Mount Hope Cemetery Rochester NY

Autumn in Rochester

From pretty to paranormal, autumn in Rochester has no shortage of unique seasonal activities! Scenic train rides, leaf-peeping in our arboretums, fall bird migrations and ghost walks happen only in autumn so take advantage of them while you can!

Autumn in Rochester:  30 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester: Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman Park in Irondequoit/Rochester

Autumn in Rochester: Observe changing foliage

Pick a place with tree-diversity—it may even be your own neighborhood. Observe the autumn changes once a week, maybe on your way home from work or on Sunday mornings. I have a few favorite places I like to frequent in the fall because of their dramatic displays.

Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope Cemetery is a special place all year-round, but there’s something about Autumn that turns it into a virtual painting.

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Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms.

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Highland Park

Highland Park was designed to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional. And there is so much more to Highland than the lilacs, though they are extraordinary!

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Webster Arboretum at Kent Park

Follow the pathways that meander around Webster Arboretum’s 40 acres of open spaces, flower & herb gardens, water elements, and a wide variety of trees.

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Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman Park’s landscape design was inspired by the work that Olmsted had done 20 years earlier in Highland, Seneca, and Genesee Valley Parks.

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Autumn in Rochester: Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge on Cayuga Lake
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Witness the autumn migration

Massive migrations of waterfowl, wading birds and raptors come back through New York on their way south toward open waters. These areas around Rochester are dedicated to giving them safe harbor to eat and to rest. Bring your binoculars!

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Swallow Hollow Nature loop trail is an accessible trail of ramps, gravel pathways and boardwalks making it easier to enjoy this unique ecosystem.

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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,000-acre preserve located on the north end of Cayuga Lake, under one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

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Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area

The Braddock Bay complex includes the bay and the surrounding wetlands. We break it down so you can start exploring!

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Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister
Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister

Autumn in Rochester: Take a drive

You don’t have to be in the Catskills or Adirondacks to find an inspiring view. Pick any slow-road leading out of Rochester and just drive!

Autumn in Rochester: Oatka Creek Park Scottsville NY
Oatka Creek Park in Scottsville

Take a hike

A walk anywhere in a park or forest, along a lake shore or your own neighborhood is satiating enough! I love a combination of tree-diversity, water elements, moments of canopy and vista, and a bench to take it all in. Try these!

Oatka Creek Park

Oatka Creek Park in Wheatland is one of the more strollable in the Monroe County Park system, with little change in elevation along the 3.3 mile loop trail.

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Powder Mills Park – Monroe County

Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, Daffodil Meadow Trail in early May, The Mushroom House, and fishing Irondequoit Creek.

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Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms.

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Stony Brook State Park

Stony Brook State Park is absolutely stunning year round, but my favorite time to visit is on a mild November day, once the crowds and heat of summer have slipped away.

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Meridian Centre Park

There are nature paths in Meridian Centre Park & an arboretum in the western part of the park with plantings and wooden arches.

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You really can’t go wrong picking any of these trails.

Gorge Trails Near Rochester

Gorge trails call out to us from their deep, dark, and cool caverns. If you haven’t already, check these five spectacular trails off your list!

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77 Hiking Trails Around Rochester

Here are a few less populated, rustic, or unusual trails around Rochester that will inspire you to take a hike. A diverse collection of rail-trails, waterside trails, and inland trails.

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20 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences!

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49 New York State Parks Within a 2-hour Drive of Rochester

Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a 2-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!

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Arcade and Attica Railroad
Arcade & Attica Railroad

Ride the rails on a scenic train

These fall foliage trains around Rochester are a unique way to enjoy the season!

Rochester Genesee Valley Railroad Museum

Once a month, between June and October, you can spend the day riding the train at the Rochester Genesee Valley Railroad Museum.

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New York Museum of Transportation

Enjoy a scenic 2-mile round-trip ride on an 90-year-old electric trolley car at the New York Museum of Transportation, and themed-events during the year.

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Arcade and Attica Railroad

Arcade and Attica Railroad offers a 2-1/2 hour train experience, including a 30-minute layover at Curriers Station where you can explore the train yard and grab a bite to eat.

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Adirondack Scenic Railroad is an ambitious day trip, but enjoyable nonetheless!

It is a 2-hour drive to Utica’s Union Station, or a 2.5-hour Amtrak ride if you’d rather sit back and enjoy the scenery. The round trip on Amtrak gives you time for dinner in Utica. Grab an Uber to Nail Creek Pub, Swift’s Restaurant & Pub, or walk down to The Tailor and The Cook or Oyster Blue Restaurant & Oyster Bar.

  • Rochester to Utica train (8:36am – 10:51am) There is an earlier one too if this cuts it too close for you.
  • The Fall Foliage “No-Layover” Trip Itinerary:
    Depart Utica – 11:30am
    Arrive in Thendara – 1:30pm
    Depart Thendara – 2:15pm
    Arrive Utica – 4:30pm
  • Utica to Rochester train (8:48pm – 11:09pm)

These would probably require an overnight unless you’re feeling ambitious! I’d also recommend them more in September when the mountain regions are nearing peak foliage change.

Autumn in Rochester: Red Creek through Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park

Follow the river

Spend time along the Genesee River on its course through the City of Rochester. Take Guided Hike with the Lower Falls Foundation and learn about Rochester’s history and the importance of the river to our beginnings.

Turning Point Park in Rochester

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the greater Genesee Riverway Trail.

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Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

You can climb the 40-foot tower in the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse and enjoy the view of Lake Ontario, the Genesee River, and Ontario Beach Park.

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Maplewood Park

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from Driving Park and the Lower Falls to just north of Route 104, ending at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee.

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Seneca Park and Zoo

The Seneca Park Zoo is a but a small part of the greater 297-acre Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893.

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Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park located at the intersection of the Erie Canal, Red Creek and Genesee River.

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ROC the Riverway: Rochester’s Genesee River Romance

Rochester’s ROC the Riverway Weekend is held every October. It is a celebration of life along the river, with City-sponsored activities, tours, and events.

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Autumn in Rochester: Bristol Mountain
Autumn lift rides at Bristol Mountain

Get above the canopy

There is nothing like leaf-peeping from above the tree line!

Bristol Mountain Off Season

In the fall, the Comet Express lift is open Noon-4pm for folks to enjoy a quiet and scenic ride to the summit of Bristol Mountain.

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Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area is a New York State Park located in the hills six miles south of Honeoye Lake.

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The Jump Off Trail: Ontario County Park Gannett Hill

The Jump Off Trail in Ontario County Park is ADA-accessible and affords one of the most beautiful scenic views in the Finger Lakes Region.

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Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, NY
Rolling Hills Asylum

Take a ghost tour

Ghosts are active all year long, but there is something about October that peeks our interest in the paranormal. From storytelling to investigating, these tours help to explore “the other side” of Rochester.

Or a haunted hayride

These may scare you more than the ghost tours!

Stokoe Farms pick your own pumpkins

Autumn in Rochester: Fun on the farm

Grab some cider & donuts, get lost in a corn maze, and pick your favorite pumpkin on family farms around Rochester.

Pumpkins: 14 Places to Pick Your Own Around Rochester

It’s so much more than simply buying pumpkins. It’s about family time on the farm, with wagon rides, hot cider & donuts, corn maizes, and games.

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Stokoe Farms

Stokoe Farms offers a full day of family activities. On a beautiful Autumn day, you can expect it to be a very popular place! Stop back in December to cut your own Christmas tree.

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What are your favorite ways to enjoy autumn in Rochester?

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