Durand Eastman Park autumn cover

Durand Eastman Park

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 Arboretum
Durand Eastman Park Rose Valley Fruiticetum
Durand Eastman Park pinetum
Durand Eastman Park walking tour
Durand Eastman Park guided tour

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)

Durand Eastman Park west side Durand Lake

Hiking

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 Eastman Park Durand Lake
Durand Eastman Park Durand Lake east side
Durand Eastman Park Durand Lake Trail
Durand Eastman Park Durand Lake Trail view

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.

Durand Eastman Park Trott Lake

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 east side

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.

White Lady's Castle 3 Lakes Pavilion
White Lady’s Castle

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!

Lake Ontario
Lakeside Trail
 boardwalk trail

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

Log Cabin Road November
Log Cabin Road after October 31 when Monroe County Parks close for the season
Durand Eastman Park Trimble Lake
Autumn Road
Durand Eastman Park roots
into the woods

Early Spring in Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman spring
long early spring shadows
Durand Eastman Park blossoming trees
daffodils off Zoo Rd

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

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Where is your favorite spot in Durand Eastman Park?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

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4 thoughts on “Durand Eastman Park”

  1. Mary Dziuba Champagne Myers

    My fabulous immigrant mom often took me to the zoo there, when I was little. I remember getting autumn leaves there as a kindergartner for a project at the Susan B Anthony School part of the RCSD. We visited the beach and picnicked in the park. It’s a jewel of a place in Rochester, NY.

  2. I got married in Durand Eastman Park 32 years ago. It was a day to remember. The natural setting was wonderful! I wouldn’t change a thing.

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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.