argentinian side is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the entrance is already closed after 3 pm. The Brazilian side of the falls opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tip: It's often mentioned that you should be at the ticket counter already before 8 a.m. to avoid queuing. We experienced the opposite. Lots of people come early and have to wait while we arrived after 9. It took us just a minute to get the tickets although it was crowded inside the park.
To take marvelous shots with the perfect sunlight consider the following order in terms of hiking to the falls:
- Hike to the Lower Falls in the morning
- To the Upper Falls around midday
- To the highlight Devil’s Throat at the end; in the afternoon.
The Iguazu Falls are spectacular with a high level of water but more difficult to experience and photograph with lots of spray. If it’s too dry, they might be less immense. The best months for a visit depend on what you would like to experience. During the summer season the level is higher and after the winter season July, August, and September it’s a lower level.
It’s a subtropical and humid climate. There is a high amount of precipitation around the year more than 1.800 mm. The winter months are a little drier from late May to mid-September. The day temps are more pleasant and nights are quite cold. In summer roughly from November to February day temps are on average around 30°C / 86°F and can be up to almost 40°C / 104°F.
The Color After Rainfall
They are not any longer clear as they were more than 40 years ago. Due to forest clearance, the unprotected soil gets washed out into the river. As you can see in the pictures, the color is brown-red nowadays. The harmful side effects fish can’t reproduce, birds and mammals can’t spot their prey.
The best time to visit Burney Falls? Find the answer right here. Additionally, we included a complete guide with tips you must know! Although the park gets crowded in the pleasant summer months (read our crowd tips below) and cold in the winter, Burney Falls is an amazing year-round destination. The flow at 100 million gallons every day is excellent throughout the year. Other waterfalls have the most impressive flow during certain seasons only. The reason is its source from volcanic underground springs.
Burney Falls by Jeff, PJ and Taiki, CC BY-ND
The climate around Burney Falls is controlled by its predominantly mountainous topography. The highest elevation in the park is almost 3,100 feet (950 m). Please keep in mind that regardless of the season it’s cooler at the base of falls. Due to the mist visitors often say it feels about 10 degrees (about 5°C) colder down there at the pool.
Spring (March, April, May)
- Weather: Mild, rainy in March
- Crowds: Light in March, busier in April/May
Temperatures starting to rise, getting more pleasant. However, in March it’s often still chilly and drizzly (average high 57°F / 13°C). March is the month with the most rainfall in spring (early March snowfall is still possible). In April it’s getting a little warmer (average high 62°F / 17°C) and there is considerably less rain. But still, check the weather forecast and always bring a rain jacket and dress in layers as weather can change quickly. Although half of the trees at Burney Falls are coniferous and provide an evergreen forest year round, the other half (mostly California black oak) blooms in spring. Depending on the year and the varying temperatures, the trees begin to bud as the weather in April warms, leaves begin to shoot out and grow as we progress into and through May and by June the foliage is pretty full. There is also a period of nice flowering along the creek in mid-spring. Crowds: In April it starts to get busy, especially on weekends and public holidays, even more in May, when temperatures rise even more.
Summer (June, July, August, September)
- Weather: Warm and mostly dry
- Crowds: Very crowded
Warm and lots of sunshine. The highest temperatures at Burney Falls can be experienced during the summer month with an average maximum of 89°F (30°C) in July and August. Even in September temperatures are still very pleasant. Rain is rare in the summer. When it gets hot in the summer months the waterfall and the mist at the pool provide some nice cooling effect. However, it can get chilly down at the falls at times, even in the summer months. Better bring an extra top. Highlight: In the morning with enough sunlight you can spot rainbow reflections in the mist above the pool. However, the waterfall itself is always in the shadow, even on the sunniest day. Unlike other waterfalls, Burney Falls has an impressive flow even during the dry summer months. It’s high season and heavily crowded, with a peak from mid-June until the end of August.
