11 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT LETCHWORTH STATE PARK THIS FALL

If you love the fall season, put Letchworth State Park in New York State on top of your list of places to visit. The park is beautiful at any time of the year, but it turns into a colorful masterpiece when autumn arrives. Its unique landscape, decorated with spectacular foliage, will take your breath away. In October, the scenery literally explodes with vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange. In this post, you will learn in detail all the reasons why Letchworth is one of the top fall destinations in the USA.

Genesee River Gorge in Letchworth State Park turns into a tunnel of color during the fall.Genesee River Gorge in Letchworth State Park turns into a tunnel of color during the fall.

1. Picture perfect scenery combined with a striking brush of autumn 
2. The views are accessible with a minimum effort 
3. A feel of a national park 
4. #1 State Park in the USA by National Public Poll 
5. Fantastic recreational opportunities
6.  Variety of lodging 
7. Perfect for families
8. Easy to reach 
9. Peaceful retreat 
10. Facilities to make your stay comfortable 
11. Opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching 

11 Reasons to visit Letchworth State Park this fall 

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I could not agree more! I love Octobers, even though it means that winter is just around the corner. Despite the little sadness it brings, autumn beautifully reflects the circle life. Nothing we can do to turn it around, but we can embrace it and enjoy it to the fullest. One of my favorite places to take in the vibrant artistry of foliage is Letchworth State Park. Here it is why. 

1. Picture perfect scenery combined with a striking brush of autumn 

Letchworth State Park is called the Grand Canyon of the East due to its stunning landscape. The park is famous for its Genesee River Gorge and three magnificent waterfalls – the Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls. The hight canyon’s cliffs are surrounded by the lush forest that turns into a breathtakingly colorful carpet in autumn. 

The paved walking trail in Letchworth State Park follows the gorge for 7 miles.
The paved walking trail in Letchworth State Park follows the gorge for 7 miles.

2. The views are accessible with a minimum effort 

A paved road runs through the park and allows reaching several turnoffs for amazing overlooks showcasing different angles of the gorge. The waterfalls can also be viewed from an easy hiking trail that follows the rim of the canyon for 7 miles. 

Keep your eyes open for a double rainbow near the waterfalls in Letchworth State Park.
Keep your eyes open for a double rainbow near the waterfalls in Letchworth State Park.

Only the Lower Falls Trail requires more workout. It takes you down stone steps into the canyon with an overlook that puts you directly across from the Lower Falls. The patch can get path is muddy and very slippery, so use caution there. 

3. A feel of a national park 

Because of its size and outstanding beauty, Letchworth can easily rank in the same category as many national parks. With 14,350 acres and roughly 17 miles that spans Livingston and Wyoming counties, the popular state park is a world of its own. With sufficient rainfall, over 30 waterfalls can be viewed in the park, including Inspiration Point, the tallest waterfall in New York State

Sunset is magical at Letchworth State Park.
Sunset is magical at Letchworth State Park.

4. #1 State Park in the USA by National Public Poll 

In 2015, Letchworth was voted #1 state park in America as a place that has it all for its visitors. The park was one of 20 contestants selected by travel experts and was nominated out of more than 6,000 state parks nationwide. Participants from across the country were able to vote through USA Today‘s 10best.com website. Letchworth was also voted #1 attraction of NY state in 2017. 

Miles of hiking trails await at Letchworth State Park.Miles of hiking trails await at Letchworth State Park.

The contributing factors included scenic beauty, outstanding recreational opportunities, and a wide variety of lodging and service facilities. Additionally, the park offers nature, history, and performing arts programs, guided walks and tours, and summer lecture series.

Humphrey Nature Center

Humphrey Nature Center has the newly renovated museum, interactive exhibits, and many displays showcasing the plants, wildlife, and geology of the park. The area outside the center is also equally impressive with a butterfly garden and bird observation station.

William Pryor Letchworth Museum

The William Pryor Letchworth Museum houses a collection relating to the Indian and pioneer history of the Genesee Valley as well as archeological and natural history displays. It is located in the Middle Falls area of the park near the Glen Iris Inn. 

Another view of the gorge at Letchworth State Park, NY.
Another view of the gorge at Letchworth State Park, NY.

5. Fantastic recreational opportunities

Among New York state parks, Letchworth is the most famous for its waterfalls and white water rafting provided by Adventure Calls Outfitters. Kayaking is also very popular. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. Balloons Over Letchworth offers hot air balloon rides – still on my to-do list! Playgrounds and picnic areas are scattered throughout the park. 

Hiking is the most popular activity in Letchworth State Park.
Hiking is the most popular activity in Letchworth State Park.

