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Hiking Trails at
Letchworth State Park

Trail #6

Portage Trail


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The Portage Trail at Letchworth State Park is the the trail that connects the eastern (wild) side of the park to the more developed western side of the park when used with the Footbridge Trail. The trail follows the eastern cliff edge of the Genesee River Gorge upstream from Lower Falls. The trail was used many years ago to portage canoes to miss the three major falls in the gorge.

The Portage Trail is on the eastern side of Letchworth Park, which is the side of the park that is FREE to enter. The trailhead parking area is located near the Parade Grounds at a small parking area that overlooks the gorge. The GPS coordinates are N42 35.076 W78 01.581 for those who have a GPS devise. The sign at the trailhead states that the Portage Trail is easy. It is easy. The trail ends at the Footbridge Trail, which is the trail that descends into the gorge to take you over the Genesee River. The grades are not bad at all, however you will have to climb back up from the river.

From the parking area follow the well worn path into the woods along the rim of the gorge past the trail sign. The trail follows faded blazes that are on some trees. The trail is worn enough where you won't need the blazes for the most part. The trail gradually descends and will eventually swing away from the park road. There are views through the trees of the Genesee River below as well as the top of Lower Falls. You might see visitors on the eastern side checking out Lower Falls from a grassy overlook across the river.

Eventually the trail will enter an open area that is very boggy and wet. The original trail goes left through the mud, however most everyone now goes right over boulders toward an old service road. At the junction of the service road is actually the end of the Portage Trail. Turn left at the old service road if you are planning to head to the footbridge over the Genesee River. As the old road descends you'll see the junction of the original Portage Trail on the left. You might be able to notice the stonework that the CCC did on the trail when they built it in the 1930s.


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