We have provided a variety of supports that families can use to help them be successful on the trail. Using social stories, picture schedules and first/then boards reduces anxiety for many kids and provides structure to an activity that may be less structured.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Trail?
The trail is 1 mile in length. 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.
How do I prepare my child for a trip to the Trail?
On the website we have some tools to help families. We have social stories, first/ then boards and picture schedules that may help to put some structure to the hike. It is important to start preparing for your 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 hike. Parents can download materials as needed but we will also have materials at the trail that will be laminated and sanitized for families to borrow.
Is the Trail handicap accessible?
The trail is ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible.
Is the cell service reliable on the trail?
There is very limited cell service on the Trail. Please do not rely on this to support your hike and ANT experience
How do I get there? How Long is the trip?
- Buffalo, NY- 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 30 min
- Toronto, ON - 2 hrs and 50 min
- Pittsburgh, PA - 4 hrs and 8 min
The most direct way to get to The ANT is by coming to Letchworth State Park’s Castile entrance which is open year round. One at the Castile entrance, take a right and travel a little over a mile. Turn at the Humphrey Nature Center Sign on the right.
What should we wear?
It is best to wear sneakers or closed toe shoes when hiking. Also make sure to dress in layers as the weather can be unpredictable. Wearing light colors is always best practice when hiking also. Cotton tends to hold the moisture more so on a warm day try a fabric that is more moisture wicking.
Can we bring food?
Yes! 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 pinecone must stay in the park.
Can we bring pets?
pets are welcome at Letchworth, but please pick up after them. Only service dogs are allowed inside the Humphrey Nature center
Where does the Trail start?
The Trail starts just to the left of the Humphrey Nature Center in Letchworth State Park. A large stone sign is visible from the parking lot.
Where should I park?
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.
Is there a cost?
There is no cost to hike The ANT. Letchworth State Park charges $10 per vehicle 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 your local library to sign out an Empire Pass using your library card - or you can purchase your own annual Empire Pass. For more information visit: https://parks.ny.gov/admission/empire-passport/
- Residents of NYS with a disability can apply for an Individual Access Pass. For more information visit: https://parks.ny.gov/admission/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. For more information visit: https://parks.ny.gov/admission/patriot-plan-benefit/.
Where are the nearest restrooms?
There are restrooms located in both the Humphrey Nature Center and Trailside Lodge. The Nature Center facilities have handicap stalls, a baby changing area and lots of room for changing an adult or older child.
What should I bring for a day on the Trail?
When coming to the Trail please bring water and bug spray. 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 shoe that is closed toed and comfortable.
What if it rains or snows?
Always check the website prior to a visit to make sure that the Trail is open. Remember, Letchworth’s weather 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 the danger passes.
What if there is an emergency?
In case of an emergency the CPP staff will work to clear the Trail and allow for medical professionals or behavioral professionals to secure the safety of the individual and then resume with the regular operations. The CPP staff are directly connected to the NYS Parks dispatch, Park Police and Rangers to work together to ensure the safety of all visitors.
Where is the nearest hospital?
Dansville Hospital is 34 min away (23 miles)
Warsaw Hospital is 26 min away (17 miles)
Where do we meet staff for a supported hike or programs?
The CPP 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.
How do we sign up for a supported hike?
Please go to the CPP link for programming and use the link to register your family or yourself for a supported hike. Complete the few questions and you will be registered!
How do we know if we need a supported hike?
If you or someone in your family is worried or anxious about going on the hike, then please register for a supported hike experience. If your child is resistant to going but this is something you would like to do for a family experience, we can help with that, also. Register with CPP and provide your contact info and we will be ready to help you. We’ve got this!
What does a supported hike look like?
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.
Who are the trail staff?
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 the supported hikes are certified Special Education, Related Services Provider or masters level students in these areas of study.
What if my child can’t make it all the way?
On the trail there is a “cut through” at the .5 mile mark that will bring hikers directly back to the start of the trail and the Humphrey Nature Center.
What if my child has a meltdown on the trail? What if we need to escape the Trail?
In the event that your child needs assistance on the trail please alert trail staff and they will work to assist you to help your child to get off of the trail.
What if my child refuses to participate?
The Camp Puzzle Peace staff will be on hand to try and encourage hikers. If a child comes to the trail and feels as if 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 time should be celebrated as a success.
What if my child is non-verbal or uses alternate methods of communication?
The Camp Puzzle Peace staff is used to working with children with a wide range of communication styles from 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.
If my child doesn’t have Autism can we still participate in programs?
Yes!! The trail is open to everyone. It is an inclusive environment.
Are there any age requirements or limits to the trail or programs?
What other things are there to see and do in Letchworth Park?
Before or after your hike at 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 a high scale 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.
Can I see pictures or videos of the Trail to prepare my child?
Yes, social stories and a video hike will be available for families to access prior to the hike. We strongly encourage the use of these tools as they can greatly decrease stress for individuals with anxiety related to new environments.