WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- Hikers in the Finger Lakes have more places to explore now that a long-closed trail at Watkins Glen State Park has reopened. 

After more than 4,300 hours of work over two years -- most of it done by hand -- crews officially celebrated the re-opening of part of the North Rim Trail that has been closed since 1983. 

The restored section reconnects to a lower part of the trail that has been open to the public. 

"You get some good steps in if you're looking for steps or a little burn," said Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for New York State. "You can take the staircase, but it also now offers a complete loop. People can...take the traditional trail in through the bottom of the gorge, then come out along the rim and come all the way back to the beginning of a totally different trail...a totally different perspective on this amazingly special place in the Finger Lakes Region." 

Officials say the new trail will also allow visitors access to the park when the gorge trail is closed during the winter. 

Work under the $75,859 project was led by the State Parks' Finger Lakes regional trails crew. The project was also support by a variety of other work teams, including Watkins Glen Park staff and the Excelsior Conservation Corps., an AmeriCorps environmental education and stewardship program created by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2015.