Durand Eastman Park encompasses 977 acres of land including Durand Lake, Eastman Lake, and a swimming beach on Lake Ontario.
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. From the website, “The Monroe County Cooperative Extension, in conjunction with the Monroe County Parks, will again lead our semi annual public tours of the historic Durand Eastman Arboretum. Meet at the kiosk on Zoo Road, next to the park maintenance center; tours are two hours long, from 2-4PM. There is no charge, but donations to support the Extensions Master Gardener program will be accepted.”
2020 Dates: Sunday, April 12, 19, 26, and May 3 (event cancelled)
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.
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 beach-side 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! It’s a great place to participate in Rochester’s paranormal activities!
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 up to Seabreeze.
Autumn in Durand Eastman Park
Early Spring in Durand Eastman Park
More information about Durand Eastman Park
Located in the City of Rochester (get directions)
Paddle your way to peace and quiet along Rochester’s water trails. Use these launches for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.
Where is your favorite spot in Durand Eastman Park?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!