Snowmobiling at Letchworth State Park by Kevin Kretschmer of Adventure Call Outfitters
|The view from Archery Field Overlook.|
I have spent a good part of the past 37 years at Letchworth State Park, first as an employee of "Adventure Calls Rafting" and then as the owner of "Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.". Off and on during all this time I have dreamed of enjoying the serenity and beauty of the park in the winter via a snowmobile. After reading several long range forecasts calling for a colder and snowier winter for this region I finally decided earlier this fall that the time for dreaming was over, and made it a reality.
The winter recreation area is located at the South end of the park, accessed via the Castile Entrance. Here, not only will you find the "Humphrey Nature Center", which is open year-round, but also the tubing hill and "Trailside Lodge", which has bathroom facilities and is a great place to warm up after a few hours of fun wintertime activities. The parking lot is quite large, with plenty of space for tow vehicles and trailers while still leaving ample room for others coming to use the tubing hill or to cross country ski / snow shoe to park their cars and trucks as well.
|Follow the signs to Trailside Lodge.|
|Warm up by the roaring fire inside!|
Despite some promising snowfall in early December that allowed me to take a few laps around the yard, I spent most of the warmer than usual January walking past my "new to me" purchase as it sat on a trailer in our yard wondering if I would ever get to really ride it this winter. Finally, the weather turned this past week and thanks to the snowfall on Thursday and Friday the news came that I had been waiting for; the snowmobile trails at Letchworth State Park; would be open as of Saturday (02/08/20) AM. HUUZAH!!
We arrived at the park late Sunday morning with temps in the mid-20's, mostly sunny skies, and no wind to speak of. After putting on all of our snowmobile gear and unloading the sled the moment I had waited years for had finally arrived. To say I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning would be an understatement.
Sunday morning's ride was idyllic, to say the least. We couldn't have asked for a better day to experience the park. Near perfect weather and the trail conditions were close to ideal, freshly groomed powder over a packed 6" base, most of which runs along the closed portion of the main park road. Better still, although we would see small groups of other riders from time to time, we generally had the trail to ourselves for the two hours we rode.
|The view to the South, from"Great Bend Overlook".|
|Such beauty, eveyrwhere you look!|
Our ride on Sunday was more about enjoying some of the winter splendor of the park rather than logging alot of miles. We traveled along the main road as far as the original North entrance (DeGoyler Road) and then turned around, stopping at each of the overlooks along the way to take in the beauty of our surroundings.
|The view upstream from "Tea Table Overlook"|
The Wolf Creek picnic area has long been one of my wife Krista''s favorite places to enjoy nature and take photographs during the spring, summer, and fall so seeing it as a snow covered landscape was a real treat for her. As an added bonus, this was the very first time we'd ever had the whole area just to ourselves.
|This is definitely a "thumbs up" place to be!|
|Our view of the iconic Wolf Creek stone bridge in winter.|
After spending some time here we headed back towards Trailside Lodge to ride the trail from there out of the park.
Unlike the actual road we had just been riding on, upon heading Southwest from the parking lot this section of the trail was far more like what one would expect. Trail 2A or the "Hemlock Trail" winds up and down over the terrain through a very peaceful wooded section of the park until it exits the park and we came to a farmer's field. At this point we were riding on Snowmobile Trail C3, which is maintained by one of areas local snowmobile clubs, the Oatka Valley Snowmobile Association. We spent a few minutes in the open space, just to take in the peace and quiet of the moment and then headed back to Trailside to load up the sled and call it a day.
|Trail C3 heading West out of the park.|
|Trail C3 as it enters the South end of Letchworth State Park.|
|Back on the trailer, awaiting our next adventure!|
On a scale of 1 to 10 our first snowmobile ride at Letchworth State Park was definitely a 10. The weather was perfect, the trails were in great shape for riding, and there were no mechanical issues during our ride. The day I had hoped for turned out exactly as I imagined and it will be a memory I will cherish for some time.
|An Awesome Day!!|
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