Durand Eastman Park, established in 1909, encompasses 977 acres of land in the City of Rochester & Town of Irondequoit.
Bernard Slavin’s landscape design was inspired by the work that Frederick Law Olmsted had done roughly 20 years earlier for Highland, Maplewood, Seneca and Genesee Valley Parks, and is obvious in its rolling terrain, scenic vistas and integrated natural water elements.
The golf course was redesigned in 1933 by famous golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones. There are picnic pavilions throughout the park, and a woodland playground, making this an incredibly popular place for birthdays and reunions.
Durand Eastman Park’s Arboretum
The arboretum is located between Zoo Rd. and Sweet Fern Rd. Take a look at this article by Rochester Gardening for a beautiful description of the arboretum inventory and its history.
There are tours conducted throughout the year by members of the Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension. There was a sign just outside the park when I drove by on April 7, and I also came across the mention on the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal website.
April 7–May 5: Durand Eastman Park Arboretum Tours, Sundays, 2–4pm. Guided tours led by Community Forester Volunteers of Monroe County Cooperative Extension. Routes will traverse moderate hills and wooded trails. Meet: kiosk, Zoo Road, next to park maintenance center. Free.Upstate Gardeners’ Journal
Though you can enjoy a drive through the park, stopping at several small parking lots along the way, it is best explored on bike (paved roads only) or by foot. There are 3 main foot trails that take you around the largest lakes in the park. From the Trail Map:
Durand Lake Trail
This trail is a moderate 1.2 mile walk over rolling hills. (Narrow sections, some small but rather steep hills and large, exposed roots give this walk a moderate rating).
This trail, although similar to the one around Eastman Lake, is more rugged and has a feeling of wilderness about it. Especially interesting are the sections of corduroy (log paths) along the southern portion of the trail.
Hemlock and fir trees overhang the trail making this a wonderful winter trail. Fishermen report catching sunfish, bluegills, strawberry bass, and bullheads. Enjoy the seasonal wildflowers, ferns, and shrubs such as witch-hazel.
Trees include beech, sassafras, maple, and oak, which make this a beautiful fall hike.
Trott Lake Trail
This trail is an easy to moderate 0.5 mile walk over small rolling hills. Be aware, some portions of the trail are narrow with steep sides.
Pine, striped maple, cherry, oak, birch, spruce, tulip and sassafras trees make this a beautiful woodland walk. Seasonal wildflowers, ferns, and fungus such as Indian Pipes can be found.
Look for rhododendrons in the south-eastern portion of the trail. They bloom in late June. Beavers have been active in this area as well.
Eastman Lake Trail
This trail is an easy 1.5 mile walk over gently rolling terrain, and is spectacular in any season.
This trail was named after George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company. George Eastman, along with Dr. Henry S. Durand, donated this land for the park.
As you walk along the edge of the lake look for a waterfowl and warblers especially during spring and fall migrations. The quiet water provides habitat for painted turtles, different species of frogs and toads, and birds so bring your binoculars.
Seasonal wildflowers and a variety of ferns line the path. Sunlight filters through a canopy of maple, cherry, oak, tulip, sassafras, and beech trees, which are especially colorful in the fall.
In winter, the textures of the various tree trunks, the evergreen hemlock and pine trees and the frozen lake make this a beautiful winter walk.
The White Lady’s Castle
Not a castle, really. Just the remaining façade of an early 1900s beachside dining hall called 3 Lakes Pavilion. But that doesn’t stop the rumors that this place is haunted by the spirit of a vengeful mother and her 2 large, white hounds!
Durand Eastman Park
Early Spring in
Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman Beach
Swimming is supervised by beach guards in its designated area, roughly late-June to Labor Day. Enjoy a walk along the 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline, and along the boardwalk leading to Seabreeze.
More information about Durand Eastman Park
- Cost: Free
- Located in the City of Rochester (get directions)
- More Information: monroecounty.gov \ The cutest little pocket guide! \ cityofrochester.gov
Water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for kayaks and small motorized watercraft.
Where is your favorite spot in Durand Eastman Park?
Share with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!