An upstate New Yorker need not travel far to experience truly breathtaking views. Letchworth State Park is an unexpected sanctuary of beauty nestled along the Genesee River, just south of the city of Rochester, New York and only hours away from other major cities in the upstate area. Touted as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park is the site of an expansive and winding gorge flanked by diverse layers of bedrock that date back hundreds of millions of years (“Letchworth Gorge: Overview”). The awe-inspiring Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls can be viewed from various vantage points located on multiple trails along the canyon's edge ("Letchworth State Park and Campground"). These 66 miles of twisting trails (“Letchworth State Park”) are perhaps the most appealing aspect of the entire park to explore. They dip in and out of the direct sight of the waterfalls and gorge, allowing visitors glimpses of more introverted wildlife. The combination of the gorges, waterfalls and myriad hiking trails make Letchworth State Park one of the most beautiful places in the Northeast to visit.
When visiting Letchworth State Park, the most enticing feature of the place is the gorge itself. In fact, when browsing websites or looking over park brochures, a potential visitor cannot escape the gratuitous (and ubiquitous) comparison of the park to an even more famous landmark. The nickname "Grand Canyon of the East" most likely refers to views of the structure in the Big Bend area of the park, where the exposed stone shares a similar texture and color to the Grand Canyon, but the gorge at Letchworth is very diverse. A New York state geological study of the gorge states, "The physical character of Letchworth gorge varies along its length. The upper and lower sections of the gorge are narrow and deep, cut into the bedrock. In contrast, the middle section is a still deep but broad, relatively flat bottomed valley". It...