Tom Erlandson Overview Park in Frewsburg: Chautauqua County Day Trip
Chautauqua County, New York has spectacular scenery. There are many rolling hills, and the Tom Erlandson Overview Park offers the second-highest point in the county to observe the deeply wooded hills from May through November. The park is open from 8:30am-dusk, and is entirely free to use. While the park is "officially" open in May-November, many people use the park for winter activities, such as snowshoeing.
Tom Erlandson Overview Park is dedicated to workers who were killed in Chautauqua County. A commemorative plaque is displayed near the picnic pavilion.
The Tom Erlandson Overview Park offers a large, shaded picnic pavilion. Several picnic tables are scattered near the main pavilion for people who would like to have lunch in the sun. Grills and water are available, making the park an excellent choice for a lunch hike. Pit toilets are available in a building near the hiking trail. Two large platforms for viewing wildlife and the undulating hills of Western New York are available, and children find great pleasure in running to and from each platform. Pets are welcome, but must remain on a leash while on the park grounds. Horseback riding is prohibited on the trails, as are all motorized vehicles. Mountain bikes are allowed on the trails in the park.
The Tom Erlandson Overview Park is located on Oak Hill Road in the town of Carroll (near Frewsburg), in Chautauqua County, New York. Drive to the end of Oak Hill Road, and turn into the parking lot by the park sign and entrance.
From Jamestown, take the 60 South until it becomes Foote Avenue. Continue on Foote Avenue until it becomes Highway 62 (Main St. in Frewsburg). Enter the village of Frewsburg and turn right on Oak Hill Road. Follow Oak Hill Road until it nearly comes to an end (the driver will pass Church Cross Rd on the way - it is a long drive on Oak Hill Road). At the fork in the road (junction of Dennison Rd and Oak Hill Rd), veer right and remain on Oak Hill Rd. The park entrance and sign will appear shortly after this split in the road.
The Tom Erlandson Overview Park has a lovely 1.2 mile long hiking trail through the woods. A clear trail is marked by light blue blazes and occasional direction signs. This trail is easy enough to be hiked with young children, though the rolling hills may tire some small toddlers. Footbridges are in several places where the trail crosses small streams and creeks. Benches are tucked away in several locations along the trail, a welcome resting place for those with tired feet or small babies in front carriers!
Hiking, snowshoeing (off-season), and mountain biking are all allowed on the Tom Erlandson trail in Chautauqua County.
Beautiful Flora and Fungi
For mycophiles, the Tom Erlandson Overview Park offers a spectacular array of fungi. Nearly all are poisonous, but mushrooms in every size and color can be found along the trail. Bright red and yellow hygrocybes grow along the trail edges, and delicate Indian Pipe mushrooms flourish in the wooded areas. It was a pleasant surprise to find such a beautiful variety along the trail in July!
This often-overlooked park is an excellent place to fly kites, let children expend energy, and to explore the woods on a short, well maintained trail. For visitors to the Chautauqua Institute, it offers a quiet respite a short distance from the resort.