Places to visit in Letchworth
William P. Letchworth Museum
This museum provides information about the surrounding area as far back as 2 million (megaannum) years ago, starting with a Mastodon Skull that was founded a few miles from Glen Iris Inn in 1876.
Along with the historic artifacts, you’ll find information about the Paleo-Indians (Mastodon hunters) and the Seneca Iroquois, who settled along the Genesee River in the 1700’s. You can view Indian artifacts such as clothing, tools, weapons, and even models of the homes they used to make.
You’ll discover who Mary Jemison was and how she ended up getting captured by Shawnee Indians during the French and Indian War in 1758 at the age of 15. Mary chose to continue to live amongst the Seneca Indians until her death in 1833.
The museum encompasses everything from the beginning to present day. How William Pryor Letchworth came to buy the land, fighting the dam build, to eventually making it public state property and sharing it with the world.
Humphrey Nature Center
Topics range from geology, the Mount Morris Dam, botany, wildlife, and even considered animal control.
The interactive educational center provides displays that allow for visual/sensory stimulation.
The tree bark display educates about tree identification along with bark texture replicas.
There is also a video display where the viewer can fast forward or backwards to see the process of erosion.
Along with wildlife displays there is education on the importance of animal control. The idea of controlled hunting in Letchworth sprouted because of the overgrowing deer population. Today, the overpopulation of deer are destroying the forest’s undergrowth leading to devastation amongst native plant and animal species.
Bonus*** There’s also a little play area (Slide) in the corner for kids.
The Autism Nature Trail
This was a family favorite! You can find this trail located within the nature center area.
When you arrive, the first building you’ll see (as pictured above) is the Celebration Station where there are a variety of sensory items such as animal skins, bones, and plants. Participants have the option of picking up their own clip board with dry erase maps and markers so they can lead the way!
My kids favorites were the Music Circle and the Design Space. Mine was the Meadow Run & Climb.
It was an absolutely beautiful trail, highly recommend for everyone.
Here’s a direct link to their autismnaturetrail.com website. This will show you the trail map and all their sensory stations.
The main waterfalls you will have the amazing opportunity to see will be the Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and the Lower Falls. These water falls are closer to the Portageville Entrance (Which is closed in the Winter).
Sometimes you can catch the train traveling over the gorge and I’d have to say, it’s a pretty marvelous thing to witness. There are many magnificent views and you can probably assume these pictures don’t do it justice, and you’re 100% right. You have to see these falls in person to get the full AWEEE. We definitely plan on making this an annual trip! Absolutely Stunningggg.
The Upper Falls are the first stop when you enter through the South Gate/ Portageville Entrance. There is a parking area underneath the railroad tracks for quicker access.
As you travel North through the park on the main road, you’ll come to Middle Falls.
We arrived at middle falls by hiking trail 1 from Upper Falls parking area. But if you prefer to drive, you can park at the parking area at the Council Grounds near the museum and hiking a short distance. Or if you plan on getting lunch you can park at The Glen Iris Inn and walk down from there. The Glen Iris Inn and Museum are within close proximity.
In the same day, we ended up walking from Middle Falls up to the Museum and then continued on Trail 2 past the council grounds where we saw a statue and living quarters of Mary Jemison. We continued on trail 2 and followed it back around to the parking area at Upper Falls in the beginning of Trail 1.
The day after, we continued our adventure by driving to Lower Falls.
We took Trail 6 since it was closest to our camping area in D cabins and also has a parking area.
Always watch yours children closely! There are no rails on the cliff areas if they wander off the trails! Especially Trail 6, you will start off by going downhill on the side of the gorge, and of course uphill on the way back. I will do a quick safety brief with the kids next time we go.
I forgot to mention to my children if you get too close to a rock ledge there is always a chance it can break off and take you down with it! Yup, had a heart attack. Safety briefs are important and neccessary!
So we traveled down trail 6 which turns to 6A once you get to the bottom of 6 trail and then you’ll take 6A across the footbridge to the other side of the gorge. Be sure to be watchful of the sides of the gorge as the rocky cliff is very shaley and some rocks are sometimes likely to fall onto the trail.
