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Letchworth State Park, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a beautiful park in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. It’s the perfect day trip (or overnight even) for anyone in the area!

Please check the park’s website for important information regarding closures and rules associated with COVID-19! The park is quite busy during the summer and they have reduced parking capacity to prevent congestion on the trails.

Letchworth State Park view on a day trip in Western NY

Quick Facts About Letchworth State Park

  • Letchworth is about an hour away from Buffalo and Rochester and about 5 hours away from New York City.
  • The river that flows through the park is the Genesee River which ends in Rochester.
  • Activities include hiking, swimming, whitewater rafting, and hot air ballooning! (there’s a second company!)
  • There are 66 miles worth of hiking trails! Here are the North and South trail maps for Letchworth.
  • There are three major waterfalls (Lower, Middle and Upper).

Where to Stay

Within the boundaries of Letchworth State Park, there are a few different accommodation options.

The cheapest option is to rent a campsite for around $25/$30 per night (in state vs. out of state).

Cabins vary widely in price from $132-$512 per week, with the daily rate being 1/4 of whatever your weekly rate would be.

Maplewood Lodge has a 2 night minimum for $150 per night and during peak season it costs $700 per week.

Check the “Fees and Rates” section of the website to see the most up to date information and go here to reserve your spot.

The one actual hotel is the Glen Iris Inn, which overlooks Middle Falls.

Mt. Morris and Geneseo are the closest towns (with Mt. Morris located right next to the North Entrance) and they each have a couple hotels.

Best Hike

With over 66 miles of trails, it can be hard to pick where to hike, especially if you are only spending a day at Letchworth. This is the general itinerary that I would recommend for a day at Letchworth State Park!

Use the Castile Entrance on the western side of the park and stop at the two nearest lookout points: Archery Field and Great Bend. These overlooks provide great views of the gorge and shows you why Letchworth deserves the title of “Grand Canyon of the East”.

Park in the parking lot next to Adventure Calls Outfitters and Lower Fall Restaurant and Gifts. Adventure Calls Outfitters offers whitewater rafting on the Genesee River in the gorge. I’d love to try it some day!

Near the back of the parking lot is the Lower Falls Trailhead, which leads you down to Lower Falls and the Gorge Trail. Check the website to stay up to date on trail closures!

Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park
Lower Falls

Continue along the path, stopping at Inspiration Point, until you reach Middle Falls. Don’t get too close unless you don’t mind getting wet! I was glad I brought my raincoat.

Finally, a short hike away is High Falls. You can hike up towards the bridge along a narrow path, although I didn’t find the views that great with all the trees.

Upper Falls and bridge at Letchworth State Park on a day trip in Western New York

Right near Middle Falls is the Glen Iris Inn which has a nice restaurant and gift shop. We stopped here on our way back, but didn’t eat anything since we packed lunch.

You can either hike back the way you came or walk along the road in the woods. Depending on the time of day, grab a meal at the Lower Falls Restaurant before you leave.

At the northern end of the park there is a traditional chlorine swimming pool. I can’t vouch for how nice it is as it was not summer when we visited.

Have you visited Letchworth State Park? What would you recommend?

Check out my other article if you are interested in other day trips in Western New York!

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