By Alicia Dziak
Just because Columbus Day weekend has come and gone, doesn’t mean that the fun is over at Allegany State Park (ASP). Make your plans now to enjoy this year-round park.
Get out of the house and enjoy the Third Saturday Trek on Oct. 15. These treks have been held on the third Saturday of the month since April, and are led by park staff, members of the Allegany State Park Friends Group, or Historical Society members; each focuses on a different area of the park. Come test your park knowledge at the last trek of the year, during a nature/trivia hike around Red House Lake. Meet by the front doors of the Red House Administration Building at 10 a.m. This free program will last approximately two hours. Registration is not required. For more information, visit the Allegany State Park Facebook page or contact Katie Vecellio at (716) 354-9101 x236.
Didn’t get a chance to see the all-new Quaker Bathhouse this season? Now’s your chance! On Oct. 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., spend an evening listening to some great music by the fireside. Local musician Ken Hardley will be performing in what will be one of the last events for the season in the new lakeside room. The event is free and family-friendly. For more information, contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext. 236 or Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staying in the park
Tent, trailer or RV? The popular Red House Loops offer dozens of camp sites, all with electric hookups. Loop A offers easy accessibility to the paved bike path that leads around Red House Lake and to various other points of interest. Loops B and D are great for those camping in groups who want to be in the middle of all the action. Loops C and E offer more private sites, many of which back up to the woods. The sites will remain open through mid-November.
Over on Quaker, non-electric camp sites can be found on Diehl, and Cain Hollow offers many additional sites that are away from it all, some of which have electric hookups.
If cabins are more up your alley, there are many to choose from. On Red House, all cabin trails, with the exception of the Ryan Trail, are open year-round. Take your pick of full service cottages (Bova) to large three room cabins (Beehunter) to one-room style with built-ins (Congdon) and everything in between.
If you prefer the Quaker side of the park in the winter, only certain cabin trails (Angle, Diehl, Gypsy and Weller) offer year-round rentals. Full service cottages are also available on Parallel and Fancher trails, and Group Camp 5 is available year-round for groups.
Note that pets are only allowed in some of the full-service cottages; be sure to read all the info on each specific one before you reserve.
Minimum stay at in-park accommodations this time of year is two nights. For more info, or to reserve, visit www.reserveamerica.com.
The popular Park Restaurant, located inside the Red House Administration Building, will remain open for the season through mid-November. Save yourself time in the kitchen or over the campfire and head there for some delicious fare. The restaurant has a full menu with daily specials, and has a beautiful new patio that overlooks the lake. Stop in Friday evening for their famous fish fry, or check out the Sunday breakfast buffet, featuring an omelet station, breakfast meats, baked goods and more.
If you prefer to cook, but forgot that one ingredient, or even a foil pan to cook it in, the Red House General store will be open until the camp sites are.
And just what is there to do in the park this time of year? The better question is what isn’t there to do?
Hiking in the fall is breathtaking. Pick up a park map at either rental office, and select a trail that’s right for you. A variety of terrain and distances provide numerous opportunities for leisurely or more serious hikes.
For campers, shorter days translate into earlier nighttime activities. Driving around the park with a bright light is always a hit, and entails shining a spotlight (found at any sporting goods store) into open areas of the park in the hope of spying some nocturnal ASP critters. Now’s your chance to possibly see raccoons, deer, possums, skunks or even a bear.
Bring a kayak or canoe and explore the park’s three lakes. Or enjoy them from the shore with a fishing pole.
Check out some of the indoor places of interest inside the park, such as the Red House Administration Building and the Quaker Museum.
With the peak summer season behind us, fall is a great time to check out some of the most popular park destinations, like Thunder Rocks, the Stone Tower and the Bear Caves, while the crowds are smaller.
With 65,000 acres to explore, come see what ASP has to offer in the upcoming months and year-round!