What I don't think about when I think about the state of New York is beautiful and natural surroundings, waterfalls, camping, and the great outdoors.
So you can imagine my surprise when I was looking for a place to camp for the May long weekend and came across Letchworth State Park in Castile, NY. The pictures online blew me away. I had to check it out.
Letchworth is known as "The Grand Canyon of the East." Three major waterfalls flow over the cliffs through the gorge, and some cliffs are as high as 600 feet. There are 66 miles of hiking trails. Hot air balloon rides are available over the amazing scenery. (of course, we didn't do that due to cost, and three small children, but maybe one day).
We camped in our tent trailer. At first when we got there I was a little disappointed at how open our campsite was, with few trees. This turned out to not be a problem in the end because it was a very quiet weekend there, and there were few sites full near us, especially on Sunday night when most Americans packed up because Monday was not a holiday for them. The campground had mostly Canadians that night. Had we camped at our side of the border the campgrounds would have been packed as the May long weekend in Canada is known for camping. So camping across the border on May long weekend turned out to be the best idea ever!
Now, I don't know if it was just luck on our part, or if it is typical of the State parks in the US, but the campground was super quiet during quiet hours (10 p.m. - 7 a.m.). You could hear people having a good time, but everyone was pretty respectful of those around them. It made for some great sleeps while we were there.
Once we got there we didn't waste any time exploring. We took the kids on the trails to see the waterfalls.
There were tons of stairs to all these waterfalls. The kids are used to hiking while we camp so they did great, but be aware that this is NOT stroller friendly, and a serious workout! Definitely worth it though!
This bridge to the lower falls was one of my favorite spots. Look how beautiful it is!
We spent a lot of time looking at the gorge as well.
It was breathtaking! However, with two active boys, holding our hand was a must. The barriers are not very tall in many areas, and though beautiful, it can be very dangerous. There HAVE been people who have slipped and fallen into the gorge, and you can imagine most falls end in a fatality. Just last October a 14 year old boy died here when he slipped. So if you check out Letchworth, be VERY safe, obey ALL signs, and stay on the trails.
One of the other things I found very strange, but awesome, was that there were NO mosquitos or black flies! I don't know if this is common there, or just the time of year, but we didn't use our bug spray once!
And of course, at the end of our trip I had a new bumper sticker to add to my collection.
Letchworth State Park should be on your bucket list! You won't regret it.
Peace & Love! :)