6.  Variety of lodging 

There are many ways to stay at the park but plan your trip well in advance to secure a spot.

Camping  at Letchworth State Park 

There are 270 campsites available at Letchworth State Park. Typically, a minimum stay is two nights. One day reservations are possible, but cannot be made sooner than three days before arrival. Camping fees are $24-$26/night. Out of state resident fee for camping per night is an additional $5.

Letchworth State Park offers many wooded campsites.
Letchworth State Park offers many wooded campsites.

Cabins  

The park offers 82 cabins with differing levels of comfort in five locations. They are equipped with an electric stove and oven, refrigerator, beds, tables and chairs, picnic table, and grill. The cabin selection varies with the season. Linens, pillows, cooking, and eating utensils are not provided. Rates per week are $132-$512. The daily rate is 1/4 of the weekly charge. Surcharges for non-NYS residents are $7/daily.

I love the cabin area at Letchworth State Park but was never lucky enough to score one.
I love the cabin area at Letchworth State Park but was never lucky enough to score one.

Glen Iris Inn 

The Inn overlooks the magnificent Middle Falls. You can take a short walk to see rainbows made by the mist and lights at night. The rooms are small but authentic. Caroline’s Dining Room at the Inn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The grounds surrounding the Inn are gorgeous, with a green lawn and a variety of flowers. Breakfast on the veranda was delicious. More details here.

Outside sitting at Glen Iris Inn.
Outside sitting at Glen Iris Inn.

7. Perfect for families

Letchworth became a popular fall destination for family trips, including multigenerational groups. With so many lodging chooses,  creating your own village is easy. Even hiking can be enjoyed as a group activity since trails are mostly easy to moderate and suitable for all levels of fitness. 

In 2020, a new $2 million outdoor recreation center has opened at Letchworth State Park. The new Lower Falls Recreation Area provides table games, badminton and pickleball courts, bocce and shuffleboard, as well as a fitness loop. This is a vibrant place in the park where people of all ages can come together for fun, laughs, and friendly competition. 

Hiking to the Lower Falls, at times, gets very slippery. Hiking poles are recommended.
Hiking to the Lower Falls, at times, gets very slippery. Hiking poles are recommended.

8. Easy to reach 

Letchworth is located in the far western portion of New York’s Finger Lakes region. Here are driving times from major cities: Rochester, NY – 45 minutes, Buffalo, NY – 1 hour, Niagara Falls, NY – 1.5 hours, Toronto, Canada – 3 hours, New York City, NY – 5 hours. See it on the map here

The park is easy to reach by major highways, only 30 minutes from NYS Route 90 & NYS Route 86. If traveling from the East, you can take secondary roads through the Finger Lakes Region. The views are also spectacular there, and you can stop for a wine tasting!

Stop at Letchworth State Park Vistors Center to learn about current events.
Stop at Letchworth State Park Vistors Center to learn about current events.

9. Peaceful retreat 

Letchworth State Park is extremely popular during the fall, especially on Columbus Day weekend, but do not let it discourage you from visiting it. Try to avoid weekends, but if you can’t, remember one rule – everyone likes to sleep in so be the first up! Arrive early to have the usually crowded overlooks to yourself. Then explore the other corners of the park. You will have plenty of room to find your solitude, I promise. 

Nature never fails to impress at Letchworth State Park.
Nature never fails to impress at Letchworth State Park.

10. Facilities to make your stay comfortable 

If you come for a day, you can bring your food and take advantage of many beautiful picnic areas. If you stay longer, I am sure you will glad to know there are concession stands and a couple of restaurants distributed throughout the park, so food and drinks are always close by. Seven locations and are currently open at the Mount Morris Dam, Upper Falls Snack Bar, Camp Store, and Lower Falls Restaurant.

Other facilities include a convenience store, laundry, first aid station, dump station, and picnic pavilions.

Letchworth State Park offers incredible beauty all year round, but when the fall season arrives, it turns into a colorful masterpiece.

11. Opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching 

The gorge, with sheer cliffs rising hundreds of feet above the Genesee River, is a favorite for anglers who share the basin with mergansers and wood ducks. In total, the park boasts over 150 species of birds. White-tailed deer are common throughout the linear area along with red fox, wild turkey, cottontail rabbits, woodchucks, and beaver. The visitor may even hear the nighttime howls of the prowling coyote. 

Just another image of nature at Letchworth State Park.
Just another image of nature at Letchworth State Park.

You may also like:

16 Reason to Visit 1000 Island, NY 
Trap Pond State Park, DE – Plan you visit 
Grounds of Sculpture in New Jersey 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
Fun things to do in Green Lakes State Park, NY 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments