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60 miles E from Buffalo; 35 miles S of Rochester

While claims like "The Grand Canyon of the East" tend to invite more than a little skepticism, Letchworth comes closer to living up to this than any of its competition. One of the most magnificent scenic areas in the eastern U.S., this narrow strip of lush woodlands straddling the Genesee River is a destination unto itself. The roaring water cuts a winding gorge through the park's 14,350 acres, breaking into all sorts of waterfalls along the way. A drive through the park will bring you near the action, but with 66 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty of ways to get even closer. The most dramatic scenery -- wonderfully dense forest and cliffs as high as 600 feet -- can be found in the southern part of the park; up north, the land flattens out as you approach farm country. Of course, wildlife is abundant throughout the park -- look for beavers, deer, eagles, hawks, river otters, and birds galore.