Whether fall, winter, spring or summer, Allegany State Park is always a nearby outdoor opportunity worth exploring.
Less than 30 miles east of downtown Jamestown awaits more than 65,000 acres of state park land, which features approximately 79 miles of maintained hiking trails, 91 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 26 miles of groomed cross country trails and 45 miles of equestrian trails. It is the largest state park in New York.
According to Gary Quattrone, park manager III for Allegany region, there are so many aspects of the park, and things to do year-round. But, in particular, the fall is a nice season for families to enjoy some quality rest and relaxation time at Allegany State Park, Quattrone said.
Visitors are shown hiking at the Thunder Rocks area of Allegany State Park. Pictured below is a family fishing at the Red House pier area and a snowmobiler on a park trail.
Photos by Tom Livak
"It's a little slower paced, and the fall foliage is amazing - you're not going to see it anywhere else," Quattrone said. "During the summer we've got the hustle and bustle everyday, so it's kind of nice to get back to nature, and really enjoy the fall colors."
Visitors will enjoy vibrant hues of yellows, reds, oranges, greens and browns, all complimented by spectacular views from vistas.
"It's just breathtaking," Quattrone said. "Right now if you go walk the Art Roscoe Ski Touring area, which is also a mountain biking trail, you'll find the Christian Hollow Overlook that is just amazing. And, right behind our administration building (Red House) you'll find Red Jacket trail, which overlooks the old abandoned ski jump area and is a nice vista. Just going around Thunder Rocks at this point is really kind of cool."
One aspect of the park that Quattrone said he feels people don't really know about, but that they really should, is Bridal Falls. The area is just a short walk from the campgrounds in Red House, and depending on how much rain the area has had, adventurers may find a waterfall.
"It's really beautiful and is nice to see, but in order for it to be running we would have to have had a lot of rain," Quattrone said. "It's getting to be more known, but it has been a little secret that's been there for many years."
Those looking to stay at the park, which is open year round and offers heated cabin lodging through the winter season, will have access to the largest number of cabins, nearly 400, in the state system, Quattrone said. However, some of the cabins are summer-only rentals. But, there are still 130 cabins available year-round in the Red House area, as well as 40 cabins and a number of cottages in the Quaker area. New this year is group camp 5, which has been winterized, and is a prime place for snowmobile groups or family reunions.
Designated camping areas, of which there are about 160 sites in the Cane Hollow area that are available until Columbus Day weekend, and 130 sites in the Red House area will remain open until November. Registration is required for backpackers who plan on camping on trails such as the North Country Trail, which includes several lean-tos. To reserve a cabin or camp site, call 800-456-camp or visit reserveamerica.com.
"Why I think Allegany State Park is one of the best places to visit is because it's right in your backyard, and people tend to forget what's in their backyard," Quattrone said. "They always think they got to get in the car and go far way to get away, but you can come to Allegany, leave everything behind and feel like you've really traveled a long way."
In addition to the everyday outdoor opportunities found at Allegany State Park, area residents are also invited to several events, including: Pain in the Alleganies, a half iron distance triathlon set for Sunday, paininthealleganies.com; and National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 28, publiclandsday.org. More information can be found at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website, nysparks.com/regions.
For more information call 354-9101 or visit www.facebook.com/alleganystatepark.