Letchworth State Park, affectionately hailed as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the most popular natural attractions in New York. While tourists flock to the park’s falls and gorges year-round, there’s truly no better time to visit than in fall. Throughout late September into October, Letchworth State Park’s fall foliage is at its peak, making it the perfect time for leaf peepers to get their fill of the hues found among the trees. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in an autumnal paradise this fall and catch some great glimpses of the changing foliage, a trip to Letchworth has to be at the top of your list.
Believe it or not, Letchworth State Park in fall is actually even busier than it is in the summertime. With crowds rushing to the park to enjoy its seasonal splendor, it’s a good idea to plan out your trip in advance so you can take full advantage of your time there. Weekends and holidays are very busy, so your best bet for a more laid-back trip would be to visit mid-week. If you are planning to stay overnight at the Glen Iris Inn or any of the other on-site accommodations, be sure to have your reservations made in advance. You should also get to Letchworth early and park in a lot near the trails or overlooks you plan on checking out.
Expect to See Weddings
Lots of people in the park means there’s a lot going on at the park. In the fall, weddings are quite a common sight. After all, waterfalls and fall colors make for a pretty unforgettable ceremony backdrop. Don’t be surprised if you see a wedding or two at the famous Glen Iris Inn overlooking Middle Falls. Here, guests can make use of the venue’s newly opened Caroline’s Courtyard, which is filled with beautiful string lights, patio seating and space for ceremonies and dancing.
Check the Weather
The only thing predictable about Western New York weather is how unpredictable it really is. Fall in Letchworth is no different. On the day of your visit, make sure you check the weather and see what conditions are anticipated throughout the day. Rainy, cloudy days in fall are quite common, as are rapidly changing temperatures. Wearing layers and having rain gear on standby are musts. You can’t go wrong with an extra pair of dry socks either!
Stop at the Visitor Center
Whether you’re a first-time or return guest, you can’t go wrong with a pitstop at the Visitor Center as soon as you enter the park. Here, you’ll find information on all the trails, the best locations for leaf peeping and the ever-important Letchworth State Park leaf report. There are also opportunities to learn about the park through educational exhibits.
Visit the Falls
Upper Falls, Middle Falls and Lower Falls are the most famous landmarks at Letchworth, and for good reason. These waterfalls offer some of the best views in the entire park and have very accessible, well-kept trails. What’s more picturesque than morning mist and fall foliage over stunning waterfalls? The trails will guide you along the historic Genesee River Gorge and many other breathtaking landscapes that you won’t soon forget.
Hike the Trails
Letchworth State Park is home to more than 66 miles of trails to venture through. Some, like those along the waterfalls, are busier than others. No matter what trails you decide to take, you’ll be up close and personal with the reds, yellows and orange hues that make Letchworth State Park fall foliage so magical. We recommend using the Parks Explorer App for wayfinding, trail mapping and other key information you might need for your hike.
Take a Drive
If you get tired from hiking, get caught in the rain or just want to have a more leisurely visit to Letchworth State Park, a scenic drive is the way to go. The park’s main road, often called the Gorge Road, features stunning views and plenty of areas to appreciate the fall colors and natural landmarks from the comfort of your car. There are also great spots to pull over to take photos along the way.