TRAIL UPDATE:

The three cuddle cocoons at the top of the Sunshine Slope are out of service for improvements. Updates on their return will follow!

Visiting the Autism Nature Trail

The ANT entrance is halfway up the sidewalk from the parking lot toward the Humphrey Nature Center. The Trail is one mile long with 38 stone markers (“vertical ants”) visible at all times.

The ANT begins and ends at the same location—a timber frame structure called the Trailhead Pavilion on the way in and the Celebration Station on the way out.

Visitors are welcome for self-guided hikes anytime the park is open. Programming with trained staff from Camp Puzzle Peace occurs at scheduled times. Check the Calendar for dates and links to resources.

Hours of Operation

The ANT is located inside Letchworth State Park and follows the hours of operation for the park itself.

Trail Map

The ANT is designed as a series of accessible and safe outdoor spaces in nature, yet far from the distractions and often overwhelming stimuli of everyday outside life.

Explore the Trail

Things to see & do

The ANT is a one-mile looped main Trail with eight stations at various intervals, offering a range of experiences from quiet engagement to active exploration and adventure.

Explore the Activity Stations

What's on the Calendar

Saturday–Sunday

October 1–2

Leaf Identification

Saturday–Sunday

October 8–9

Crazy for Conifers

Saturday–Sunday

October 15–16

Changing Leaf Colors

Back to top back to top

Safety

Coronavirus

Please plan to follow public health guidelines that may apply for outdoor experiences at the time of your visit.

Cell phone coverage

There is very limited cell service on The Trail. Please do not rely on this to support your hike and ANT experience.

Hospitals

Dansville/UR Medicine Noyes Health
34 min away (23 miles)
111 Clara Barton St, Dansville
NY 14437
Tel: (585) 335-6001

Warsaw/Wyoming County Community Health System
26 min away (17 miles)
400 N Main St, Warsaw
NY 14569
Tel: (585) 786-2233

Emergency contacts

In case of any emergency, dial 911 or ask any Park staff person to contact Park Police.

Back to top back to top
Google Map

How to find The ANT

By Car

The most direct way to get to The ANT is by coming to Letchworth State Park’s Castile entrance which is open year round.

Once at the Castile entrance, take a right and travel a little over a mile.

Turn at the sign on the right.

How long is the trip?

Buffalo: 1 hr and 22 min
Rochester: 1 hr and 7 min
Syracuse: 2 hrs and 40 min
Corning: 1 hr and 18 min
Erie, PA: 2 hrs and 50 min
Toronto, ON: 2 hrs and 50 min
Pittsburgh, PA: 4 hrs and 8 min

View on Google Maps

What to bring & wear

Please bring water, bug spray and a large trash bag (Letchworth is a carry in, carry out park. There are no trash cans). You also may want to bring sunscreen, although much of the Trail is shaded. It is best practice to dress in layers when hiking and always wear socks and a shoes that are closed toed and comfortable.

Group visits

Reservations for group visits are NOT required. If you have questions that are not answered here about planning or visiting, you are welcome to send them via email from the Contact page. Your message will be delivered to Brittany Johnson, Autism Nature Trail Destination Coordinator and teacher.

Back to top back to top

Facilities

The Trail is a flat hike on a stone dust surface. The Trail is ADA compliant and generally suitable for wheelchairs. Weather conditions do impact the trail surface.

Restrooms

There are restrooms located in both the Humphrey Nature Center and Trailside Lodge. The Nature Center facilities have handicap stalls, and a baby/small child changing area.

Food & Drink

While there are no picnic facilities along The ANT, many picnic tables are located throughout Letchworth. Pack a lunch and enjoy your stay in this beautiful park! Please remember that Letchworth is a carry in/carry out park; that is, there are no garbage cans. What you bring into the park must leave with you, so bring a large garbage bag. There are no vending machines and any objects you see in the park such as painted rocks or pinecones must stay in the park. There are concession stands and seasonal eateries around the park as well.

Parking

Follow the sign into a large parking lot for The ANT, the Humphrey Nature Center and Trailside Lodge. Handicap parking spots are to the far right.

Electric Vehicle Charging

At the Park Visitors Center (between the Castile entrance and The ANT parking lot), there is a single electric car charging station with two plugs. To use it, drivers must have the EV Connect app on their cell phones.

Back to top back to top

Accessibility

The trail is ADA compliant.

Trail Conditions

The main Trail surface is stone dust and is generally suitable for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. The paths into and around the stations are engineered wood fiber mulch—also ADA-compliant. Please note that weather (rain, snow) may adversely impact Trail conditions on a short-term basis (wet, debris). If you have questions about trail conditions and accessibility, please email us.

Restrooms

There are restrooms located in both the Humphrey Nature Center and Trailside Lodge. The Nature Center facilities have handicap stalls and a baby/small child diaper changing area.

