We camped for the weekend with friends and stayed on the grounds except for a brief trip out for ice cream. Our unfortunate review: 4 stars for the nature / park and hike, but 2.5 stars for the camping. I'll discuss both separately:
PARK: Fillmore Glen had a fantastic balance that made it just right for us. We love nature and hiking, but don't like it when crowding of people overruns and spoils the experience - Fillmore Glen has really gorgeous trails and truly wonderful hikes, but is just visited enough to allow a pleasant and comfortable experience without overcrowding. The shelters, park, picnic areas were all well maintained and comfortable, and although we had no children in our party, we found the playground impressive (and a few of our "young at heart" adults could not resist playing themselves!). We walked two trails, taking the Southern Rim trail out, and the Gorge Trail back. The South Rim Trail is a moderately strenuous hike, particularly in the beginning up some steep inclines; the physically fit amongst us had no trouble, but the less in shape amongst us (me!) found it a challenge and exhausting, but rewarding and worth it. A few nice views, although undamaged arbor blocks the view in most places - for the best chance at a view, continue all the way to the end of the South Rim Trail, where an outlook provides some views through the trees. The Gorge Trail, following the river through the base of the gorge, was really fantastic, with great views and a pleasant hike all around, and one that is also very accessible - aside from the initial 40ish steps to get there, it was an easy walk, with just a few steps at times up and down. Closer in to the parking area is the "cowsheds", a natural waterfall that is only a short walk away and very picturesque. Very near the parking area, a small quasi-natural pool allows swimming when a lifeguard is on duty. Overall, we are likely to strongly encourage others to visit, and are likely to return for the park alone ourselves.
CAMP: Clean bathrooms and well maintained grounds greeted us, as well as friendly and helpful park entry staff. There was NOT electric available at our sites although the online reservation system did not warn this (it usually does clearly with "NO ELECTRIC" in these cases); this was an inconvenience, but we're not picky... it's camping after all! However, all this aside, the sad truth is that it often takes only one idiosyncratic element to spoil an experience, and this was such a case. In pretty much all NY state campgrounds we have visited (and we have visited many), quiet hours begin around 10 PM and last until around 7 AM; in all cases, we have found that this generally means keep noise down to low voices. Now, I consider three things to be the most important parts of my summer camping with friends experiences: (1) cookout, (2) hikes, and (3) visiting around a campfire. The campfire might even be the most important to me. With the darkness not really moving in until 9 or shortly thereafter in the summers around here, campfire time, for the right ambiance, by necessity, needs to be a post-9 PM thing. Well, on both of the weekend evenings we stayed, we had a big problem: a crabby park ranger comes by very soon after 10, regardless of what noise you are making or not making, and tells you to keep it down. We were surprised by this on the first night, and listened as we noted that we could hear not a single sound from any other campsite EXCEPT the obnoxious park ranger from all over the park on these rounds. We are NOT a loud bunch, and figured maybe she mistook us for someone else, or they have a strange policy to treat everyone in the grounds to the same "scolding" if not in bed and out of sight by 10... at any rate, we were tired anyway, and pledged to just stay up to enjoy our campfire on the second night instead... but on the second night, we observed the same phenomenon, particularly noting that the Crabby Park Ranger Patrol rounds began when there was no other sound already because everyone in the park was being quiet enough not to disturb others, and indeed she came to us as well. We shrugged it off, and continued our visiting around the campfire at a whisper... until she came back 20 minutes later to harass us AGAIN. It was clear at this point what was going on: a quick walk around the areas nearby revealed that everyone else had given up and gone to their tents after their first Crabby Park Ranger Patrol harassment, and when we didn't follow suit, the Crabby Park Ranger knew she had to bother us some more even though we were making no noise, were whispering at most, and had a site isolated on three sides from anyone else. Our guess: a lazy park ranger who knows she can go relax for the night once she knows everyone is in bed, so she makes it a point to be a nuisance enough to get everyone to give up on their campfires early. Our friends were so frustrated that they all gave up and turned in early, leaving my wife and I to sadly extinguish our campfire at barely 11:30 alone, also leaving to waste the $20 worth of remaining wood.
We stopped in to discuss this on the way out with the park staff, who were surprised and frustrated, and confirmed to us that the rules about "quiet hours" are *supposed* to just mean that noise is kept low enough not to disturb the nearest "neighbor" campers, such that there is no way the harassments were warranted. They apologized and promised to look into it, and also took our names and phone numbers to follow up with us once they did... we never heard back.
We will absolutely NOT be camping at this grounds again, because you are treated like children being told to "go to bed" at 10 PM, aggressively, no matter how quiet you are, spoiling any hope of a campfire. Perhaps that makes this a good place for people with young children they want to force to bed early anyway and don't mind following suit, or people who don't care about an evening campfire. But not for us - big disappointment, and since I only get the chance to do such a thing twice a year or so, a real waste of our valuable vacation time.