This past Friday Bob and I talked about going to Allegany State Park for a Saturday drive. On Saturday morning we decided on a day trip to a different destination.
We departed home shortly before 7:30 am, in search of breakfast. I had hoped to see the sunrise, but it was overcast. Later in the morning the sky cleared, and the sun came out. I had to shed my hoodie, too, as the temperature warmed up.
We stopped for breakfast at Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville NY, on our way to Letchworth State Park – the destination for our day trip. Breakfast was very filling. Bob ordered a western omelette with two buckwheat pancakes. The omelette was made with four eggs and was very fluffy. I ordered what is called The Mainline. It was two eggs scrambled, three slices of thick bacon and two pancakes. I had one pumpkin pancake and one apple cinnamon pancake.
We were asked if we needed more pancakes. You may have as many pancakes as you desire, with breakfast. We neither needed nor wanted any more pancakes.
We were on NYS Route 436, on our way to the Mount Morris entrance for Letchworth State Park, when we noticed a sign for Parade Grounds at Letchworth State Park. We turned in at the parade ground entrance. We drove past the parade grounds and followed what I learned later was East Park Road, wondering where the road would lead. A sign near the Parade Grounds indicated that the road was a dead end. That road went on and on and on. We never did see where the road ended. We turned around (my suggestion), as the road got narrow and bumpy. Looking at a Letchworth State Park trail map, East Park Road connects to several trails and Cabin Area E.
Letchworth State Park trail map
The yellow highlighted road shows our route from Route 19A to NYS Route 436, entering Letchworth State Park via the Parade Grounds entrance and our drive on East Park Road. Later I learned from a cabin information brochure that East Park Road approximates a 3-mile distance, as shower facilities for Cabin Area E are available at Cabin Area D. Cabin Area D is located near Parade Grounds, which is a 3-mile drive.
We double backed on East Park Road to the Parade Grounds. The Parade Grounds is where the First New York Dragoons and 136th New York Volunteer Infantry regiments trained before joining the Civil War. There are a couple Civil War markers and a cannon on the grounds.
Cannon at entrance to Parade Grounds
The Parade Grounds main use today is for picnics. There are bathroom facilities, a picnic pavilion, a playground and plenty of green space for a picnic.
Leaving the Parade Grounds we continued our drive to the Mount Morris entrance to Letchworth State Park. I mistakenly had Bob turn into the entrance road to Mount Morris Dam and Visitor Center, thinking it was the entrance to Letchworth State Park. Realizing my mistake, I asked Bob to continue on the road to the Visitor Center. We had never been on this side of the Mount Morris Dam, having seen it only while driving through Letchworth State Park. Before reaching the visitor center there was a pull off for the Hogsback Overlook.
(along Visitor Center Road leading to Mount Morris Dam)
At this overlook there is parking for the Letchworth Trail, which is part of the Finger Lakes Trail system. After taking a few pictures at the overlook, we continued our drive to Mount Morris Dam.
Mount Morris Dam
Mount Morris Dam is the largest dry bed dam east of the Mississippi River.
See the people standing at the overlook on the other side of the dam? That is the only location from which Bob and I had seen Mount Morris Dam. It was nice to view the dam from another vantage point. Free ranger-guided walking tours inside the dam are available at specific times for a limited number of people. The next tour would not happen for another couple hours on the day we visited Mount Morris Dam. Some other day we are up this way, I would like to go on a tour of the dam.
We entered Letchworth State Park via the Mount Morris entrance at approximately 12:30 pm. We stopped at the Mount Morris Dam Overlook but did not look at the view. We went into the gift store and purchased a bottle of water. We really need to carry water with us. That 20 fluid ounce bottle of water sold for an exorbitant price of $2.75!
We stopped at only three more overlooks, before exiting the park.
This overlook was just before the Great Bend Overlook.
Great Bend Overlook
We saw a sign, as we approached the Castile exit that informed us of congestion ahead, that this was the last exit to avoid the congestion. Traffic was at a standstill at the Castile entrance, continuing on into the park. We exited the park at Castile, not wanting to put up with the crowds. As we exited, we saw a long line at the gate for people wanting to enter the park. I am glad we didn’t have to pay entrance fee. We used our Empire Passport for entrance.
We stopped for ice cream at a fuel station not far from the Castile entrance. I mentioned how crowded it was at Letchworth State Park and wondered if there was a special event at the park. There was no event at the park. Everyone just wanted to see the Autumn leaves, same as Bob and me. This fuel station, by the way, had custard soft serve vanilla and chocolate ice cream in addition to hard ice cream. We ordered two twist custard ice creams in a cup….delicious!
We decided to stop at Allegany State Park on our way home. I think this is the first time that we have visited both Allegany State Park and Letchworth State Park on the same day.
We entered Allegany State Park at 2:45 pm. Autumn colors seemed much more prevalent at Allegany State Park than at Letchworth State Park.
Allegany State Park dressed for Autumn
Allegany State Park Autumn colors
Our second and last stop in Allegany State Park was at the Red House Area Wetlands Boardwalk.
We followed the wetlands boardwalk to this bird blind.
We didn’t see any wildlife through the blind.
Another part of the boardwalk features an observation platform extending into the wetlands.
The view looking across the wetlands was colorful, but we didn’t see any wildlife.
Finally, I found wildlife to photograph….
A dragonfly was the only wildlife that we spotted, while at the Red House Wetlands area.
Leaving the Red House Area we followed ASP 1 to ASP 2 to ASP 3 and exited the park at Bradford. So, our visit to the Allegany State Park was basically a drive through.
On our way home we stopped at ShurFine in Warren, where we picked up side dishes to go with hamburgers and hot dogs. We also bought a small pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Bob burned wood in our back yard fire ring and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs over it.
What a wonderful day we had, even though we deviated from our original plans.