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November 9, 2018 / mws

2018 Letchworth Park, New York

October 15 – October 16  2018  


For an Autumn road trip, we headed north to New York state.  Located 40 minutes south of Rochester, Letchworth State Park was our main destination. The Genesee River runs through a 550 foot gorge that cuts through the park.  Known for its brilliant Autumn colors, leaf-peepers flock to Letchworth each fall. The park itself is 17 miles in length and the entire distance can be travelled by car on Park Road which is located on the west side of the park. All of the park’s sights are accessed from Park road.

Three major waterfalls, the Upper, Lower and Middle falls, are located along the Gorge Trail and are the park’s major attractions. The Upper Falls is the closest to the southern entrance. The Middle Falls is the highest at 107 feet and is located near a large picnic area. The Lower Falls can be reached via a short side trail.

Usually, the first and second week of October are best for Fall color. In 2018, the color was late and muted. There were some isolated areas where we saw some color, but overall, it was green or brown. We entered the park through the newly opened Portageville entrance at the south end.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

The Upper Falls is the closest to the Portageville trailhead and requires the shortest hike to reach if you start the trail at this end. In 2018, the former 140 year old Portageville bridge was replaced by a new structure. This new bridge is an active train trestle that spans the gorge above the Upper Falls. We visited on a cloudy Monday morning and were the only tourists in this area.

Inspiration Point Overlook

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point provides an excellent view of the Middle Falls from a distance. This vista overlooks Letchworth Gorge and the Genesee River.  The far upstream view includes the Upper Falls and the train trestle that spans the mighty Genesee River.

Middle Falls

Middle Falls

MIddle Falls

The Middle Falls are the largest of the three main Letchworth Park Falls and are easily accessible in the main area of Letchworth State Park. The historic, completely restored Glen Iris Inn offers overnight accommodations in Letchworth Park and is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Steps away from the Glen Iris Inn, is the 107 foot Middle Falls.

Wolf Creek Picnic Area

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek

It was on the cold side when we visited Letchworth Park, but we always like to picnic.  We made a stop at the Wolf Creek Picinc area.  This is close to the Lower Falls area and was a popular lunch area even in the cool temperatures. The creek is a tributary of the Genesse River and provided a great scenic backdrop to our picnic.

Lower Falls

Lower Falls

Lower Falls

The Lower Falls are located north of the other two main falls.  It was a nice drive to get there and we also stopped at the Humphrey Nature Center. To get to the popular 55 foot Lower Falls, you walk down 127 stone steps on a half-mile trail to a stone footbridge.

Since the Summer of 2018 was very wet, all of the falls were very spectacular!

However, the paths and trails were also wet, muddy, and muddier!  When we reached the bottom of the 127 steps, the stone area became somewhat muddy.  When we turned the corner to go down the remaining steps to the footbridge, there were inches of mud!

There were some “free-spirited” hikers who walked through the mud to cross the footbridge.  But I couldn’t imagine cleaning our shoes after walking in that muddy mess!

We took some photos from the driest areas we could find before reluctantly returning up the path.


Stony Brook State Park, Dansville, New York

Stony Brook Park

Stony Brook Park

This park was a delightful surprise! We spent a day here taking in all the waterfalls and trying to get good photos. Again, we were the only ones on the trail, which is always nice for photography. There is also a Gorge Trail in this park which runs along Stony Brook at creek level, and we followed this trail. The Gorge Trail was mostly rock, with steps cut into the shale and limestone of the gorge. The trail was easy and family and senior friendly.  We lost count of the number of waterfalls, but there were a lot and all were picturesque.

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“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir.

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