Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Whetstone Gulf State Park has been a popular destination for visitors and locals in the Tug Hill Region for over 50 years. Within its borders lie groves of red pines and Norway spruce, numerous waterfalls, an incredible 300-foot gorge, swimming area, several trails, and a campground. It's name is derived from the sharp-edged shale that makes up much of the gorge, which was likely used to sharpen knives when the region was first settled.

Once inside the park, the options seem endless. Take a journey around the Rim Trail or bask in the sun at the Swimming Hole. The park is even open in the winter, featuring excellent cross-country ski trails. A 58-site campground operates within the park during the summer months, with some sites offering electric hookups.

No matter how you enjoy the park, the key feature is the incredible gorge that winds into the Tug Hill Plateau. Cut over thousands of years by flowing water, the gorge tapers to a mere four feet wide near its upper end. Near the mouth, the gorge is wide an inviting. Picnic tables and stone fireplaces line the road leading deeper into the gorge, passing the swimming area. Several picnic shelters and bathrooms are interspersed throughout the park.

Where the road ends, the gorge trail begins. Unfortunately, the trail is no longer maintained, and the bridges over the zig-zagging stream have been removed. It's still possible for visitors to reach the incredible waterfalls at the upper end of the gorge, but it requires some swimming here and there, as well as some climbing of waterfalls if you want to make it all the way through the gorge. The payoff is incredible, with several waterfalls locked in an incredibly narrow gorge.

The rim trail circumnavigates the gorge and offers unparalleled views. It's impossible to understand how deep the gorge is without visiting the rim. Although the trail is 5.6 miles long, it's well maintained, and well worth the journey.

Visitors will need to pay an $8 day use fee at the entrance. Dogs are allowed, as long as they remain leashed.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Unique gorge. Great views. Swimming hole.

Cons

Some trails no longer maintained.

Features

ADA accessible
Geologically significant
Flushing toilets
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Waterfalls
Playground
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

Field Guide

Comments

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