Monday, August 2, 2021

Letchworth State Park - New York

Letchworth State Park is southwest of Conesus Lake, the westernmost of the eleven Finger Lakes in western New York (35 miles southwest of Rochester and 60 miles southeast of Buffalo). It was named the best state park in the U.S. in 2015 by a USA Today Reader's Choice competition. It is known for its three primary waterfalls along the Genesee River: (a) Upper Falls, which is 70 feet tall; (b) Middle Falls, which is 107 feet tall; and (c) Lower Falls, which is about 50 feet tall. It has also been called the "Grand Canyon of the East" with gorge walls reaching as high as 550 feet from the Genesee River (and get as narrow as 400 feet). It is named after William Pryor Letchworth who owned the land near Middle Falls and bequeathed his 1,000 acre estate to the State of New York following his death in 1906. The Glen Iris Inn near Middle Falls was Letchworth's home and is now a hotel and restaurant. We ate lunch at Caroline's in the Glen Iris Inn. 

Upper Falls is below a Norfolk Southern Railway suspension bridge and just below where we first entered the park. We missed it on our way in and visited it last during a downpour. It was throwing up a lot of mist. 

Upper Falls just above where the Genesee River goes over the falls. 
A beautiful side waterfall above Upper Falls. 
We drove in first to Middle Falls and hiked above it and below it. Andrew and Michaela were finding lots of mushrooms near the walkways. Middle Falls was by far the most impressive of the three waterfalls. 

At Inspiration Point, below Middle Falls, we caught views of both Middle Falls and Upper Falls (seeing Upper Falls for the first time) and also catching our best views of the high gorge walls. 

The gorge

Middle Falls
We hiked in to Lower Falls. It was the least spectacular of the three and the most work to  hike in to, but was worth the walk. 

It is difficult to get a good photo of Lower Falls as the vegetation covers much of the view and steep cliff walls (and signs) prevent you from getting better views). 

We visited Thomas Cole's home in Catskill, above the Hudson River, earlier in our trip. He was the founder of the Hudson River school of painting. Wikipedia has a photo of a painting he did of a waterfall on the Genesee River. That was a fun tie-in for me. 
I photographed a chipping sparrow near Inspiration Point which was a first sighting for me of that bird. 
If we'd been there earlier or later in the day our chance of sighting other wildlife would have been improved. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved the middle falls--wide and plunging like Niagara and Victoria Falls, but more approachable and easier to experience.