I don’t know about you, but I have a huge itch to go hot air ballooning. Especially a couple weeks ago when I was visiting Letchworth State Park and witnessed the most beautiful hot air balloon route I’ve ever seen.
Ranked #5 in Fodor’s Travel’s 10 Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the US, Balloons Over Letchworth is probably one of the coolest hot air balloon rides you’ll ever take. Launching from their own launchpad field right beside the deep valley that holds the Genesee River with it’s amazing 20 waterfalls throughout the park, this hot air balloon company has exclusive ballooning rights to this park. The launchpad is also right besides the inn at the park, called the Glen Iris Inn.
Once your balloon is inflated and ready to go, you’ll hop in and immediately rise to go right over to the Middle Falls in the gorge. And I’m not saying you’ll be flying high above it – I’m saying you’ll dip right down in front of the waterfall, partway into the gorge. I’m sure that when you’re in the balloon basket, you feel the mist and water drops from that waterfall for sure; you’re that close. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, and I definitely want to experience it myself sometime soon!
During your time in the air, you’ll also go over the Upper Falls as well as the train trestle at the top of that. And it’s really high, so the balloon probably gets pretty close to it! As you float over Letchworth, don’t take your eyes off the beautiful sights below (and beside!) you. This is one of the most beautiful parks in the country; voted #1 in the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Best State Parks in the US. They call it the Grand Canyon of the East, and it really is amazing. The 3 main waterfalls; the Lower, Middle, and Upper, are big, and roaring, and awe-inducing.
This hot air balloon tour is a bucket-list item for sure, and a must-do for the Finger Lakes. The tours run from April to October, with September and October being the most popular because of the beautiful fall foliage. For more information, head over to the balloon company’s website, at balloonsoverletchworth.com.