Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Letchworth State Park

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Address
1 Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY 14427
Latitude 42.570148
Longitude -78.051170

Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs--as high as 600 feet in some places--surrounded by lush forests. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are also available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a pool for swimming and hot air ballooning. Experiencing Letchworth by hot air balloon is unforgettable, as seen in this video clip.


Winter activities include snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The historic, completely restored Glen Iris Inn offers overnight accommodations and is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Banquet and catering services are available for your special events.

In 2015, Letchworth won the USA TODAY Readers' Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States! Letchworth came out on top of the 19 other state parks nominated for the contest, chosen from more than 6,000 parks across the nation.

For professional and organizational retreats, educational and training needs can be met at the Conference Center. Located in a secluded area at the southwest portion of Letchworth State Park, the facility consists of a spacious country lodge room, bedrooms, bathrooms with showers and a kitchen. This unique historic structure is designed to accommodate the needs of low impact professional and organizational groups for education, training and retreat purposes. It can be rented for day and/or overnight use. It is the perfect place for your next business retreat. This facility is not designed for overnight family camping, although, some family type rentals may be permitted. Call the Park Office to be sure if this or another site will best suit your needs. For a family type vacation rental experience the Maplewood Lodge can be rented. It is located in the middle of Letchworth State Park at the entrance to the Highbanks Camping Area. For winter use, it is ideal for snowmobilers as it connects to the NYS snowmobile trail system. The facility sleeps up to eight people and consists of a furnished kitchen, living room with a working fireplace, TV and VCR, a formal dining room and a full size bath with a shower on the first floor. There are two bedrooms and a powder room upstairs and one small bedroom on the first floor. Linens are not provided.

Campers can take advantage of tent and trailer campsites as well as winterized cabins. Group camping facilities are also available.

Shelter Application and Information

Tent/Trailer Campsite 2016: Information and Rules

Cabin Information and Rules

Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Proof of rabies inoculation. Not allowed in bathing areas, buildings, cabins or camping loops 300, 400, 500, 600 and 800.  For campers, if your site allows pets, there is a two-pet maximum.

Hours of Operation

  • The park is open daily 6am to 11pm.
  • 2016 Camping Season: 5/6 - 10/16 (50 amp sites)
    Please call the park office directly for information on group camp availability.

    *Please note: There is a fee charged on the 2nd vehicle for the first night of your camping stay.
  • Cabins: Available from April - mid-November. Some available year round.

    *Please note within the camping season time frame, some loops/sites may open later or close earlier. For more details, please call the park or visit http://www.newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com

  • 2016 Swimming Season:
    North Pool - 6/25 - 9/5, Mon-Fri: 11 am - 5:45 pm; Weekends & holidays: 11 am - 6:45 pm.
    South Pool - Closed.
  • Shelters: 4/1 - 10/31. Shelter lottery applications accepted 1/1 - 1/10.
  • Room/Location Rentals: The Genesee Conference Center, Maplewood Lodge, Chalet and Stone House are available year-round. The Pinewood Lodge is available 3/25 - 11/27.

  • Hunting: Deer and spring turkey hunting are permitted in season.

    Please note
    : There will not be a 2013 hunting permit lottery. Permits will be issued to the first 500 applicants for deer hunting. Details on the new process can be found here.
  • 2016 Operating Season for Glen Iris Inn: 3/25 - 10/30
    http://www.glenirisinn.com/ 
  • Museum: 5/1 - 10/31. 10 am - 5 pm, daily.

Fees & Rates

Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.

Your key to all season enjoyment of state parks is our season's pass. For $65, the Empire Passport provides you unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of our parks. Apply on-line or call your favorite park for more information.

  • Cabin Areas
  • Per night: daily rate is 1/4 the weekly charge
    Per week: $132-$512

    Surcharges:
    Non-NYS residents: $7/daily
  • Camping
  • $24-$26/night

    *Out of state resident fee for camping, per night: $5

  • Glen Iris Inn
  • Please see: http://www.glenirisinn.com/ 
  • Maplewood Lodge
  • $150/night - 2 night minimum
    $450/Holiday Weekend - 3 night minimum

    Peak season: $700 per week - 7 night minimum stay, Fri-Fri.
  • Museum
  • Donation
    $1 Adult
    $.50 Child
    $3 Family
  • Shelters
  • $50/Half Day;
    $100/Full Day
  • Vehicle Entrance Fee
  • $10 per vehicle
    Non-Profit Buses $35
    Commercial Buses $75

    Collected:
    5/7 - 5/27: 9 am - 5 pm, weekends only
    5/28 - 10/16: 9 am - 5 pm, daily
  • Wood Permits
  • $25/day

Maps

Digital Maps

New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.

Firewood source maps show a 50-mile radius from which untreated firewood may be moved to this campground. For more information see firewood restrictions.

Highlights of Letchworth State Park:

