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.
Best months and low season are May and June - fewer people. If there isn't any cruise ship in Roseau harbour it is best from December until April, the "dry season". Avoid weekends.
The dry season last from December until April/May. This is also the peak tourist and cruise ship season. Anyway rain can always occur. Rainy season from June until November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. The climate is humid tropical. The driest month is March and the wettest is August.
Best light on the waterfall after midday. Fewer people in the morning and before closing time. Open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Best months are during the dry season from December until May. Driest months are February to May. Most sunshine in March. The rainy season last from June to November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. Wettest month is September.
During the dry season more crowded, highest rates and crowds from mid-December to March. April until May rates decrease and "fewer" tourists except Easter.
Start your hike before 2 p.m. You need enough time for the climb and to enjoy the waterfall. Best at low tide, at high tide the waterfall goes into the sea and it's difficult to get close due to the surf. Don't climb during or after rain it might be too slippery and dangerous. Roseau tide times
Best months are during the dry season from December until April. This is also the peak season. May is also possible: Less tourists on the island but also very hot and humid, which makes hiking more strenuous. Rainy season is from June to November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. This hike could be too dangerous during some days in the wet season. Driest month is March and wettest is August.
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 as 10 Must-Know Tips (scroll down) you should read before your visit. This Watkins Glen State Park guide answers every one of your questions and has received a huge update in 2019/2020. Don't forget to check out our hotel tips below.
Spring VisitingTip: Thinking visiting with the Gorge Trail being closed is a bad time? Wrong! Even when the Gorge Trail is closed, you experience some mesmerizing views. Read more below! Tip: Book one night at a nearby hotel (within walking distance!) Staying in a hotel the night before your park visit in winter means you are at the park early and enjoy some time there in solitude. That's awesome for taking the best photos! Book in advance to save money.
Highlights (Gorge Trail - Flow - Fall Foliage)
Waktins Glen State Park - Autumn by Andy Arthur, CC BY
Gorge Trail: The Gorge Trail offers the most stunning experience and gorgeous views of the waterfalls and all the caves. The trail is open from mid-May until late October. It's usually 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.
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!
Winter Months (Special)
The beautiful gorge trail is closed in the winter. However, the Indian Trail (read below for more details) is accessible and cuts across the gorge: From there you can see many of the waterfalls toward the bottom. One bridge, in particular, gives you an incredible view of a large part of the winding gorge down there. Even more stunning when the gorge is covered in snow and ice. Regardless of the closed gorge trail, we say it's definitely worth seeing this amazing landscape in the winter months. Either with everything frozen over and snow-covered cliffs or just be mesmerized by the falls and gorge without anyone else. It's true, sometimes you hardly see any other visitor in winter and have the park all to yourself. Especially when you visit in the morning! That's just perfect for taking unique photos.
The Gorge is accessible year-round and can be visited any time. However, the real hike - starting at the big rock and logjam (see review below) - can only be done when the water is low enough and not as freezing as in winter or early spring. This is a unique hike where the river is the trail!
Weather and Water:
Hiking is almost impossible from late fall / early winter until early spring. In the winter and early spring, the water is freezing cold and even a wetsuit might not be enough. In the spring the water is also very high and streams are flowing at their strongest: That means there is a high chance of serious injury and it is indeed life threatening. Some try the hike as early as in May, which is possible. But still, the water is very cold then and will take your breath away. Temperature wise the best months are late June until mid-October.
Avoiding the Crowds:
The entrance is ridiculously crowded with Disney like queues, particularly during the extremely busy summer months. In general it’s very busy from spring until fall on weekends and on public holidays. In the summer you should avoid weekends or be there early, between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. Preferably combine both: Get up early and visit during the week. The best months to avoid crowds are September, after Labor Day (first Monday in September) until mid-October: The summer tourists are gone, the weather is pleasant and the fall foliage is just stunning. But still: Get up early for a much quieter experience.
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.