Letchworth State Park has been called the Grand Canyon of the east, with its 22 miles of of the Genesee River, making some dramatic waterfalls and adventurous raft trips. There are five and a half miles of rapids, ranging from very easy to moderately difficult. There are three dramatic waterfalls near the south end, one of which is 600 feet high. The park has 66 miles of hiking trails, for hiking or horseback riding. There are also camping areas.
Adventure Calls is an outfitter that offers guided trips down the Genessee River around Letchworth State Park. Adventure Calls has the concession, and is the only licensed tour guide that operates inside the park for whitewater rafting.
The trips involve five and a half miles of rapids that range from easy to moderately difficult. The trips take most of a day. If the weather is cold, a wetsuit might be advisable, and most oufitters offer those. Meals are also available.
The best time of the year to go is in spring. Late in the summer the water level can fall to the point that rafting becomes difficult. During those times, canoe and kayak trips are available. Adventure Calls also offers a two-day trip. This involves a full day of rafting, with a dinner in the evening. Camp for the night in tents, and after breakfast, take another raft ride that lasts all morning.
Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.
P.O. Box 391
Le Roy, NY 14482
Do it Yourself
Letchworth State park offers spectacular scenery, and some relatively mild rapids. It is possible to do a tour of the rapids yourself without a guide. The river is at its highest in March and April, when the rapids are roughest. There are often floods in June and October.
You must sign a release and get a waiver form at the park's administration center. Get a map there and put in at Lee's Landing. There are two more places to put in, and those make for a nice and relatively short trip. If you miss both those landings, you will be committed to making the five-mile trip to St Helena's. You must also report to park officials that you are off the water, otherwise, park officials will come looking for you.
Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY 14427
The Bay Creek Paddling Center can help with your white water rafting trip in more ways than one. They can sell or rent you all the equipment you might need, and give you any advice or information you might want. They also organize trips from time to time, so you can check to see if they have one going through Letchworth State Park. They also connect people who want to form groups and take trips on the river.
Bay Creek Paddling Center
1099 Empire Blvd.
Rochester NY, 14609
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.