  • Considered the "Grand Canyon of the East," the gorge formed by Genesee River has rock walls that tower at 550 feet in some places. There are three large waterfalls within the park, and as many as fifty more waterfalls on the tributaries that flow into it. The three major waterfalls are referred to as Upper, Middle and Lower Falls – the Seneca believed that the Middle Falls were so wondrous that it made the sun stop at midday.
  • The exposed bedrock in the gorge is made of Devonian shales, limestone and sandstone. Many marine fossils can be found here, as the rock was laid down in an ancient inland sea.
  • Large stands of hemlocks are found throughout Letchworth State Park. Hemlocks are conifers that are usually found on north and east facing slopes and in gorges where there is higher humidity and it stays relatively cool. They prefer moist soil, but are adaptable to a variety of soils. A number of wildlife species benefit from hemlock stands. They are important cover species for ruffed grouse, turkey and rabbit, and provide suitable forage and cover for deer, particularly in the winter. Birds of prey, such as Barred Owls and Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawks have been regularly seen in several hemlock stands here at Letchworth.
  • Riparian wetlands, formed by the Genesee River carving its way through the gorge, serves a great purpose in ecological biodiversity. These wetlands provide habitat for multiple species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and juvenile fish. They are also interfaces between the land and the river and act as natural biofilters, protecting water quality from excessive sedimentation and pollutant runoff. They can best be viewed from partaking in a raft trip down the river from the sanctioned river access points at Lee's Landing and St. Helena.
  • Many vernal pools can be found at Letchworth; these are temporary pools of water, absent of fish, but teeming with life when not dry. They are a distinct type of wetland that provide habitat for species of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and insects, where they may be unable to withstand competition or predation elsewhere.
  • The Genesee River flows north about 140 miles before it reaches Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York. The water quality in the Genesee River Watershed is generally satisfactory, but urban and industrial water sources in the north and agricultural water sources elsewhere in the watershed can cause concerns. The major water quality concerns for the watershed are urban stormwater and industrial runoff in the Rochester area, protection of municipal water supply in the Hemlock Lake watershed, and agricultural and other nonpoint sources of nutrients and various other pollutants.

What will you see? Plan your visit today!

Look and listen for these birds at our Park:

Everyone is a Steward: Be a Letchworth State Park Hero!

  • Know the rules and concerns for the area you'll be visiting.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises. Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Use extra caution when using headphones. You may not be able to hear warnings.
  • Don't litter.
  • Hike and camp on established, durable trails and campsites.
  • Be careful with your fire.

For more information, please read our Trail Tips!

Ask a Naturalist!

Q: Does Letchworth State Park have any significance for birds?

A: Letchworth has been designated as a Bird Conservation Area. More than twenty species of wood warblers regularly nest in Letchworth State Park every year and twenty-five species have nested in the southern seven square miles of the park in a single year, perhaps the best concentration in the world.

Q: Does Letchworth State Park have any significance for trees?

A: Fifty species of trees have been located in a 25-acre virgin forest within the Portage Canyon below Inspiration Point, perhaps the most diverse forest of this size at this latitude in the entire world.

Did You Know?

- DID YOU KNOW? Black squirrels (like the ones seen at Letchworth) are gray squirrels that have an extra pigment gene called melanin, which causes their black coloration.

- DID YOU KNOW? Great Blue Herons nest in a community high up in the trees called a rookery.

- DID YOU KNOW? The no-mow zones throughout the middle of the park are not only a reduction in equipment and gas use, but also a conservation effort to promote vegetation growth and habitat.

 

The Letchworth BCA is located within Letchworth State Park. The 17 mile long park lies along the Genesee River. The river has carved a gorge though the middle of the park that is as deep as 550 feet in some places earning it the nickname, "Grand Canyon of the East". Evaluation of the BCA criteria for designation has shown that most of the Park qualifies as a BCA. Letchworth State Park is a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area.

Open water below the Mt. Morris dam may attract in excess of 2,000 Canada Geese in winter. There are several Great Blue Heron rookeries in the BCA with a total of over 100 nests. Of 75 species of Neotropical migratory songbirds, 64 are found in the BCA; of these 46 are confirmed breeders (plus 3 rare breeders). The BCA supports suites of birds associated with forest, rivers and shrub habitats. All of the forest, grassland and shrub/scrub species for which we have high regional responsibility are found here including breeding Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Wood Thrush, Cerulean Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Killdeer, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, American Woodcock, Willow Flycatcher, Brown Thrasher, Blue-winged warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Eastern Towhee and Field Sparrow. More than 30 species of warblers have been recorded in the park with 25 confirmed breeders. There are an estimated 534 pairs of Hooded Warblers and 110 pairs of Mourning Warbler. This is one of the few sites in upstate New York with breeding Yellow-breasted Chats. Winter roosts of 15-20 Turkey Vultures have been confirmed. As many as 200 Turkey Vultures may be observed on a single day in the summer. State listed birds confirmed as breeders in the park include threatened Bald Eagle and Special Concern Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-shouldered hawk, Red-headed Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Vesper Sparrow and Grasshopper Sparrow. Species that exceeded the IBA species at risk threshold are American Woodcock, Willow Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Canada Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat and Rusty Blackbird.

Key BCA Criteria:

- Waterfowl concentration site

- Wading bird concentration site

- Migratory concentration site

- Diverse species concentration site

- Individual species concentration site

- Species at risk site

Download a copy of the BCA map.


Thu 29 Sep
Fiddler's Elbow Hike- Scenic Loop Series
Thursday, September 29, 2016 10:00 AM
Letchworth State Park
(585) 493-3600

General nature hikes utilizing trails, but also traveling cross country to gain vantage to scenic vistas of the river valley. (3 hours, 2 miles)

Meet at overlook 2 miles south of the Perry Entrance Gate. Bring a lunch

Get Directions

Must See! The area known as the Parade Grounds was used as a training camp during the Civil War.

Amenities, Activities & Information

  • Amenities
  • Bridle Path
  • Cabins (Accessible)
  • Camper Assistance Program
  • Camper Recreation (Accessible)
  • Campsites
  • Cottages
  • Dumping Stations
  • Food (Accessible)
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Inns & Conference Centers
  • Museum/Visitors Center
  • Nature Trails (Accessible)
  • Pavilions (Accessible)
  • Picnic Tables (Accessible)
  • Playgrounds
  • Playing Fields
  • Scenic Views
  • Showers (Accessible)
  • Swimming Pool (Accessible)
  • Tent/Trailer Sites (Accessible)
  • Waterfalls
  • Activities
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Recreation Programs (Accessible)
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing Trails
  • X-Country Skiing