Letchworth State Park is located 35 miles southwest of Rochester, New York, and 65 miles southeast of Buffalo, New York. The 14,350-acre park is situated on the western side of the Genesee River. A deep gorge with three major and several minor waterfalls is located within the boundaries of Letchworth. A 17-mile scenic road winds its way through the park. There are many scenic overlooks with ample parking that are handicap-accessible. For the more adventurous, 66 miles of seasonal hiking trails of various difficulties can be found at the park. To truly appreciate all that the park has to offer, plan on spending at least a full day there. Seasonal cabins and a campground are onsite for those who wish to stay longer.
Classic Upstate New York weather consists of four seasons. Expect winter temperatures to average in the 20s, with light to moderate snowfall. Spring brings daytime temperatures in the mid-40s to 60s. Summer temperatures will be in the 70s to 80s. The fall can be the most challenging time of year, with very cool mornings, warming to the 50s and occasionally the 60s. Average rainfall amounts from April to October are 21.93 inches.
Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, there are countless opportunities for fantastic photos here. A wide-angle lens is a must for shooting grand vistas such as the Great Bend or Inspiration Point areas. A telephoto lens such as a 70-200mm is essential to take along, especially if one is using the hiking trails. It can be a great lens for the abundant species of flora and fauna at the park. Both of these types of lenses are excellent choices for waterfall photography, as well. A polarizer would be the best filter for creating a “pop” of colors in the fall and a neutral-density filter for motion-blur effects with water. For tack-sharp images, bring a sturdy tripod.
Each season brings its own unique qualities for getting that perfect shot. Fall is the most popular season, by far. The views against a colorful backdrop of orange, yellow and reds can be truly breathtaking. Weekends can be especially crowded in the fall. Early morning, late evenings and weekdays can yield spectacular images, minus the crowds. Springtime can also be a rewarding time to shoot. Blooms of flowers add a splash of color against countless temporary waterfalls created by frequent rains. Summer sunshine can be used to capture rainbows produced from the mist of the falls. Winter is a stark contrast from the other seasons, as snow-covered trees and ice formations can make for a beautiful landscape.