Back in 2014 (I know how late this is!), some family visited Rochester and we decided to take a day trip to Letchworth State Park, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” This had been high on my list of places to visit since moving to New York, so I was glad to check it off my list. In addition, it was fall so I was really hoping to see some beautiful northeastern fall colors. (Hint: I did.) Shortly after we visited, this state park was ranked #1 in the nation by USA Today and 10Best. In fact, two New York state parks made the list, and images from the other park will follow this posting.
There is an extensive list of hiking trails for the park, but in order to get the most value of our visit, we decided to do the 7-mile Gorge Trail, which parallels the main road through the park. To our advantage, we had two vehicles that we could park at the beginning and end of the route. Images from the hike are shown below, now in slideshow form!
Initially, the Gorge Trail was the longest hike and seemed like the best way to see the park in one visit. It was also a very moderate, low-impact hike (possibly better described as a leisurely 7-mile stroll). In retrospect however I wouldn’t repeat this trail. It passed through most, if not all of the scenic overlook parking lots along the gorge, which is where some of the best views were had anyways. The actual “trail” part of the trail didn’t make up for the constant detours through parking lots and civilization, and our time would probably have been better spent just driving to each overlook and hiking some of the shorter trails through the park. So while this was a nice introduction to the park, for future visits I would recommend driving to the overlooks and focusing on other trails for hiking and experiencing the park.
I haven’t been very good about updating this lately but there are at least three other trips I need to post, so hopefully they will be published soon!