Sandra Scott Travels: Enjoy The View at Letchworth State Park

View of Middle Falls from Glen Iris

View of Middle Falls from Glen Iris

Last week I asked: Where is the Grand Canyon of the East?

Letchworth State Park.

William P. Letchworth
William P. Letchworth

Letchworth State Park is located 35 miles southwest of Rochester and 60 miles southeast of Buffalo in Livingston and Wyoming counties.

The park is roughly 17 miles long, covering 14,350 acres of land along the Genesee River with three major waterfalls and several lesser ones.

The largest is 107 feet high.

The canyon was carved by the river over thousands of years with some of the cliffs nearly 600 feet above the river.

John and I have been to Letchworth several times and it is at its loveliest in the fall.

I would love to go in the spring when the water is high and the falls are at full expanse.

View of Middle Falls from Glen Iris
View of Middle Falls from Glen Iris

There are several ways to access the park but everyone should explore the entire 17 miles.

There are many overlooks, campsites, and picnic areas.

From the northernmost entrance at Mount Morris driving south the first stop is to view the 230-foot Mount Morris Dam.

It is a dry dam designed to control flooding.

I saw pictures of the flooding in 1972 during Hurricane Agnes when the entire gorge filled with water.


The people of New York State owe William P. Letchworth a debt of gratitude for donating the land to the state of New York in 1906.

Statue in honor of "the boys" at the CCC camps
Statue in honor of “the boys” at the CCC camps

He bought the land and what is now the Glen Iris Inn as a retreat from his business life.

More land was added to the park in later years.

During The Great Depression several CCC camps were established.

The “boys” built roads, bridges, trails, camps and made many improvements during their tenure.

When the “boys” went to fight in World War II, the camp was used to house prisoners of war.

There are storyboards where one of the camps was located.

The Visitor Center
The Visitor Center

John and I stayed at Glen Iris Inn which is only $100 ($120 in October, their peak season).

The rooms are small but nicely decorated all with an ensuite bathroom.

The suites have a roomy sitting room and one has a small balcony.

There is a lovely library/lounge on the third floor.

The dining room is large and I was surprised at how many tour buses stop for lunch.

We enjoyed relaxing on the long porch with an adult libation as the day ended.

I definitely want to go back again, and again.

A mastodon head that was uncovered nearby in 1876.
A mastodon head that was uncovered nearby in 1876.

Just behind the inn is the museum.

We watched a couple of their videos and marveled at the huge mastodon head that was uncovered nearby in 1876.

At the top of the hill behind the inn is the Council Grounds with a statue to Mary Jemison, “The White Woman of the Genesee” and two log buildings.

Letchworth had Jemison’s remains reburied there.

Today there is a statue of Jemison.

She was born on the boat from Ireland to America and while her family was moving west through Pennsylvania all but Mary were massacred by the Senecas.

 Mary Jemison, “The White Woman of the Genesee”
Mary Jemison, “The White Woman of the Genesee”

She was adopted and raised by the Senecas, married, had a family, and acted as a moderating influence in the relationship between the Seneca and the white settlers.

At the end of the day while relaxing on the porch of Glen Iris we watched the hot air balloons owned by Balloons over Letchworth over the Middle Falls.

The view must have been outstanding.

I put Balloons over Letchworth on my Gotta-do List.

The same group also organizes rafting.

Letchworth  falls
Letchworth falls

Letchworth has something for all seasons.

Trivia Tease™: Where is there a historic haunted place in New York State?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!