Support dogs & other animals

Leashed pets are welcome at Letchworth, but please pick up after them. Please be considerate of our visitors who may be fearful of even well-behaved pets. Only service dogs are allowed inside the Humphrey Nature center.

Back to top back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The trail is 1 mile long. It is a flat hike on a stone dust surface. We strongly encourage families to keep the experience positive and if at first you can only do half the Trail, that is great—but each time try for a bit more.

  • There are social stories and picture schedules that can help you prepare and put some structure to a visit or hike in the Resources section of this website which can be used for any visit. It is important to start preparing for a visit with enough time to read the social story and/or review the materials prepared by Camp Puzzle Peace a number of times before your visit. You can download materials as needed. Materials will also be available at the Trail (laminated and sanitized) for families to borrow during staffed programs.

  • There is no cost to visit The ANT. Letchworth State Park charges $10 per vehicle to enter the park between the hours of 9 am and 5pm from the second week in May through the last weekend in October.

    There are some ways to enjoy Letchworth State Park at no cost:

    • Check with a local library to sign out an Empire Pass using a library card, or purchase your own annual Empire Pass.
    • Residents of NYS with a disability can apply for an Individual Access Pass
    • Members of the New York State National Guard or Reserves who are currently serving on active duty in support of the war on terrorism are eligible for one free Empire Pass Card for use by his or her immediate family during deployment and/or for his or her own use when returning home. The member must be a New York State resident.
  • Always check the website prior to a visit to make sure that the Trail is open. Remember, The weather at Letchworth can be very different from conditions only a few miles away. Unless there is weather that is dangerous, the Trail will remain open. Once on the Trail, if weather should approach that is dangerous, the Trail staff will clear the Trail until any danger passes.

  • In case of an emergency during a program or event, Camp Puzzle Peace (CPP) staff will work to clear the Trail and allow for medical professionals or behavioral professionals to secure the safety of visitors and then resume regular operations. CPP staff are directly connected to the NYS Parks dispatch, Park Police and Rangers to work together to ensure the safety of all visitors.

  • Camp Puzzle Peace staff will be at the Trailhead Pavilion, not far from the parking lot. They will be expecting you and waiting for your arrival. They will be wearing a uniform so that you can identify them.

  • Go to the Calendar, and follow the links for the event you are interested in to learn more or sign up with Camp Puzzle Peace, if sign up is needed.

  • If you or someone in your family is worried or anxious about visiting the Trail, please consider coming on a day when an event or program is scheduled with Camp Puzzle Peace. If your child is resistant to going but this is something you would like to do for a family experience, we can help. Email us about Support & Accessibility if you have questions.

  • Some individuals need to have a great deal of praise and encouragement to be able to participate and try something new. They may be fearful and require a checklist or schedule to help them through their first visit. When trying something new, some people may become dysregulated and need support to regulate. We are able to provide supports to the individual and family to help make the experience positive.

  • The trail staff consist of Camp Puzzle Peace employees that have been trained in Wilderness First Aid and Anaphylaxis Certified through Allergy Advocates Associates (all training in effect by 5/22). Staff that will be leading programs and events are certified Special Education, Related Services Provider or masters level students in these areas of study.

  • There is a “cut through” at the 0.5 mile mark that will bring you directly back to the start of the trail and the Humphrey Nature Center.

  • In the event that your child needs assistance on the trail please alert Camp Puzzle Peace staff and they will work to assist you to help your child to get off of the trail.

  • Camp Puzzle Peace staff will be on hand to encourage hikers. If a child comes to the Trail and feels they don’t want to participate we encourage families to set a small goal. The goal may be getting in the car to see it the first time. The next time may be going to the Trailhead Pavilion. Each step should be celebrated as a success.

  • Camp Puzzle Peace staff regularly work with children with a wide range of communication styles – including verbal, ASL, gestures and communication devices. Communication boards will be available for families to use for a low tech form of communication for needs and wants and to support the theme for the trail that day.

  • Yes! The Trail is open to everyone. It is an inclusive environment.

  • No! All are welcome.

  • Before or after your visit to the ANT, feel free to visit any of the other trails the park has to offer. The upper, middle, and lower falls are gorgeous to see at any time of the year. The Glen Iris offers an upscale dining experience with a perfect view of the falls. Also be sure to check out the Letchworth State Park website for special events that might be happening during your visit.

  • Yes, social stories and other resources are available for families to access prior to visiting. We strongly encourage the use of these tools. They can greatly decrease stress for individuals with anxiety related to new environments.

Back to top back to top

Emergency contacts

In case of any emergency, dial 911 or ask any Park staff person to contact Park Police.

Resources

Social stories, picture schedules, first/then boards, and more are available to help prepare for a trip to The ANT. These resources and more information from Camp Puzzle Peace are available to help make a great experience for everyone.

Resources

News from The ANT

News from The ANT

Get news and updates from the Autism Nature Trail delivered via email.

Donate

Support The ANT

Please consider a donation or contact us about sponsorship.