Livingston County Al Lorenz Park

10 Spots to Seek Solitude Around Rochester

We all 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 where I find ample space for solitude and solace in nature.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Seek solitude at Webster Arboretum
Solitude in Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

1. Webster Arboretum

Webster

Covering 32 acres, the arboretum is maintained by local garden clubs and boasts a pond, winding paths, various trees and shrubs, and formal gardens with over 200 daylily cultivars.

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

2. Ganondagan State Historic Site

Victor

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

The grounds surrounding Ganondagan’s arts & culture center offer two interpretive trails that tell the story of Hodinöhsö:ni life, history, and connection to the natural world.

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. The website states, “The location of Gah:ha-da-yan-duk is significant to the Seneca. Looking south on a clear day from this hill, 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.

The bark longhouse is open from May 1 through October 31.

The Seneca Arts & Culture Center is open year-round, but days vary.

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

3. Stone-Tolan House Historic Site

Rochester

Constructed in 1792, the Stone-Tolan House is the oldest building in the county. Though the home is closed for now, you are welcome to explore the property.

Although traffic noise is from the expressway 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

Wheatland

As one of the more strollable and least developed county parks, Oatka Creek offers little change in elevation along the 3.3-mile loop trail, making for a quiet retreat into nature.

I find the meadows unique about Oatka—great spaces to observe wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife among the Aspens and witness seasonal changes.

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

Caledonia

There are fascinating man-made and geologic wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve. 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

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

Plenty of shaded picnic areas are 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

Hemlock

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

Enjoy Hemlock Park, located at the north end, and 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

Brighton

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 and an arboretum in the western part of the park with plantings and wooden arches, making this a popular birding destination.

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

9. Mount Hope Cemetery

Rochester

It may seem odd to think of a cemetery as a family-friendly destination, but Mount Hope Cemetery is as much park-like as its 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 an 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

Mount Morris

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 a 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
Gosnell Big Woods Preserve
Gosnell Big Woods

Genesee Land Trust

Whiting Road Nature Preserve
Whiting Road

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

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Where do you go to find solitude in nature?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

5 thoughts on “10 Spots to Seek Solitude Around Rochester”

  1. What a gold mine of information! I have lived and hiked around here for more than 60 years, and many of these places are unfamiliar to me. Rest assured, I will be trying them out. Thank you so much.

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