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New York’s Best Fall Vista: Letchworth State Park

New York’s Best Fall Vista: Letchworth State Park

Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park features picture perfect vistas that leave visitors in awe of the natural world. While enjoyable in Spring and Summer months, Letchworth reaches the peak of its beauty in mid-October when fall foliage is in full bloom. Its views (almost) rival that of the Adirondack Mountains, but at Letchworth, you don’t have to hike for the payoff. You can, but the most noteworthy views within the park are accessible by car, creating a unique element of accessibility that is perfect for anyone. But act fast. Don’t let the season slip away without walking through the trails of Letchworth State Park, staying overnight in a cabin and enjoying the park’s restaurant, the Glen Iris Inn.

Video by Larissa Urbiks

Need to Know

  • Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle
  • Peak season (though not our favorite): June 25-August 30
  • Park dimensions: Letchworth State Park is 17 miles long, and covers 14,427 acres.

Hiking Trails


If you’re feeling adventurous, consider the different hikes Letchworth has to offer. You’ll be thankful for the cool fall breeze as you make your way through trails spanning anywhere from a quarter mile to 24 miles long. Some trails even allow biking, horseback riding, skiing and snowmobiling.

Letchworth’s most famous hike is the seven mile 400. This hike takes you right up to Inspiration Point — the lookout of what many guests claim to be the best view in the park. A canyon of fall foliage, and the tiered waterfall in the distance create a breathtaking sight.

The Portage Trail is a quick half-mile hike that offers visitors a close view of the Lower Falls. If you don’t have the time to commit to a serious hike but want to make the best of your time at the park, walking the Portage Trail is a great option. From the trail you can also cross a footbridge over the Genesee River to the Lower Falls area.

Serious hikers- the Letchworth Trail is the one for you. This roughly 25 mile hike takes you right up to the gorge’s edge. You’ll need full backpacking gear for this one and a permit if you plan to use the park’s shelters.

Getting There

Photo by Larissa Urbiks

The best (and only) way to get from Syracuse to Letchworth State Park is by car. The ride will take you almost 2.3 hours. So collect all your friends in the morning, turn your favorite music on and enjoy your road trip. If you don’t own a car, don’t worry. You can easily rent one for your weekend trip since Syracuse Airport has various car rental services. Price comparison platforms such as Kayak allow you to search for the best offer. Find out how to get to the airport here.

 

 

Cabins and Camping in Letchworth State Park

Photo by Larissa Urbiks

The main attractions in Letchworth State Park can be experienced in one day. If you want to spend a whole weekend in Mother Nature, Letchworth offers cabins, a camping area, and even a hotel.

The rooms are for two persons and available until the end of October. 

Too expensive? Consider renting a cabin. Less luxurious, but more nature will be your mantra. There are five cabin areas in the park. Every cabin includes a kitchen, a flush toilet, cold water and one or two bedrooms for two to six people. Some cabins also have a fireplace. If you’re visiting Letchworth State Park in the fall, prices start at $33 and cost up to $128 per night. Cabin area A is open until the end of November, Area B through D close in mid-October, and Area E closed in the beginning of September.

  •   Looking for even more adventure? Grab your tent or trailer and stay for $25

per night on a campsite. Camping is allowed from the beginning of May until mid-October.   

Quick Tips, and Rules to be Aware of

  • Try to go visit in October when you can see all the fall colors.
  • Want to stay overnight? Reserve early.
  • Stay on the trails – it’s for your own safety and the park rangers heavily enforce this rule.
  • There is currently a “Don’t Move Firewood” regulation in effect. To prevent the spread of diseases and invasive insects, you are only allowed to use treated firewood, or local firewood in the park.

 

Interested in other parks New York has to offer? Check out this article National Parks that you cannot miss in LivableCNY—Women‘s Rights, a national park in upstate New York.

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