Mendon Ponds Park summer cover

Mendon Ponds Park

Explore 21 miles of marked trails across 2,500 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and glacially created landforms like kettles, kames, eskers, and bogs. Named for its four most significant ponds—Hundred Acre, Round, Quaker, and Deep Ponds—one of the park’s unique bodies of water is Devil’s Bathtub, a rare meromictic lake with a depth of about 47 feet at its deepest point. Be sure to check out Wild Wings Inc.’s bird of prey facility and nature center, and enjoy a walk along the nearby Fairy Birdsong Trail.

In 1969, due to its geologic history and the presence of significant eskers, kames, and kettles, it was named to the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.

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Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Mendon Ponds’ unique geologic structure

Mendon Ponds Park
Map near the nature center

To paint a richer picture, read this excerpt from an article entitled Glacial Geology by James S. Wishart:

“The southern edge of the ice sheet gradually melted, and the ice front retreated northward. Little by little, as the ice disappeared, other features appeared. Lakes formed from the melting ice developed along the ice sheet’s edge.

“Chunks of ice detached from the glacier’s edge were often found in the shallow water and partially buried by rock debris. Later, when the ice was gone, ponds appeared in the hollows once occupied by the ice.

“Some of these ponds continue to exist today—as at Mendon Ponds Park. These bodies of water are called kettle ponds and the depressions in which they are found are referred to as kettles or kettle holes.”

Glacial Geology by James S. Wishart

Mendon Ponds Park
view brochure with this information

Now that you have the facts, you can experience the beauty and serenity of Mendon Ponds Park. Plan a visit each season to appreciate the bold-blue ponds in summer, the reflection of colored trees in the Devil’s bathtub in autumn, the bright-white hills in winter, and the rebirth of Sharon’s Sensory Garden in spring.

Geologic History of the Rochester Area

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history will remind you just how amazing our corner of the Earth is.

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Areas Around Mendon Ponds

mendon devils bathtub september
Mendon Ponds Park stairs Devils Bathtub
Mendon Ponds Park
Devils Bathtub October
Devils Bathtub

The Devil’s Bathtub

The Devil’s Bathtub is one of New York’s rare meromictic lakes, similar to Green Lakes. It is so deep and protected by geological features that the water layers do not mix or “turn over.” The lake’s depth is approximately 47 feet at its deepest point.

Wild Wings Peregrine Falcon
Wild Wings Turkey Vulture
Outside Wild Wings
Mendon Ponds Wild Wings nature center
Mendon Ponds Nature Center

Mendon Ponds Nature Center

The nature center includes Wild Wings Bird of Prey Facility and the Birdsong Fairy Trail.

Wild Wings Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that manages the Mendon Ponds Park Nature Center and Bird of Prey Facility. They provide short-term and lifelong sanctuary for animals that rely on human care for their survival.

Visitors can see small mammals, amphibians, insects, and reptiles in the nature center building. The Bird of Prey Facility next door houses permanently injured raptor and owl species, a raven, a bobcat, and two red foxes. Both facilities are free to explore, and donations and profits from the gift shop go directly toward the care of the animals.

Mendon Ponds Fairy Trail glitter is litter
Please remember glitter is litter!
Mendon Ponds Fairy Trail rainbow door
Mendon Ponds Fairy Trail blue door
Mendon Ponds Fairy Trail bridge
Mendon Ponds Park Birdsong Fairy Trail red door

This county park’s most popular walk among bird lovers and families is the Birdsong Fairy Trail, near the nature center. With a broad dirt pathway and slight elevation change, this trail provides an easy way to explore a forest full of woodland creatures and is ideal for a multigenerational nature walk.

Wandering counterclockwise along the path, search for over 40 colorful fairy homes and play spaces.

Mendon Ponds Park birdsong trail
Mendon Ponds Birdsong Trail Tufted Titmouse
Tap picture to enlarge
Mendon Ponds Birdsong Trail Black-Capped Chickadee
Tap picture to enlarge
Mendon Ponds Birdsong Trail Downy Woodpeckers
Tap picture to enlarge
Mendon Ponds Birdsong Trail White-Breasted Nuthatch
Tap picture to enlarge

When food is scarce in winter and early spring, head clockwise on the trail with a handful of black oil sunflower seeds so chickadees, nuthatches, and tufted titmice can eat them directly from your hand. Make time to explore the other trails in the park, including those around the ponds.

Wandering through the park’s many wooded areas

Mendon Ponds Park Rochester NY
Autumn on the Devils Bathtub trail
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail yellow trail
Mendon Ponds Park
Mendon Ponds Park
Mendon Ponds Park Round Pond Autumn cover
rain on Round Pond
Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County Sledding
Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County XC Skiing

Sledding & Cross-Country Skiing in the Winter

Every January, Mendon Ponds hosts Winterfest with activities throughout the park. It is one of the more popular spots for skiing and sledding. Snowshoes are available to rent from the nature center.

More information about Mendon Ponds Park

Cost: Free

Located in Pittsford and Honeoye Falls, roughly 20 minutes / 13 miles from Rochester (get directions)

More information: monroecounty.gov/parks-mendonponds

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Where is your favorite spot in Mendon Ponds Park?

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.

3 thoughts on “Mendon Ponds Park”

  1. I resided at #1Pond Road (for a number of years. ( House was moved out of the Park)
    The County had virtually abandoned maintenance of the Park in the last 8 years, only mowing a few areas

  2. We went to Sharon’s sensory garden in Mendon Ponds Park today. What a disappointment. We took a blind family member and could only find lavender and lambs ear for her to touch. No water features, no other plants but weeds, no labels on things that might have been plants.

    1. Sharon, I am truly sorry to hear this. I’m not sure if it’s due to staffing issues over the past few years, unfortunately landscaping seems to be one of the first things to go unattended. I would think that August would be the perfect time to be there. I’ll see what I can find out. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know.

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