Along the eastern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau in New York State, you will find Whetstone Gulf State Park. This beautiful, lush park was built into and around a gorge that’s three miles long! This is one of the factors that bring in the amazing scenery.
This park lies on 2,100 acres of land that border the towns of Martinsburg and Turin. There are many factors that draw people into Whetstone, whether it’s the fact that it’s pet-friendly, has incredible scenery, or the fact that there is so much to do year-round. Most people when they think New York imagine busy streets and a massive concrete city, but you won’t find that anywhere near this state park.
There are plenty of activities to do when visiting Whetstone Gulf State Park. Some of the more popular activities here are fishing, canoeing, and of course, hiking the gorge to see the amazing view. The park is open from mid-May until the beginning of September. It reopens for the winter season from mid-December to mid-March.
Whetstone Gulf State Park is just five hours northwest of Boston and four hours north of New York City. Syracuse is the closest large city at just an hour and a half away. This is an easy road trip to make if you’re coming from one of the larger surrounding cities. The roads surrounding the park are paved but the main road you will take into the park is dirt so watch for speed signs and abide accordingly. Wildlife can sometimes run onto the dirt road so keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be just fine! There is only one road that goes in and out of the park. The best mode of transportation once you're there is by good old-fashion walking. Don't worry, there are plenty of hiking trails to explore.
RV campsites at Whetstone are a must. There are 24 cozy sites that provide electric hookups, a fire pit, and picnic table. Restrooms are withing walking distance. The Contact Station and Maintenance Area are not far from the campsites if you need to get in touch with park staff. You'll have plenty of nearby amenities to keep you busy including a boat launch, playground, and swimming area.
You have to reserve a minimum of one day in advance, but you can book a site up to nine months ahead of time. Pets are welcome to camp with you, but make sure to keep them on a leash when you're walking around.
You will find the Gorge hiking trail right off of Corrigan Hill Road. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional hiker, the five-mile trail is great for everyone. Due to the gorge, it’s safest to hike with kids on the inside of the trail because there are steep drops that are not fenced off. This can be a great place to go to watch the sunrise or sunset and the trail goes around the entire gorge, almost making you feel like you’re at the Grand Canyon.
Canoeing is available in the Whetstone Reservoir. This area looks similar to an infinity pool and makes for perfect canoeing or kayaking waters. This is also where you will find people fishing. It’s accessible via foot or vehicle traffic and is next to a parking lot so you won’t be carrying a heavy canoe or kayak that far. Slip it right on top of the water and you’ll be good to go!
Similar to skiing, Whetstone does not have canoes and kayaks available to rent. Feel free to bring your own watercraft and any additional equipment you may need like oars or life vests. The reservoir is for non-motorized watercrafts. They do not allow the use of electric motors in the reservoir specifically.
Nestled right next to a creek, you will find the most calming picnic area. Equipped with grills, tables, and the sound of the creek traveling downstream, this is a great area to relax and enjoy a meal. There are plenty of tables perfectly situated under the tops of trees for a great spot to get some shade and cool off.
There is also a pavilion, which is great for picnics or events that’s available to rent. It has plenty of seating available, a roof to shade you from the sun, and is wheelchair accessible. The walls are pretty much open around the entire pavilion, allowing you to still feel like you’re in nature.
There are trash receptacles provided. It’s a good thing to keep in mind the “leave no trace” phrase when you’re having a meal in a state park. Make sure the area is as clean, if not cleaner than when you got there, especially while throwing a birthday party or even in the pavilion.
If you want to find some fish that will bite, look no further than the Whetstone Reservoir. The most popular fish found here are largemouth bass and tiger muskies. There is a roadway along the reservoir making it easy access whether you’re in a vehicle or on foot.
You can fish from the shore or from your own watercraft. Whatever you catch is yours, please remember to leave the area as you found it. There should be no trace that you were there.
If you think Whetstone Gulf State Park is beautiful during the warm months of the year, just wait until you see it in the winter. This park has absolutely stunning views and what better way to see them then to add cross country skiing to your list. This can be a great activity for the entire family since the trails and skiing area are perfect for novice or intermediate skiers.
Though the park provides the amazing trails and land to ski on, they do not provide any equipment for skiers. If you plan on doing this activity, bring your own gear.
Along with skiing, snowmobiling is a great winter pass time. With plenty of trails and amazing views, snowmobiling is a wonderful way to explore Whetstone Gulf State Park. Make sure to stock up on gas so you don’t run out in the middle of the forest!
Like a couple of the activities listed above, Whetstone does not provide snowmobiles for rent. You are more than welcome to bring as many of your own as you’d like, along with any necessary gear such as snow pants or helmets.