We drive right past some of Rochester’s most unique features every day, completely unaware of their existence. I continue to meet life-long residents of Rochester who have no idea these hidden places are just minutes away from where they work and live.
1. Corbett’s Glen
Brighton/Penfield. Corbett’s Glen Nature Park is a hidden green space in a suburban jungle, nestled in between an express way and 2 highly trafficked roads near the Penfield/Brighton Town border. When you visit, you will notice you seem to be walking through people’s back yards. You are, in a sense. The homeowners are passionate about keeping the glen beautiful and open for everyone’s enjoyment. It may have been a story of the past had it not been for this nature-loving community. Even still, it’s one of the most popular hidden spaces!
20 Monroe County Parks
2. Rochester’s Hidden Sidewalk
City of Rochester. To find it, start at Ontario Beach Park & head west on Beach Ave. Across from Clematis St. & Cloverdale St. are the two main entrances at either end, with several small sidewalks in between. The beautiful lawns and gardens along the sidewalk are privately owned; only the path is public and maintained by the City.
3. Turning Point
City of Rochester. 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. Most folks drive down Lake Ave. never realizing they’re running parallel with this incredible boardwalk. Turn off Lake Ave onto Boxart St. to access the south end at Turning Point Park, or start at Ontario Beach Park and follow the GRT from the north.
4. Channing H. Philbrick Park
Penfield. Irondequoit Creek passes through 3 Monroe County Parks, from its origin just outside Powder Mills Park, then through Ellison Park and Lucien Morin Park on its way to Irondequoit Bay. Along the way it picks up more water from tributaries like Thomas Creek, Mill Creek, and Allen’s Creek. As Irondequoit Creek passes through Channing H Philbrick Park, it drops 90 feet over one mile giving us the cascades that make this park so special.
132 Day Trips
from Rochester, NY
5. Warner Castle’s Sunken Garden
City of Rochester. When you stroll behind Warner Castle and down the grassy lawn, you’ll discover the Sunken Garden. The garden is a small part of Highland Park, yet folks don’t realize it’s here because it’s located on Reservoir Ave across South Ave toward Mount Hope Cemetery. Take a walk behind the garden and you’ll find yourself at Highland Bowl.
Bonus! Grimes Glen
Naples. Grimes Glen is about an hour south of Rochester, but I find it worth mentioning because so many people have no idea it’s there! It’s off N. Main St./County Route 21, up a seemingly normal side street (Vine St.) You’ve probably been to the Naples Fest and have driven right past it. I have even heard from people who have lived in Naples that had no idea a glen of this incredible beauty was right there.
The great thing about Grimes Glen is that the walk in and the trail along the glen is flat, though a bit muddy after a lot of rain. There comes a point (about 1/2 mile in) at which you have to decide whether you want to walk in the water to check out the two 60-foot waterfalls just around the bend. Go for it! It’s worth it. It’s one of our favorite hidden places!
Bonus! RMSC Observation Tower
City of Rochester. The Rochester Museum and Science Center is no secret, nor is the Strasenburgh Planetarium. On it’s campus, however, is an Observation Tower where on Saturday nights, when the sky over Rochester is clear, volunteers from the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science (ASRAS) operate large telescopes for viewing planets, nebula, and other stellar objects for FREE! The entrance to the tower and its 60-step winding staircase is outside the main planetarium building, accessible from the back parking lot. Depending on what is visible the night you go, these telescopes are powerful enough to see the moons of Jupiter! The rings of Saturn! The Orion Nebula!
The Darkest Sky Near Rochester