The beautiful hills and valleys of Cattaraugus County are home to a plethora of activities that invite you to enjoy a summer’s day (or two) with your friends and family. The Enchanted Mountains boast plenty of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, shopping along the Amish Trail, motorcycling, and exploring local heritage.
One of the area’s most favored outdoor playgrounds is Griffis Sculpture Park in Ashford Hollow, NY. Voted as the No. #1 Hidden Gem in Western New York by AAA, Griffis Sculpture Park encourages visitors to explore its 400 acres - climb on, meander around, hang from, crawl in, lay across, sit next to or just stare in awe at the larger-than-life sculptures scattered throughout the park. Plan to spend the whole day exploring both areas of the park: the Mill Valley area will lead from the parking lot, through a trail in the woods, which eventually opens up to a field full of gigantic sculptures. Pass by the ladies of the lake, follow the spiral staircase to the top of the castle, or climb in the submarine. You can then continue on hiking the trails through the upper sections of the woods to view even more sculptures, or drive up to Rohr Hill area. Here you will be greeted by giant Kings and Queens, as well as large animals in the forest. Feel what it's like to place your head in the giant turtle's mouth or jump on the back of the snake. Join in for Slyfest 9, a 3-day camping extravaganza featuring live music, art installations, workshops, YOGA, swimming and even a hot air balloon. Slyfest 9 will take place at Griffis Sculpture Park Aug. 8-10 and is an inspiring celebration of music, dance and art! Phone 716-667-2808, www.griffispark.org
Rock City Park in Olean, NY has been amazing visitors since 1890! Another one of Cattaraugus County’s "gems," this prehistoric ocean floor is the world’s largest exposure of quartz conglomerate. The park offers plenty to do as you hike the trails, climb on the rocks, pose by the Balancing Rock, smell the Mountain Laurel, look for Big Foot, and squeeze through the crevices. Visitors should also be sure to check out the expanded museum, souvenir and rock shop, virtual video room, and florescent rock room. There are picnic areas and grills, modern public restrooms and parking is free! Phone 716-372-7790, www.rockcitypark.com
Salamanca is the only city in America that is almost totally located on Tribal Territory. Learn about the astonishing culture and traditions of this area while visiting the Seneca-Iroquois Museum or see Native American cultural art forms and what inspires the Haudenosaunee artists by visiting the Native Roots Artists Guild at one of their events. Purchase these art forms or other Native American Items throughout different shops in town, including Hampshire Mills and the Gift Shop at the Seneca Allegany Casino. The Casino also features daily entertainment and delicious options for a meal, including the Western Door Steakhouse, Patria for fine Italian cuisine, and the ever popular Thunder Mountain Buffet. For the best in entertainment including world famous musicians, comedians, and the hottest games in the region, check out the casino’s entertainment schedule at www.senecaalleganycasinocom. Sneak peek: coming in August are the Budweiser Clydesdales (Aug. 6, FREE!), Larry the Cable Guy (Aug. 16), Martina McBride (Aug. 22), and ZZ Top with Jeff Beck (Aug. 29). Tickets to all performances at the casino can be purchased through Ticketmaster or directly from the casino’s website.
To learn more about these "Hidden Gems" and others including the Onoville Marina, New York's Amish Trail, and the historic town of Franklinville, visit EnchantedMountains.com. For a FREE Activities Guide call 1-800-331-0543.