The Best Places to Hike near Rochester, New York

Along one of the trails in Webster Park, New York
Along one of the trails in Webster Park

Rochester, New York is set in a rather idyllic place.  Close to the shore of Lake Ontario, an hour or so from the Finger Lakes, with lots of open space and urban conveniences, it’s not hard to get out on the trail.  Knowing this, the towns around the city have put in trails of their own – rails-to-trails, the canal path (actually, that’s mostly maintained by the state), green spaces, and so much more!

Along the Hojack Trail in Webster, New York
Along the Hojack Trail in Webster

With all of these trails, it’s hard to choose the “best” trails in a given area.  Everyone has their favorites, and you’re sure to miss out on at least one or two!  So I’ll stick to trails you can visit near Rochester (mostly on the East Side) and leave the Finger Lakes for another post.

Hiking on the Charlotte Pier in December, New York
Hiking on the Charlotte Pier in December

Best Hikes in and near Rochester, New York

In a pine forest in Webster Park, New York
In a pine forest in Webster Park

Webster Park

If you want views of Lake Ontario or a great out-in-the-woods experience, it’s hard to beat Webster Park.  This easy loop takes you to the fishing pier, while this moderate loop and this more difficult loop take hikers deep into the forests of pines and beach trees, complete with creeks, swamps (and bridges), and beautiful fall colors every year.

The boardwalk in Turning Point Park, Charlotte, New York
The boardwalk in Turning Point Park

Turning Point Park

If you don’t mind a bit of a trek (I usually bike it), the Genesee Riverway stretches from the very long pier in Charlotte and up the Genesee River.  Turning Point Park with is long boardwalk is a great place to go if you like birding or just want views of the river.

Waterfall in Corbett's Glen, New York
Waterfall in Corbett’s Glen

Corbett’s Glen

For a change of pace, check out the waterfalls at Corbett’s Glen in Penfield near Lindon Oaks.  A trail loops around the park for a nice, flat hike.

The path in Eastman Durand Park, New York
The path in Eastman Durand Park

Eastman Durand Park

There are a couple of trails in Eastman Durand Park, but the one I’m most familiar with is a section of the Irondequoit Lakeside Trail.  Take it from Seabreeze up and over to the lakeside portion of the park, and you’ll get a true workout – one of the best places for training for hiking mountains in the Rochester Area!

Small pond at the Kent Park Arboretum, Webster, New York
Small pond at the Kent Park Arboretum

Kent Park Arboretum

The Kent Park Arboretum, itself, is worth a stop in the summer and fall.  Volunteers keep the beds beautifully blooming with roses, dahlias, rare trees, and so much more.  Beyond the arboretum, trails wander through the woods.

Rail cars at Rochester Junction, Lehigh Valley Trail, New York
Rail cars at Rochester Junction

Lehigh Valley Trail

My favorite part of the Lehigh Valley Trail is around Rochester Junction.  The park has a few old train cars and relics of the bygone train era.  Across the road is an old trestle to walk across.  But if you want to go further, there are miles of dry trail amongst the swamps and above Honeoye Creek – all the way to the Genesee River if you want.

The trail along the creek in Philbrick Park, Penfield, New York
The trail along the creek in Philbrick Park

Channing H. Philbrick Park

If all you want is a nice walk beside a stream, look no further than Channing H. Philbrick Park. in Penfield.  The trail up along the stream is charming, and there are other trails to choose from, as well – some of which make for a great workout.

The Erie Canal near Fairport, New York
The Erie Canal near Fairport

Erie Canal Path

The Erie Canal Path makes a great, accessible, flat walk along the water.  During the summer, you can watch boats of many sizes out for a paddle or cruise on the Erie Canal.  Much of the section through Rochester is paved, though it becomes gravel as you leave the city/Fairport.  I’ve done Genesee Valley Park eastward as well as Meridian Center Park westward (post coming soon!)

Irondequoit Bay from Abraham Lincoln Park, New York
Irondequoit Bay from Abraham Lincoln Park

Abraham Lincoln Park

If you really want to train for hiking – say, for the Grand Canyon or for real mountains – you definitely need to check out Abraham Lincoln Park on the east side of Irondequoit Bay.  The trails take you uphill and over dale and generally are a workout no matter which one you choose!

Honorable Mentions: Irondequoit Bay Park West, Gosnell-Whiting Road Nature Preserve/Big Woods, Mendon Ponds Park

Lake Ontario in Webster Park, New York
Lake Ontario in Webster Park

This Week’s Featured Product!

For even more great hikes around Rochester, New York, check out this book.  They tend to be on the easier side, but many of the trails can be extended if you want to hike further.

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