Skip to Content

10 Best Things To Do In Letchworth State Park

Danielle O.

Wally Gobetz | Flickr

Rephrased: Renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park is a stunningly picturesque region in the eastern United States. The park boasts abundant natural beauty, with three impressive waterfalls standing at a towering 600 feet and dense forests to explore.

There are plenty of reasons why you should visit Letchworth State Park. First, it’s quite easy to navigate through, which means you’re less likely to get lost. The park is also easy to hike through in most areas. Furthermore, Letchworth State Park is well taken care of and is perhaps one of the cleanest parks in the country.

Lastly, there are plenty of things to do in Letchworth State Park, so much so that you are bound to find new trails or activities. If you’re planning on visiting the park, we’ve listed some of the most popular things to do at Letchworth to help you with your itinerary.

  1. Start the day with amazing views of the sunrise
Wikimedia Commons

Many of the best views in Letchworth State Park can be seen from the west rim. This part of the park has a fantastic spot to catch the sunrise, making it popular among both amateur and professional nature photographers.

  1. Visit the park’s three major waterfalls
James St. John | Flickr

Letchworth is most famously known for the waterfalls located at the southern end of the park. The falls are creatively named the Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls. Ironically, the Upper Falls is the southernmost waterfall.

While you have to take a short hike to access the falls, driving between each location is absolutely possible. However, you can walk between the upper and middle falls. Both locations are also very close to a parking area.

  1. Hike through Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park is home to over 60 miles of hiking trails open for visitors to explore. Most hikers can be seen along the gorge trail, especially during the summer season. If you’re looking for a more peaceful hiking experience, we advise entering the park via one of the two east entrances and taking the Letchworth Trail which connects with the Finger Lakes Trail System. This trail doesn’t see many hikers as long as opt for the east side.

If you’re worried about getting lost, fret not. Letchworth State Park office provides maps of their trails. We also included the maps below.

Trail Map – North

Trail Map - North | New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Website

Trail Map – South

Trail Map - South| New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Website
  1. Visit the historic Genesee Arch Bridge
Wikimedia Commons

The Genesee Arch Bridge, also known as the Portage Bridge, is a famous steel railroad bridge located near the Upper Falls. Originally built in 1875, the bridge was considered the longest and tallest wooden bridge worldwide. The bridge has since been replaced twice.

  1. Visit the Glen Iris Inn
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

Where the Genesee Arch Bridge is regarded as a famous steel railroad bridge, the Glen Iris Inn is known as one of the most historic structures in Letchworth State Park. The Inn was originally the estate home of William Pryor Letchworth. It was then gifted to the state of New York a few years prior to his death. This was done to help conserve and protect his 1,000-acre estate.

Today, Letchworth’s home was converted into a small hotel where park visitors can stay for the night. The hotel also has an onsite restaurant offering freshly made meals.

  1. Hike through the Autism Nature Trail (ANT)

The Autism Nature Trail (ANT) is one of the newest experiences at Letchworth State Park. This trail is designed especially for visitors with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), regardless of their age and ability level.

The trail spans one mile and features eight different stations for ASD visitors. While walking the whole trail is advised as it gives you the whole experience, shortcuts are available if you do not want to walk the entire trail.

The stations along the Autism Nature Trail include:

  • Celebration Station, with chalkboards for recording impressions
  • Design Zone, with an area to construct “houses” and teepees from natural materials
  • Meadow Run & Climb, with a place to build strength and coordination
  • Music Circle, with three nature-inspired instruments
  • Playful Path, with a series of loops made from multiple surfaces
  • Reflection Knoll, with areas where users can sit and listen to nature
  • Sensory Station, with items commonly found in the forest
  • Sunshine Slope, featuring a gentle slope with cuddle cocoons
  1. Enjoy the view from Inspiration Point Overlook
Wikimedia Commons

Inspiration Point is an area you should not miss visiting. The point allows you to savor panoramic views of the Genesee River, the Upper and Middle Falls, and the stunning gorge. In addition, it is one of the best spots to catch views of the sunset in Letchworth.

  1. Have a picnic at Wolf Creek

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better picnic area than Wolf Creek. The location offers plenty of space for your picnic blankets as well as tables and chairs. The picnic area is also scattered near the creek, allowing you to listen to the sounds of the waterfall cascading down the gorge.

  1. Go whitewater rafting
Paul Cooper | Flickr

Get your blood going with a ride on a raft down the great Genesee River. Whitewater rafting trips take about 2 to 3 hours but could take more or less time depending on the weather. This activity is perfect for group travelers, even ones with children as the rapids at the Genesee River are a little milder.

  1. Go hot air ballooning over the falls
Happy Photo Guy | Flickr

One of the most extravagant activities to partake in while visiting Letchworth State Park is to take a Hot Air Balloon to ride over the area. Hot air balloon tours (both private and group tours) depart from the Upper Falls area.

It is important to note that hot-air balloon rides are very weather-dependent. On some days, conditions such as too much wind can make the tour too dangerous. It is best to first confirm with the tour company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Letchworth State Park located?

Letchworth State Park is located in Western New York, south of Rochester and east of Buffalo. There are multiple Letchworth State Park entrances. At least three are open all year round, including Mt. Morris in the north, Perry in the northwest, and Castile in the southwest.

There are two other entrances—Portageville in the south and Parade Grounds in the southeast. However, these are only closed in the winter months.

Are there restrooms available in the park?

There are a number of public restrooms in Letchworth State Park. The following restrooms remain open during the winter season:

  • Inspiration Point
  • Trailside Lodge
  • Middle Falls
  • Highbanks Camping Contact Station
  • Highbanks Recreation Area South Shelter
  • Dam Overlook.

During office hours, guests can also use restrooms located at the Visitor Center and the Humphrey Nature Center.

Are there any closures during the cold season?

During the winter season, several trails and roads are closed for safety purposes.


  • Trail 1 at the Upper Falls Stairs between Glen Iris Inn and Middle Falls
  • Trail 2 from the Park Road North
  • Trail 6 and 6A in Lower Falls
  • Trail 7 from PArade Grounds going towards the Genesee Highbridge


  • Main Park Road between Glen Iris and Portageville Entrance
  • Upper Middle Falls Road
  • Lower Falls Road
  • Main Park Road between Perry and Castile Entrances

Can I drive through Letchworth State Park?

Yes, it is possible to drive through the park as most roads are paved. There are also plenty of parking spaces for when you need to leave your car behind to walk along hiking trails.

What are other things you can do in Letchworth State Park?

There are plenty of activities to do and places to go in Letchworth State Park. These include the Humphrey Nature Center, William Pryor Letchworth Museum, Mount Morris Dam, Genesee Valley. You can also participate in cross country skiing and the park’s performing arts programs.