Fall (October, November)
- Weather: Still pleasant, colder in November
- Crowds: Lighter but still busy in September, less crowds in October
It gets colder but October is usually still pleasant (average high 69°F/21°C) while it’s getting chilly in November. There is also a possibility of snow later in November. The leaves start turning in October and you can experience the beautiful fall foliage with vibrant displays of gold, scarlet, and orange. Especially when you are down at the falls, you’ll spot beautiful reflections in the pool from the rich hues of autumn leaves. Although crowds start to dissipate slightly after Labor Day weekend, it’s still busy in September. In October crowds thin out even more, although it can still be busier on weekends. However, October is significantly less busy compared to summer and spring of course.
Winter (December, January, February)
- Climate: Cold, snow, and ice
- Crowds: Virtually none
It’s getting cold (average high 43°F / 6°C). However, even in the winter, it's a stunning experience when sometimes the whole park is covered with snow while the waterfall is still flowing.The mist from the falls is freezing in the trees, covering everything. It looks like you’re in a fairy tale. Also, tiny icicles decorate the cliff and make it even more gorgeous. A downside in the winter: Due to ice and snow it's sometimes impossible to get to the bottom to see the falls. This happens quite often from December to January and a few times in February. Even without snow, the path to the falls can be quite icy which makes it dangerous to walk down. Although there are some rails where you can hang on to, there is a danger of slipping. Especially kids or seniors should be very careful. Keep in mind that when you are down at the falls, it gets a lot colder because of the mist.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Theresa at McArthur–Burney Falls (Summer) by m01229, CC BY-SA, cropped
It can get busy between April and October, especially on weekends and public holidays (California Public Holidays). The peak months with the highest visitation are from June to August. How to avoid the crowds:
Early / Weekday:
Try to go mid-week and be there around 8:30 or at least by 9 AM. Arrive even earlier if you visit on weekends. It usually gets crowded between 10 and 12 AM, with a constant stream of visitors on the trail into the afternoon. Particularly parking becomes quite difficult during peak season and on weekends. The parking lot is packed and tour buses come and go. Please note that if you park along Highway 89 outside of the park, your car can get towed! When you go on a weekday and combine it with getting there early, you’ll experience a much quieter park even in high season. Also, the light is perfect in the mornings until noon. If you visit in the winter months, it's possible to have this beautiful place all to yourself.
Sweet Spot Months:
In September after Labor Day (first Monday of Sept), the whole park gets a little quieter while it's usually still busy on weekends. The temperatures are still great and the light is wonderful. But still, try to visit mid-week in September if possible or be there early (see above). October is even better in terms of crowds. If you'd like to visit before the busy season starts, try late March or early April.
Entrance fee: $8 - $10 (more info at the bottom of the article). Open From sunrise to sunset. In the summer from 6 AM - 6 PM. However, rangers at Burney Falls usually don't close at 6 PM sharp.
Clothing (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)
Depending on the season and climate you need different clothes at Burney Falls. In general, it's best to pack lightweight clothing items that work for every kind weather at the falls. It's also recommended to dress in layers if you visit in late autumn, winter or early spring, as it gets a lot colder when you are down at the falls. Dressing in layers allows you to make quick adjustments. We love to check Amazon Outdoor Clothes regularly. From our experience, they offer the best variety of high-quality clothes and other outdoor gear: Outdoor Recreation
It's a tourist trap with massive crowds almost year-round. Spring, summer and fall bring the most crowds. Especially when the weather is pleasant.
How to Avoid the Crowds
A) Avoid weekends and public holidays:
Visit mid-week. Even less people during pouring rain: It's a great experience to hike to the top in quality rain gear.
B) Be there in the morning around 7:30 AM (at least before 9 AM):
The earlier you get there the better your chances of less tourists and getting a space to park. Maybe even right before sunrise, which is beautiful. Check times at: Sunrise Sunset Troutdale
C) Visit in the winter from November until February:
It's usually much less busy. But still, try to be there in the morning to ensure a solitude experience. Winter is also beautiful snow covered. Check the winter photos below. Quote from an employee: ' In winter, I have sat in the visitor information office and not had 4 people all day'.
Combine A) + B) and it's possible to have the place almost for yourself even during high season. Make sure to hike the very top and not just walk to the bridge like most people. Even better: Hike the Multnomah - Wahkeena Loop (see below) to get away from the crowds at any time.
Peak flow in late winter and spring: Higher water levels increase the flow and intensity. In summer months the waterfalls aren't flowing as much. However, it does not dry up as much as other falls.