In my most recent post on Watkins Glen State Park in New York state, I wrote about how I had seen images of the unique park on social media, and how that sparked my interest for visiting it. Well, the same was true for Letchworth State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, when I learned of it on Twitter and Instagram.
Letchworth State Park has received many accolades, including “Best State Park” by USA Today readers in 2015. How had I not heard of this park? Well, the reason being, the state of New York is pretty big. Living in the NYC area, Letchworth State park is by no means close. It’s about 5 hours away. From Rochester, NY, however, it’s about an hour drive. Depending on where you live, it makes for any kind of trip – day trip, weekend trip, even week-long trips, which many of their cabins require a minimum stay at.
For my family, it made for the perfect day trip on our way back from Niagara Falls. On the way up, we visited Watkins Glen State Park, and on the way back we visited Letchworth. So for those of you that live in the NYC area, that is a great itinerary! I figured, in the summertime visiting state parks would be a great way to break up the trip, and see what beautiful land the state of New York has to offer.
Letchworth State park is vast, and beautiful. It’s easy to see why people love this park. It’s 17 miles long, with the Genesee river flowing through it, a massive gorge, and several waterfalls. It’s called the Grand Canyon of the East because the walls of the gorge reach 550 feet in some places. I’m going to be honest – I think the “Grand Canyon of the East” name is a bit of a stretch, but having said that, it’s a gorgeous park. If you want to truly feel like you’ve escaped it all into the arms of Mother Nature, then Letchworth is the place to go.
On our day trip, we decided to drive the expanse of the park on its main road, Park Road. This is an excellent way to see the park in full, and all the different aspects that make it so beautiful. For example, there are three main waterfalls (among others) – Lower Falls, Middle Falls and Upper Falls. We drove to each of these and got out of the car and hiked or walked to them, and around them. Throughout the entire park there are many pull-over points and vistas, making the drive a really good way to experience the park.
If you have more time, and can do an overnight or weekend get-away, there is so much to do. For starters there are 66 miles of hiking trails. There is biking, horseback riding, kayaking, white river rafting, fishing and camping. There is a swimming pool and camp sites for camping, cabins, and a few inns if roughing it isn’t your style. Most of the cabins require a week’s stay, and all of the lodging needs to be booked well in advance.
The park is open year-round, so in addition to summer activities there is cross-country skiing, snow tubing and snowmobiling. There really is something for everyone – so if you’re wanting to experience the great outdoors, Letchworth seems to have it all. When we were there, we kept thinking how fun it would be to spend a weekend and adventure around the entire park. For that’s what Letchworth is – adventurous. There’s always a next time and we will definitely be heading back to this beautiful part of New York state!