Located in eastern New York state, about 45 miles southwest of Rochester, Letchworth State Park is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Straddling the Genesee River for 17 miles the park encompasses more than 14,000 acres of deep river canyon and dense woodlands. The area was purchased in 1859 by William Pryor Letchworth, who recognized its natural and scenic value. He then granted it to the state in 1906 to be preserved as a public park. The park’s main attraction is the three dramatic waterfalls on the Genesee, which pour over escarpments up to 100 feet high. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the park also offers year-round outdoor recreation, from hiking, fishing and birdwatching to a variety of snow play. The large campground in Letchworth State Park makes a good basecamp for exploring the area’s many sights and recreation opportunities. It contains 270 tent, trailer and RV sites in eight separate loops. All sites have electrical hookups, and there are water spigots, restrooms with showers, recycling stations and a dump station available. Additional accommodations in the park include camping cabins and the Glen Iris Inn. Visitors also have access to several picnic areas and playgrounds, a swimming pool, sports fields, trout pond, a museum, and nature center. Campsite rates range from $24–$26/night, plus additional fees; cabin and lodge rates vary; reservations recommended. The best way to see many of the park’s sights is to get out and walk, hike or bike on any of the 66 miles of multiuse trails that wind through the park, and vary in distance and difficulty. The waterfalls are best viewed along the 7-mile Gorge Trail. One of the more unique and exciting ways to see the park is by hot air balloon. Other activities in the park include paddling on the river, nature programs, guided walks, and interpretive exhibits. The park also offers some of the best birdwatching in the state. In winter, many of the park’s trails become snowshoe and cross-country ski routes, and a few are even open to snowmobiles, so no matter what time of year you visit, there’s a way to play outdoors.