Genesee River City of Rochester cover

5 Places in the City to Enjoy the Genesee River

The 157-mile Genesee River originates just south of the PA border, passing over Letchworth State Park’s waterfalls and the Mount Morris Dam. She swiftly meanders through Geneseo, Avon, Rush, Chili, and Henrietta. At Genesee Valley Park, the river mingles with the Erie Canal and begins her journey through the City of Rochester, racing over a dam and three waterfalls before emptying into Lake Ontario.

Here are five places in the City of Rochester to witness the power and beauty of the Genesee River!

These destinations are also highlighted during ROC the Riverway weekend (previously known as River Romance weekend). And all five spots are connected along the GRT – Genesee Riverway Trail.

Turning Point Park winter walk
Turning Point Park

1. Turning Point Park

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the greater Genesee Riverway Trail.


High Falls from the east-side viewing platform
High Falls from the east-side viewing platform

2. High Falls

High Falls is both the name of the waterfall and the district in the city where it can be found. There are several places to view the falls: the east-side viewing platform, the roof of Genesee Brew House, and the Pont de Rennes Bridge are the most common. On the west-side of the river, walk the cobblestone streets and learn about Rochester’s hydro-power history.


Water Trails Around Rochester NY Genesee River through Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park

3. Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Monroe County park located at the intersection of the Erie Canal, Red Creek and Genesee River.


Maplewood Park Lower Falls
Lower Falls

4. Maplewood Park

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from Driving Park and the Lower Falls to just north of Rt. 104. When Olmsted designed the park, it was actually part of Seneca Park and was called Seneca Park West. A beautiful pedestrian bridge connects the two parks together.


Port of Rochester Rochester NY Genesee River Lake Ontario

5. Ontario Beach Park

Ontario Beach Park is located at the northernmost tip of the city of Rochester, and is bordered on the East by the mouth of the Genesee River.


Genesee River History

Top 10 - Letchworth State Park
Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park

I encourage you to learn more about the river’s geologic and human history. Here are a few facts that may entice you!

  • The pre-glacial Genesee River emptied into Lake Ontario where Irondequoit Bay is today.
  • Native American tribes built strong communities along the river. Explore the history of Maplewood Park, Geneseo and Letchworth.
  • The Genesee was the main reason pioneers settled and developed the marshy, mosquito-infested area that we call home.
  • The Genesee River below Lower Falls was part of the Underground Railroad, allowing boats to sail to Canada.
  • The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse is the oldest active surviving lighthouse on Lake Ontario.

Water Trails: 58 Places to Explore Rochester’s Waterways

Water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for kayaks and small motorized watercraft.

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33 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.

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Where are your favorite spots along the Genesee River?

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

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