The Genesee River Gorge gouges it's way north towards Rochester in west-central part of the state of New York. This little known river gorge is one of the most dramatic on the east coast with shear 500 foot vertical walls of crumbly rock. Elevations range from between 580 feet and 1,400 feet. The scene is not something you would expect to see in the eastern United States. Most of the east coast states have a river gorge or canyon that tries to attract outdoor enthusiasts, but none can match the Genesee River Gorge in dramatism. The cliffs certainly do remind one of the deep abyss that is the U.S. Grand Canyon in Arizona and is a much smaller version.
Now dammed up by the Mount Morris Dam, the Genesee River Gorge ends at its northern most point near the small college town of Mount Morris. The park that the gorge resides in is called Letchworth State Park within the NY State Parks System. Hiking opportunities abound within the park and both the east and west rims offer amazing views into the gorge. There is also a road which travels along the west rim of the canyon that affords beautiful views of the gorge's most dramatic points.
Letchworth State ParkLetchworth State Park in New York State is home to the beautiful Genesee River Gorge, about a half an hour drive from Rochester, NY. The park is named for William Pryor Letchworth who owned nearly 1,000 acres, all of which is now encompassed by the park, after being given to the state in 1906. The park is seventeen miles long and consists of 14,350 acres. There are four entrance stations into the park that remind you more of a National Park entrance, than a state park entrance. The State of New York had done a wonderful job in preserving this tract of land and saving it for later generations. There are three well-known and rather large falls located in the heart of the park called Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. Besides these larger falls, the highest falls in the state of New York resides within the park as well standing at a staggering 350 feet high.
Getting ThereFrom New York, NY:
Take the I-80 WEST exit onto I-80 EXPRESS LN WEST toward DOVER/DEL WATER GAP and go 2.7 miles. I-80 EXPRESS LN WEST becomes I-80 WEST - go 61.3 miles. Take exit #293 onto I-380 NORTH toward SCRANTON - go 24.5 miles. Continue on I-84 WEST - go 3.1 miles. Take the BINGHAMTON exit onto I-81 NORTH - go 58.9 miles. Take fork onto RT-17 WEST toward OWEGO/ELMIRA - go 61.0 miles. RT-17 WEST becomes I-86 WEST - go 38.9 miles. Take fork onto I-390 NORTH toward BUFFALO/ROCHESTER - go 38.5 miles. Take exit #7/RT-408 toward GENESEO - go 0.4 miles. Turn on MT MORRIS GENESEO RD[RT-408] - go 1.6 miles. Continue to follow RT-408 - go 0.5 miles. Continue on STATE ST - go < 0.1 miles. Arrive at the center of MOUNT MORRIS, NY and follow signs to Letchworth Park, NY.
From Central Pennsylvania:
Take US-15 NORTH until you reach the I-86JCT. Take ramp onto I-86 WEST - go 23.1 miles. Take fork onto I-390 NORTH toward BUFFALO/ROCHESTER - go 38.5 miles. Take exit #7/RT-408 toward GENESEO - go 0.4 miles. Turn on MT MORRIS GENESEO RD[RT-408] - go 1.6 miles. Continue to follow RT-408 - go 0.5 miles. Continue on STATE ST - go < 0.1 miles to Mt. Morris and follow the signs to Letchworth State Park.
External LinksOfficial New York State page for Letchworth State Park
Wikipedia on Letchworth State Park
History of Letchworth State Park