Tour The Mount Morris Dam
The Mount Morris Dam Tour was a great experience for our family! The staff did a great job and we learned a lot!
The whole tour took about an hour, and be sure to reserve your spot before the tour time that day by visiting their visitors center. If you’re going with young kids like I did, make sure they’re obedient and fairly well behaved because if they’re not, it can be dangerous standing on a 200 ft drop.
We were unable to take pictures inside the Dam, as it is a federal facility and actually is no part of Letchworth State Park itself. They do have to work together because of waterflooding concerns that affect many cities north along the river. The Genesee river starts in the State of Pennsylvania and ends in lake Ontario within the city of Rochester.
But we were able to take a few pictures of the educational section inside the visitors building while we waited. Get there an hour before the tour and the kids can do a scavenger hunt and win a prize! My kids thoroughly enjoyed it!
Glenn Iris Inn
You can eat on the Park at one of their most historical buildings which was an original estate by William P. Letchworth himself. You can eat here and even book Guest Rooms and Suites!
Things To Do
In Letchworth State Park, There are about 30 trails you can hike. They can range from 1/4 mile to 24 miles! With 2 kiddos, we stuck with the shorter ones.
In one day, my family was able to begin our hike at the south point of Trail 1, view upper falls and middle falls, then we cut across the road to the museum, then continued to trail 2 which looped us back around to our parking spot at the beginning of Trail 1.
When you travel on Trail 2 to the Council Grounds, you’ll see a statue of Mary Jemison, the white woman who was captured by Indians when she was 15. She ended up loving it so much she lived with them until she was 90! You can see where she lived and grew up in the original buildings.
White Water Rafting
You’ll paddle about 5.5 miles in “The Grand Canyon of The East” on the Genesee River.
If you’re a first timer, be prepared to work as a group and to be very attentive to instruction because it can be quite dangerous for those not listening to instructions and quick on their feet when responding.
I’ve been white water rafting in the Black River with my dad about 10 years ago and I had an awesome time!
Here is a direct link to their Adventure Calls Outfitters Website for more information on pricing and rafting packages.
There is a public pool available near the Mount Morris Dam Entrance. During our brief visit to check it out, it seemed very large and open and there are changing rooms available.
We didn’t do any swimming just because where we live, you could throw a stick in the air and it would land in some swimming hole.
You can find play areas all over the park but mostly found near the Mount Morris Dam entrance. We spent a lot of time hitting up playgrounds on our last day as we made our way back through the park.
One of my favorite picnic areas I enjoyed with the kids was the Tea Table Picnic Area. There is a covered area with picnic tables, and a playground across the road. A few days earlier, we saw a wedding reception taking place there. It is really a beautiful place with an overlook of the Genesee River.
Apparently I forgot to take a picture of our picnic experience at the Tea Table, So here is a picture of us enjoying another picnic area next to the playground in the “playground section” above.
Be sure to pack your fishing poles and gear! You can fish in Letchworth’s Trout Pond on Trail 3 (which also offers a parking area) or you can hike to multiple access points in the Genesee River.
The areas we visited were trails 13 off of St. Helena Picnic Area where you have two access points to the Genesee River.
Trail 5 has three access points into the River and we really enjoyed the closest trail from the entrance, we didn’t get to the other two. They recommend not swimming in the river due to the currents.
And there may be others we have yet to discover ask for recommendations at the information desk.
You’ll find the surrounding areas around the park offer plenty of activities such as golfing, more fishing, and dining.
Cabin D-005 Review at Letchworth State Park NY
D Cabins are pretty historic, especially since they were built in 1933-1935 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)
D and E Cabins are located on the other side of the Gorge and are closer to the south entrance of the park (Portageville Entrance, which is closed in the Winter).
There are about 10 cabins to choose from and we liked Cabin – 005 because it was in the back up on a hill. It is the farthest one from the bathrooms but you’re not in view of the other cabins. If you’re really not a fan of bugs and like something a little more modern like B Cabins.
Our cabin was 1 room, came with stove with oven, fridge with freezer, 2 fold out cots, and 2 sets of bunk beds.