Photo Credit: Rochester Museum & Science Center

Hiking & Trails

Looking for a vigorous day of climbing or simply a family-friendly outdoor excursion? The parks and hiking trails in and around Rochester are sure to satisfy those in search of green space, fresh air, and a little of Mother Nature’s magic. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best options, so take your pick, and you’ll be at the trailhead in no time. 

Spectacular Scenery 

You’ll find a mostly flat four-mile out and back trail at Seneca Park, which showcases a waterfall and scenic vistas of the Genesee River. Along with the expected forest creatures, from certain trail points, eagle-eyed trekkers might even catch a glimpse of the Seneca Park Zoo to see some of nature’s more unusual animal friends.

The multi-use paved and unpaved paths along the Genesee Riverway Trail are ideal for all seasons and feature a variety of loops and bridges that wind alongside the Genesee River, providing hikers with gorgeous water and city views.

Ten trails await you at Mendon Ponds Park. Traverse gentle slopes on the one-mile Pine Woods, or try the just-under five-mile East Esker, where you’ll discover a challenging hike, numerous panoramas, and incredible fall foliage.

Choose from two reservoir loop trails at Cobb's Hill Park: one is a breezy, paved walk featuring skyline views of the city, and the other will take you through the forest and out by water towers decked out with impressive murals. Both offer visitors an easily accessible respite from city life.

Enjoy an easy stroll with beautiful scenery alongside the Erie Canalway Trail (part of the Empire State Trail), a protected trail that runs alongside the Erie Canal. Turning Point Park in the City of Rochester is an extended boardwalk that takes visitors over the Genesee River all the way to Lake Ontario and the Port of Rochester.

History Awaits 

Hikers looking for a light walk with plenty of memorials and gardens should head to Highland Park to see tributes to Victims’ Rights, Workers, Vietnam Veterans, and the AIDS Remembrance Garden. Lastly, make sure to stop by the historic Warner Castle Sunken Garden, and spend a moment reflecting and relaxing on one of the stone benches. 

At the Genesee Valley Park, choose from the Red Creek and the Genesee Greenway Trail. The park, one of three in the city designed by famed American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, has miles of paved trails perfect for leisurely walks. 

Search For Creatures Great And Small 

Durand-Eastman Park is home to six trails, so whether you’re on a quest for steep hikes with exposed roots or an even walkway, you’ll find it here alongside abundant avian life. 

Listen for the sounds of a heron taking flight as you march by fields of wildflowers, raspberry and blackberry bushes, and plenty of wetlands in Black Creek Park. Serious hikers should make sure to pack boots as trails here can be muddy.

With numerous hills and valleys, Ellison Park’s four trails are perfect places to climb, descend, and spend time watching for butterflies, a scampering chipmunk, or even a toad crossing your path.