Where is Letchworth State Park
Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth is a New York State Park located in the Northwestern portion of the state. Letchworth State Park occupies two counties in New York. The park resides in Livingston county and Wyoming county. Offering its visitors a plethora of outdoor activity opportunities, including hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and others, Letchworth State Park frequently appears on “Best State Parks in America” lists. The park is an hour drive away from Buffalo, New York and an hour and a half from Niagara Falls State Park.
How big is Letchworth State Park
Letchworth US State Park rests entirely in the state of New York. The park covers over 14,000 square acres and contains three large waterfalls, over 60 miles of hiking trails, numerous campsites and picnic areas, and two large swimming pools. The park is open year round and on average hosts over 600,000 visitors per year. Of the three main waterfalls in the park, middle falls is the highest. Though, Upper Falls has an active railroad crossing above it, and Inspiration Falls is a ribbon waterfall located a short distance from the park’s visitor center.
Letchworth State Park Weather
Located in northern New York, Letchworth State Park experiences all of the hemisphere’s seasons. Summer and Fall are the most popular seasons for visitation. Peak temperatures in the park arrive in June, July, and August. These temperatures approach 85 degrees fahrenheit a few days out of the season. On average, Letchworth State Park receives around 90 days of rain a year. These rainy days are spread throughout the year. Winter temperatures in the park begin to appear in November. The season’s lows approach the single digits. Fall foliage and temperatures in the mid 60’s and 70’s, draw visitors into the park. Spring temperatures begin to appear in the park in April.
When did Letchworth become a State Park
Letchworth State Park officially became a New York State Park in 1906. However, the park’s history begins years before. The area now known as Letchworth State Park was once considered home by the Seneca people. A native american tribe who sided with the British during the revolutionary war, the Seneca people were forced from the land following the end of the war.
Things to do in Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park offers its visitors several different ‘genres’ of outdoor activities. These activities include hiking, white-water rafting, mountain biking, and others. List of Parks suggests the below information regarding these activities and how to experience them.
Hikers planning to visit Letchworth State Park will be pleased to know that the park provides access to 66 miles of hiking trails. These various trails range from easy to hard, and in length from less than a mile to over seven miles. Park maps are available online and at the park’s welcome center.
White Water Rafting
Several outfitters operate white water rafting trips inside of Letchworth State Park. These outfitters offer several different white-water routes geared towards a variety of skill levels. White water rafting in Letchworth State Park is perfect for the whole family.
Mountain bikers visiting Letchworth State Park will find a variety of trails awaiting them. These trails allow bikers to experience all the “Grand Canyon of the East” has to offer. One of the more challenging and popular mountain bike trails in the park is the FLT Branch Trail. The trail is 21.3 miles long one way and features several creek crossings.
Kayaking in the park is a great way for visitors wanting to see the park from within the canyon’s walls. Several outfitters in the area offer kayak rentals and lessons. White water kayaking tours are also offered by several outfitters.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity similar to treasure hunting. Using a GPS system and a series of clues found on online sites such as Geocaching.com visitors can find several caches within Letchworth State Park. Don’t forget to bring several small trinkets to leave behind for the next Geocachers.
Seneca Culture and History
Several areas within Letchworth State Park offer visitors the opportunity to explore the Seneca people’s culture and history. One particular place is the gravesite of Mary Jemison; an irish immigrant who was captured by Shawnee forces. The Seneca people adopted Jemison from the Shawnee and raised her.
Letchworth State Park Camping
Letchworth State Park offers visitors the opportunity to stay within its large campground. The park features electric and non-electric sites. The cost per night is $24 for a 30 AMP site and $26 per night for a 50 AMP site.
Wildlife within Letchworth State Park is rather diverse. The park is home to extensive lists of mammals, birds, and amphibians. The park’s most notable species include white-tailed deer, Barred owls, and Cooper’s Hawks.
When to go to Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is the perfect destination for all-season enjoyment. Summer visitation is the most popular. During the season hiking, white water rafting, and kayaking are popular activities. Visitors looking to experience New York’s surrounding fall foliage will want to visit in September and October. The winter season at Letchworth provides access to activities such as snow tubing and cross-country skiing.
Must-Have things to bring to Letchworth State Park
Our National Park Visitors Guide lists below are several things you should truly consider bringing on your trip to Letchworth State Park. Additional lists of recommended items can be found on the park’s website.
Water is always the first and foremost important supply for anyone looking to spend extended periods of time outdoors. Hikers and visitors looking to partake in the park’s more strenuous activities should bring extra.
Right behind water, energy filled snacks and food are also important items to remember on your trip. Beef jerky, trail mix, and fruit are great energy filled snacks that are easy to enjoy on-the-go.
Most of Letchworth State Park contains rocky and unstable terrain. A sturdy pair of hiking boots should accompany every visitor to the park. Look to invest in a waterproof pair for added comfort and protection.
Visitors looking to white-water raft, kayak, or swim in the park’s two swimming pools will want to remember their swimsuit. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also recommended for anyone planning to spend long periods of time on the water.
Layers of Clothing
Temperatures in Letchworth State Park can vary depending on your location and elevation. Your activity levels will also dictate your body’s temperature. It is best to wear a series of lightweight layers on your trip to Letchworth State Park.
Any visitor looking to spot any of the park’s birds of prey or other premier wildlife will want to bring binoculars along with them on their trip. Hikers should try to invest in a lightweight pair to stow away in their hiking pack.
Letchworth State Park features a variety of hiking trails. Several of these trails intersect other trails at various points. Therefore, a park trail map is recommended for any visitor looking to explore the park.
Where to Stay in Letchworth State Park
Visitors looking to stay within the park can claim a spot at the park’s campground. The park offers over 200 fully electric campsites. Visitors looking for a hotel or motel will want to explore nearby cities such as Mt. Morris, Perry, and Warsaw. Visitors looking for a larger city will want to head out to Buffalo. The city is roughly a one hour drive away from the park. New York City is a five hour drive away from the park.
Food Nearby Letchworth State Park
The closest towns to Letchworth State Park offering food are Mt. Morris, Perry, and Warsaw. These towns have various fast food restaurants and diners. Parties looking to experience more of New York’s culture and cuisine should take on the one-hour drive to Buffalo.
Airports Near Letchworth State Park
The closest airport to Letchworth State Park is the Buffalo - Niagara International airport in Buffalo, New York. The airport is 60 miles and an hour and fifteen-minute drive away from the park. John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens is five and half hours away (336 miles).