The Monroe County Parks system includes 20 parks that are all worth visiting, but these are the five you absolutely must explore if you haven’t already.
Table of Contents:
1. Highland Park
There is no doubt in my mind when I say that Highland is my favorite of the county parks, and one of my favorite parks in the world. If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will!
Walking the paved pathway weaves you up, down, and through a diverse collection of flowers, flowering bushes and trees, taking you from the Pansy Bed to the Poet’s Garden, Tulip Garden, Lamberton Conservatory and the reservoir.
If you can visit only once, go in late-April or early-May when the Magnolias, Azaleas, and Lilacs are in bloom.
Stop back in early-November to enjoy the Japanese Maple collection.
Each month offers its own magnificent experience so I try to go at least once a month!
2. Mendon Ponds Park
Mendon Ponds is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms.
It is a truly beautiful space with large ponds perfect for kayaking, fishing, and watching the season’s reflections and sunsets.
Devil’s Bathtub is a unique meromictic lake.
Feed the sparrows right out of your hand along the Bird Song Trail in winter. You’ll also find the fairy houses here that were moved from Tinker Park in 2019.
Visit Wild Wings to see birds of prey up close.
3. Genesee Valley Park
GVP sits at the crossroads of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal with a kayak launch to explore both. Bike, walk or run over several stone bridges, and through the “lightening tree” or “Tree of Life“.
4. Durand Eastman
Hike the trails around Durand Lake and Eastman Lake. Wander though the arboretum’s diverse tree collection including Pine Valley, Rhododendron Valley, Yew Hill, Oak Grove, and a collection of five dove trees.
This is another exceptional example of a park with seasonally-distinctive personalities.
5. 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.
If you drive NY-251 west from Victor, through Mendon and Rush, the road will take you directly into the parking lot. From there, the main trail is so easy to locate and enjoy.
The grass-mown meadow trails are perfect for observing wildflowers and the birds & insects that flourish among them.
What I find most unique about Oatka are the meadows; great spaces to observe wildflowers, birds and other wildlife among the birch trees, and to witness seasonal changes. It is one of the least used and least developed parks, making for a quiet retreat into nature.
Ready for some more Monroe County parks?
Which are your favorite county parks?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!