Braddock Bay Marina Trail

10 Spots to Seek Solitude Around Rochester

During the best of times, we know the importance of staying active, seeking out fresh air and sunshine (with sunscreen), and connecting with nature. It’s critical to spend time outside. Here are a few spots that I can recommend where there’s ample space for finding solitude and solace.

Table of Contents

  1. Webster Arboretum
  2. Ganondagan
  3. Stone-Tolan House
  4. Oatka Creek Park
  5. MacKay Wildlife Preserve
  6. Hamlin Beach
  7. Hemlock
  8. Meridian Centre
  9. Mount Hope
  10. Al Lorenz
  11. Plus, 70+ rustic hiking trails away from the crowds
Seek solitude at Webster Arboretum
Solitude in Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

1. Webster Arboretum

This 32.5-acre arboretum in Webster features a pond, meandering trails, rose gardens, and perennial theme gardens, with more than 50 varieties of trees and shrubs.

They also have an impressive evergreen hedge maze!

Seek solitude at Ganondagan inside longhouse
Ganondagan summer benches
Ganondagan summer mowed path
Ganondagan autumn longhouse

2. Ganondagan State Historic Site

The Seneca Art & Culture Center and long house may be closed, but the trails are open!

Ganondagan State Historic Site sits atop Boughton Hill in Victor. It is the original site of the largest 17th century Seneca town, which at its peak had 150 longhouses where only one replica stands today.

The grounds surrounding the cultural center include two interpretive trails that emphasis the significance of plant life, Haudenosaunee culture and history.

A third trail, one mile west on Boughton Hill Road, interprets the history and the importance of Fort Hill, a large fortified storehouse for grain. It connects with Dryer Road Park. From the website, “The location of Gah:ha-da-yan-duk is significant to the Seneca. From this hill, looking south on a clear day, the observer can see Bare Hill, the legendary birthplace of the Seneca nation.”

View a map of all trails here, or just the interpreted trails here.

Seek solitude at Stone-Tolan House
VIP Pass: Stone Tolan House
Stone-Tolan House
Sunken Garden
Stone-Tolan

3. Stone-Tolan House Historic Site

Built in 1792, the Stone-Tolan House is the oldest building in the county. Though the home itself is closed for the time being, you are welcome to explore the property.

Although there is traffic noise from the express way in the backyard and East Ave in the front, it’s peaceful walking through the apple tree grove and around the garden and historic outbuildings.

Solitude in Oatka Creek Park
Oatka Creek Park goldenrod birch trees
Oatka Creek Park Wheatland Trout Run
Oatka Creek Park Scottsville NY
Oatka Creek Park

4. 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.

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.

Solitude in MacKay Wildlife Preserve
30 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester: MacKay Wildlife Preserve
MacKay Wildlife Preserve
MacKay Wildlife Preserve
MacKay Wildlife Preserve

5. MacKay Wildlife Preserve

There are interesting man-made and geologic wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve in Caledonia.

You’ll find a sea of round, moss-covered boulders, a diverse collection of hardwoods, and unusual land formations, yet very few people!

Seek solitude at Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park bridge
Hamlin Beach State Park Yanty Creek Marsh boardwalk
Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach

6. Hamlin Beach

Hamlin Beach State Park in Hamlin has seven miles of beautiful biking and walking trails, including a mile-long self-guided tour of a WWII-era CCC/POW camp.

There are plenty of shaded picnic areas perfect for reading a book with your toes in the sand.

The park has been recognized as a premier spot for observing migrating waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds and was named an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.

Solitude on Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake Park
hemlock lake robs trail
Hemlock Lake gazebo cover
Hemlock Lake

7. Hemlock Lake

As sources of drinking water for the City, there are no buildings along the shoreline of both Hemlock and Canadice lakes, making this the perfect region for peace and quiet.

Enjoy Hemlock Park, located at the north end, as well as several trails and car-top boat launches.

Both lakes are part of the greater Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. The property includes two large undeveloped parcels surrounding both lakes, totaling 6,684 acres.

Solitude in Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre Park boardwalk
Winter break: Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre

8. Meridian Centre

The trails are primarily flat through Meridian Centre Park in Brighton. Some are gravel, others wood chip, with a section of beautiful boardwalk.

There are nature paths & an arboretum in the western part of the park with plantings and wooden arches making this a popular destination for bird watchers.

Solitude in Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery autumn
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope

9. Mount Hope Cemetery

It may seem odd to think of a cemetery as a family-friendly destination, but Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery is as much park-like as it nearby neighbor Highland Park, yet much less visited.

In 2009, more than 20% of the trees in Mount Hope were characterized as historic, with 250-year-old oak trees, and rare specimen trees gifted to the Cemetery in 1848 by famed 19th-century horticulturists George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry.

Mount Hope is a rare example of rural Victorian cemetery design, a uniquely preserved urban park, a year round recreational resource and arboretum, a historic outdoor museum.

Solitude in Al Lorenz Park Mount Morris
Al Lorenz Park Mount Morris
Al Lorenz Park Mount Morris Pine Grove
Livingston County Al Lorenz Park
Al Lorenz Park

10. Al Lorenz Park

Located just across the Genesee River from the Mount Morris entrance to Letchworth park, Al Lorenz is a hidden gem!

Tucked down into the river valley, it has a variety of walking paths, water elements, and diversity of trees, including an extraordinary pine grove.

Finding Solitude on Hiking Trails & Preserves

These trails are much less traveled than those in our park systems. They are more secluded, rustic, and even in the best of times are excellent places to immerse yourself in nature.

Seek solitude on the Braddock Bay Marina Trail
Braddock Bay
Saint Bernards park on the GRT
Saint Bernard’s
Wayne County Butterfly Trail Lock 30
Butterfly Trail
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois
Seek solitude at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge trail
Montezuma

Waterside Trails

Lehigh Valley Rail Trail Honeoye Creek
Lehigh Valley
30 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester: Old Canal Lock 62
Old Lock 62
Seek solitude at Greater Rochester Region - Keuka Outlet Trail
Keuka Outlet
Seek solitude at Ontario Pathways trail head NY-20
Ontario Pathways
Erie-Attica Rail Trail bridge over Genesee River
Erie-Attica
Lehigh Valley Trail Wadsworth Junction Genesee Valley Greenway
Greenway

Rail Trails

Seek solitude at Christine Sevilla Wetlands Reserve sunfilled boardwalk
Christine Sevilla
Seek solitude at Cornwall Preserve
Cornwall
Seek solitude at Cornwall Preserve
Cornwall

Genesee Land Trust

Other Preserves

Seek solitude at Rush Oak Openings Unique Area
Rush Oak Openings
Seek solitude at Hemlock Lake Robs Trail walking sticks
Rob’s Trail
Seek solitude at Little Rock City in Rock City New York State Forest
Little Rock City

DEC State Land

Seek solitude at Trail of Hope
Trail of Hope
Seek solitude at Brickyard Trail
Brickyard
Seek solitude at Ontario County Park Gannett Hill Jump Off Trail
Jump Off
Seek solitude at Sandy Bottom Nature Trail boardwalk
Sandy Bottom

More Inland Trails

18 Beautiful Boardwalks

These boardwalks are incorporated into larger trail systems to help people meander through wetlands, or to help preserve wildlife.

Read more

32 Roadside Waterfalls Near Rochester

Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by difficult trails. And for some, you do not need to get out of your car.

Read more

8 Roadside Attractions Worth Going Out of Your Way For

There are so many interesting roadside attractions near Rochester. As you’re driving around the area, you should at least see these five!

Read more

Where do you go to find solitude in nature?

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

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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.