Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Letchworth State Park, especially from April through October.
The park boasts around 66 miles of hiking trails, allowing one to see the most eye-catching gorges in New York.
Here’s a round-up of some of the best hikes in the park.
1. Hemlock Trail
Hemlock Trail is a 2.5-mile trail featuring a calm pond and some of the oldest trees in Letchworth State Park. It’s also known as Trail 2A between Trout Trail and Mary Jemison Trail.
Part of this trail leads to the Genesee River through the Deh-ga-ya-soh Creek, so you are in for a fantastic adventure.
Hemlock Trail is easygoing and has little traffic, making it the best for beginners and those who like hiking alone.
2. Portage Trail
The Portage Trail was built in the early 1930s to transport canoes down the Genesee River. The 1.6 miles trail has an 83-m elevation and an outback route with many spectacular views.
This trail starts on the park’s eastern side and will take approximately 45 minutes to cover. It has some natural steps and mild inclines as it snakes its way to the Lower Waterfall, but you won’t have a hard time hiking, so you can bring your kids.
The Portage Trail is also ideal for running or walking, especially if you want solitude during the day. Be prepared for a bit of mud, and wear proper hiking boots.
3. Letchworth Trail
Letchworth Trail is another fantastic trail to explore on the eastern side of Letchworth State Park. The one-way 25-mile trail is within the Finger Lakes Trail System.
One part of the trail will take you to beautiful views of the Genesee riverbanks and several waterfalls in the park.
However, Letchworth Trail is very close to the canyon’s edge and sheer cliff, so I only recommend it to experienced hikers.
Being a long trail, you may not explore it all in a day. Luckily, it has some shelters to spend your nights in, but you need permission to reserve from the NY State Park Department.
4. Gorge Trail
The Gorge Trail is one of the most famous trails in Letchworth State Park. Snaking its way along Park Road, the park’s main road on the northern-southern side, you will find parking areas and trailheads on both ends of this well-maintained, 7.5-mile trail.
Some sections of the trail can be accessed via shooter routes. Bring snacks, drinks, and refresh at the picnic areas or shelters along this trail. Alternatively, you can enjoy lunch off the trail at the Lower Fall Restaurant and Lounge.
When hiking on this trail, notify a friend of your location and where you will return after hiking. The cell phone reception here is abysmal.
5. Genesee Valley Greenway Trail
This five-mile Genesee Valley Greenway Trail has been described as the most interesting trail in Letchworth State Park. It follows the Pennsylvania Railroad Rochester Branch and the Genesee Valley Canal.
The trail has several historical features, including Belfast Warehouse, Black Creek Canal Culvert, and the remains of the famous Pennsylvania Railroad, which operated in the 19th century.
Enjoy gorgeous views of the park’s waterfalls as the trail heads east of the Genesee River. Most of the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail is straight, consisting of cinders and mowed grass. It also cuts through wetlands, woodlands, stream valleys and rivers, and several historic villages in Allegany, Livingstone, Monroe, Wyoming, and Cattaraugus Counties.
Come ready to explore this trail’s many opportunities, including fishing, hiking, biking, and a link to parks and communities.
The Genesee Valley Greenway Trail also gives access to trails like the Finger Lake Trails, Erie Attica Trail, and Erie Canal Recreation Way. This trail is open during winter.
6. Mary Jemison Trail
The Mary Jemison Trail is an easy route for many hikers, so you can bring your kids and pets.
You can access the Mary Jemison Trail from Council Grounds or a small park close to the Railroad bridge. This is a 2.5-mile trail whose main attraction is 150-year-old trees, an old reservoir, and a dam.
You can combine the Mary Jemison Trail with the Gorge and Hemlock Trail if you want a pleasant and longer hike at Letchworth State Park. The trail is ideal for horseriding, biking, or ATV riding.
7. Trout Pond Trail
Also known as Trail 3, Trout Pond Trail must be on our list of best trails in Letchworth State Park. Try this trail if you are into loop hikes.
You will need fewer than 25 minutes to cover the trail in perfect weather. Trout Pond Trail is also ideal for skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and picnickers in its nicely wooded and open areas.
8. Footbridge Trail
Footbridge Trail is known by many for its alluring beauty. The 0.5 miles trail adds up as a hiking bridge over the Genesee River and connects with the Portage Trail near the Lower Falls area. So you will enjoy the beautiful Fall views as the sunrises on them. Use this trail if you want to connect to the west or east sides of Letchworth Park.
9. Sycamore Trail
This is a 0.7 miles trail that also gives access to Letchworth Trail. The trail descends down from River Road toward River Genesee. It offers visitors scenic views of the park and a great time in nature as they hike. Pick this trail if you don’t want crowds because it’s rarely explored. However, you cannot bring bikes, horses, or ATVs.
10. Highbanks Trail
Located on the west rim of Letchworth State Park, Highbanks is another excellent trail. The genesis of this 4.5-mile-long trail is at the Mount Morris Entrance, stretching to Cabin area C. Highbanks Trail offers spectacular views of the seasonal Craspey Clay Falls, so bring your camera.
Thanks to its many trials, Letchworth State Park is a home for hikers. The trails offer an opportunity to soak in nature and enjoy what the park offers. Are you planning a hike at the park? We hope this guide helps you find the perfect trail for your next trip!