Scenic USA - New York

Lower Falls of Letchworth Park

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Lower Falls of Letchworth Park - Castile, New York

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Bucking the trend of a normal river flow, the Genesee River in western New York flows from a south to north direction. Portage Canyon Big Bend Beginning on the Allegheny Plateau in northern Pennsylvania, the Genesee cuts through the rippling mountains of New York, dropping through two distinct sections along the way. A series of three waterfalls are found in Letchworth State Park, and another set in the town of Rochester to the north. Here in Rochester, where the river finally empties into Lake Ontario, the city's Maplewood Park offers the final series of waterfalls, including the impressive 100 foot lower falls.
     Forty miles to the south, at Letchworth State Park, the Genesee puts on another show of three major waterfalls. Here in the Grand Canyon of the East, the Genesee has sliced right through the earth, hollowing out a 600 foot deep, 17 mile long canyon. Three exceptional waterfalls can be viewed along the Canyon Rim Drive. This view of the Lower Falls is found in a tight crease of the canyon, accessed by a series of stone steps. Views from above may avoid the muddy Glen Iris Inn (the original Letchworth home) - Letchworth State Park, New York trail and a steep climb back to the rim, but this riverside viewpoint offers an impressive experience right by the thundering cascade.
     Although the Lower Falls is not the favorite waterfall in Letchworth Park, (a quality reserved by the Middle Falls), its only limitation may be its narrow setting ... not allowing a straight on view. Be sure to experience both left and right trails at the bottom of the stairs, each one granting unique vantage points. The stone bridge, a marvel in its own right, crosses the canyon to the Portage and Letchworth trails. Here, hikers enjoy the quiet side of the park and another round of impressive canyon views.

   Area Map
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