Place yourself in a setting where you can hear the Genesee River roar through the gorge and between cliffs. These waters come rushing down three different waterfalls that are surrounded by lush, picturesque forests. Just the thought alone is beautiful. Yet, the real thing is even better. This “Grand Canyon of the East” is yet another magnificent example of what our Earth has to offer beneath the surface.
There are over 14,000 acres to the park in an area that spans across both Livingston and Wyoming counties. It’s a popular State Park and seemingly one that is in a world of its own. Summer months bring hikers, cyclists, and other eager visitors, while colder months give way to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. There are over 66 miles of trails to choose from and a rich history to explore.
Many come for Letchworth’s famed waterfalls, but this State Park certainly has much more to offer its visitors. When you have the time to dig deeper into this landscape, you are able to open up a whole new aspect of the terrain. It’s time to park your rig and get comfortable - you’ll want to stay a while and really get to know the ins and outs of this place. It’s an area that is bursting with energy; a welcome combination for the list of activities to enjoy here.
RV Rentals in Letchworth State Park
Transportation in Letchworth State Park
The park has six entrances to choose from, but you will want to make the choice wisely. Once you are in the park, there is no way to cross back over the river. At least, not by car, truck, or camper…
All amenities, including the main road of the park, are found on the west side of the river, while the east side hosts a number of trails and a few campgrounds. Most of this side is largely wild and undeveloped land; certainly not as pristine as a western stay. The eastern side is closed during Winter months, but during the rest of the year, it offers a way to get to the cabins. The trails on this side boast views of the falls as well as the gorge, and are often sights many visitors never even see.
Besides these scenic routes, the rest of the park’s roads are largely paved and easy to navigate.
When you’re camping with your rig or tow behind, you may find that it’s certainly not as easy to park just willy-nilly. However, the inner campgrounds aren’t the only space you’ll find refuge. RVs and buses will fit in the lots at the Visitor Center as well as at the museum. Other sites for parking include a whole host of areas to take in your surroundings. Most of this park is taken in best on foot.
Campgrounds and parking in Letchworth State Park
Campsites in Letchworth State Park
Houghton / Letchworth KOA
Weave through the tall larches and hardwoods on the 100-acre scenic Houghton/Letchworth KOA, with sites fit for 40 foot rigs that offer 50-amp electric service. Connect to the free Wi-Fi in the community lodge or set up a board game beside the fireplace. Nearby, you can visit Allegany County or Letchworth State Park, known as the "Grand Canyon of the East,” with bountiful rushing waterfalls and scenic gorges. Back at the Houghton/Letchworth KOA, fishing, swimming, and campfires await your return.
If you've had enough of the RV life for a while, Letchworth State Park has 81 cabins for rental, including a few that are suitable for people with disabilities. Cabins range in size from those suitable for two people up to those that can hold eight comfortably.
The Letchworth Campgrounds is an area composed of 269 campsites that offer tent camping as well as a place to park RVs and campers. The grounds can accommodate trailers up to 50 feet in length and offers hookups for electric. Other amenities included here are flush toilets and a dump station for RVs.
The campground is open from the beginning of May and typically until mid-October, with reasonable prices to stay. All sites during peak season must be made by reservation. A pool, playground, and picnic areas make this campground extremely family-friendly. It’s a USA Today’s Reader’s Choice for State Parks, and it’s time you drove out here to find out why, for yourself.
There are no designated first-come, first-served campgrounds at Letchworth State Park, however, in the off-season, sites that are not under reservation are open to walk-ins and same day reservations. It’s best to check in with park officials before making your way into the grounds.
It is illegal for visitors to leave any of the marked trails within the State Park, as there is no ‘backcountry” out here. During your stay, sleep only in marked campgrounds, in the cabins, and any other lodging provided. For whatever reason, if you choose not to stay within the campgrounds, there are alternate parks and resorts where you can park.
Seasonal activities in Letchworth State Park
River runners are going to love making their way down the Genesee River and it’s a perfect trip for first-time rafters. Have the kids along? This is an activity that is sure to keep them busy. Apparel and safety vests are provided among other rafting equipment. You can even choose to make the whole day of this adventure, with packages that allow for a river adventure that stretches long into the evening hours.
While there is no swimming in the Genesee River, there is at the Harvey Pool. Visitors can enjoy some Summer swimming from late in June until around Labor Day. You’ll find the pool at the north end of the Highbanks Recreation Area with lifeguards always on duty. Bring your sunscreen!
Hot Air Balloons
Letchworth State Park provides one of the most notable examples of gorge scenery in the eastern United States, and makes for a breathtaking experience up in a balloon. Hot air balloons are quite common to see out overhead. It’s best to book well in advance and have this on your to-do list. This isn’t a trip you can make spur of the moment. Flights usually last about an hour, though weather conditions may influence times.
Guided tours are a great way to really dive into your surroundings. A park guide will accompany you on the walk and share all sorts of tidbits about this piece of New York. Letchworth has so much to offer its visitors, and the guided walks are a perfect way to ensure you’re not taking what’s around you for granted.
Viewing the park atop a beast so grand as a horse is a fantastic way to spend a portion of your day here. While Letchworth State Park does not offer horse rentals within the park grounds, you can make arrangements for horse rentals just outside of the park. The trails are easy-going and clearly marked for horse use.
Hunting is permitted within the grounds of Letchworth State Park, but only allowable with a permit, which you will need to acquire beforehand. Hunters can embark on big game hunting as well as turkey hunting excursions. The only legal hunting weapons include crossbow, bow, muzzleloaders, shotguns, or handguns. Rifle hunting is not permitted.
Many visitors flock to the park during off-season times. Usually, these are locals that relish the grounds outside of peak times. However, out-of-towners are more than welcome to join in on Winter fun. If you like the white stuff, you’re in good company here. You’ll see all sorts of Winter sport fun, including snow tubing and sledding. There are no equipment rentals available within the park, so you will have to come prepared with your own.
The park’s multitude of talks and interactive exhibits are sure to delight and open up a whole new view of this part of New York. The Humphrey Nature Center is open all year-round to support educational opportunities. Many of the exhibits highlight the area’s wildlife, geology, and general ecology of the park system. These exhibits are a perfect pastime for families.
Cross-Country Skiing -
This crowned jewel is a sublime area for all sorts of winter sports, including cross-country skiing. The air is as crisp as the snow. There are no places to find rentals within the park, so you’ll have to come prepared with your own equipment.
There are more than 25 miles of trails that pass through rather ornate scenery at the park. It certainly is some of Wyoming and Livingston County’s best. A popular area to traverse is between the Perry and Castile entrances, as the trail is the main park road. It’s a spectacular stretch that offers riders views that many would otherwise not see. The park gorge overlook is something not seen by many patrons in Winter months.