Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park is a whimsical, fantastical, delightful art park in bucolic Cattaraugus County, roughly nine miles north of Ellicottville. There are over 250 large-scale sculptures integrated into the natural landscape. Some are in the open meadows, while others are tucked into the woodlands.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

According to the website, “Since the early 60’s, the steel sculptures of Larry Griffis, Jr. and other international artists have been residing in the woods, fields, and even ponds of Griffis Sculpture Park. The 450-acre Ashford Hollow park, located eight miles outside of Ellicottville, is not only a tremendous regional attraction, but holds the distinction of being one of America’s largest and oldest sculpture parks.”

Griffis Sculpture Park is divided into two sections: the Rohr Hill Road site and the Mill Valley Road site.

Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park roadside statue
Griffis Sculpture park roadside
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park roadside wedding
Griffis Sculpture Park roadside birds
Griffis Sculpture Park Rohr Hill

Rohr Hill Road Site

Sculptures similar to those pictured can be found on either side of Rohr Hill Road and are accessible by car when the roads are safe to drive on.

Although this location is technically a part of the Griffis Sculpture Park, it’s important to note that there are no restrooms or other amenities available here. Instead, it’s more like a roadside attraction, and you may stumble upon it while driving to the main site on Mill Road. Nonetheless, it’s a fun spot to discover by accident and enjoy the moment.

The fall foliage offers an exceptional view, attracting many visitors who stop to take pictures.

Get directions to Rohr Hill Road.

Griffis Sculpture Park entrance
Griffis Sculpture Park Information Booth

Mill Valley Road Site

Mill Valley Road is the official park with a parking lot, a port-a-potty, and an information booth.

This site is open from May 1 to October 31. The trails can be closed during heavy rains even within the open season because of excessive mud.

Although it may seem easy, there are certain places where a sturdy pair of hiking shoes can be very helpful. Some of the trails consist of gravel or grass paths, while others involve rocky and muddy climbs through the woods.

You could spend a leisurely half-hour in the front part of the park, an aggressive hour seeing it all quickly, or two hours exploring every detail. My best advice is to start early in the morning.

This is a very rural setting, so plan on bringing your own water to keep hydrated, maybe a picnic lunch, and bug spray. The quirky nature of the metal and wood sculptures throughout makes it so enjoyable you almost forget the challenges of the walk itself.

The areas in the site include Trailhead, The Bathers, Insects, Amazons, Castle Tower, Griffis Family Heads, The Maze, and The Stage.

Griffis Sculpture Park entrance sculpture
Griffis Sculpture Park trail art
Griffis Sculpture Park trailhead art
Griffis Sculpture Park colorful

Trailhead

This trail serves as your introduction to Griffis Sculpture Park, connecting the parking lot with the pond area and featuring a few small-scale sculptures along the way.

Griffis Sculpture park bathers
Griffis Sculpture Park autumn
Griffis Sculpture Park open area
Griffis Sculpture park mushrooms

The Bathers

The meadow around the pond showcases sculptures of bathers and offers several opportunities for family and selfie photos.

From my research, I have come to understand that the ten statues were originally placed around the pond and designed to appear as if they were swimming in it. However, over time, they have deteriorated, resulting in some of them being broken and lying down on the grass. Despite the damage, I still find them captivating and spent a considerable amount of time trying to comprehend their beauty.

Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park trail marker
Griffis Sculpture Park insects trail

Insects

The statue of “David” greets visitors at the beginning of the trail, which links the meadow to the rest of the park. The trail is adorned with several sculptures, such as the impressive mosquito, but it may sometimes be closed after heavy rainfall. The hike is slightly uphill, but not too difficult if the trail is sturdy.

Griffis Sculpture Park upper

Beyond the Insects

Go along the trail to discover several female statues in the woodland. Then, proceed to the meadow. Once you explore some of the art around the hill, walk down the service road to the entrance. This way, you’ll avoid the muddy path.

During my next visit, I plan to walk down through the woods from the top of the park after taking the service road.

More information about Griffis Sculpture Park

Cost: Griffis Sculpture Park is officially open from May 1 through October 31. Admission is $5, cash, PayPal or Venmo. I believe the gift shop is also open on the weekends and may take credit cards. They have super cute shirts for sale.

Located in East Otto, roughly two hours / 110 miles from Rochester and nine miles north of Ellicottville (get directions)

For a scenic drive, I suggest heading to East Aurora, then down Mill Road, NY-240, and NY-219 into Ashford Hollow.
Map This Route

Find more information at griffispark.org. The further into the park you go, the easier it is to become lost. Stick to the trails, and go back the way you came when in doubt.

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Have you visited Griffis Sculpture Park?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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