Unlike most New York State Parks, Monroe County parks are free. Take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences! It’s an amazing backyard! The 20 parks below are listed in order of their size.
1. Mendon Ponds
Highlights: 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms, on the National Registry of Natural Landmarks due to its geologic history and presence of significant kames, eskers, and kettles, Wild Wings, birdsong trail among other excellent hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty, sledding, camping for scout and youth groups only.
These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history, filled with drumlins, fossils, house-sized boulders and a meromictic lake, will leave you awe-struck!
2. Black Creek
Highlights: 1,505-acres, 5 hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty, sledding.
Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a 2-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!
3. Durand Eastman
Highlights: 977 acres, arboretum, swimming beach on Lake Ontario, steep wooded slopes and valleys, small lakes, sledding, golf, 5 hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
Skiing around Rochester is as much winter recreation as it is a social experience, competition, and a tradition. A few of these destinations also offer cross country ski rentals.
5. Genesee Valley
Highlights: 800 acres, Olmsted-designed park, intersection of the Erie Canal and Genesee River, connection point for the Canalway Trail, Genesee Riverway Trail, and Genesee Valley Greenway, 2 golf courses, organized recreation, paved pathways popular with bicyclists and joggers, kayak & canoe rentals.
Highlights: 742 acres, golf and disc golf courses, one of three Monroe County Parks with an outdoor ice skating rink
Depending on your definition, water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.
7. Greece Canal
Highlights: 577 acres, located along the Erie Canal, one of two Monroe County parks with a dog park, 4 hiking trails all mainly easy/level.
There are so many interesting roadside attractions near Rochester. As you’re driving around the area, you should at least see these five!
Highlights: 550 acres, the only County park with camping available to families and not just scout troops, sledding, access to Lake Ontario (no swimming), hiking trails.
9. Oatka Creek
Highlights: 461-acres, exceptional trout fishing from both banks along Oatka Creek, mostly undeveloped, hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
Highlights: 447 acres, our first county park, natural woodlands combined with steep slopes, in the Irondequoit Creek flood plain. One of two Monroe County parks with a dog park, one of three with an outdoor ice skating rink, 5 trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
11. Powder Mills
Highlights: 380 acres, fish hatchery, steep hillsides, creekside meadows and wetlands, downhill skiing, trout fishing in Irondequoit Creek, 5 hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty including the Daffodil Trail, winter ski lessons from Swain.
Rather than an escape, I prefer to think of these as transcending places that encourage us to transcend space, time, and state of mind.
12. Lucien Morin
Highlights: 348 acres, located on the north side of Ellison Park, marsh area for canoe and kayak access to the bay, hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
Highlights: 297 acres, linear park along the Genesee River, Olmsted-designed park, Seneca Park Zoo, pedestrian bridge over river connecting to Maplewood Park and the Genesee Riverway Trail, 6 hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
Highlights: 150 acres, Olmsted-designed park, arboretum, Lilac Fest, Lamberton Conservatory, Warner Castle Sunken Garden, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, reservoir, Highland Bowl, , one of three Monroe County Parks with an outdoor ice skating rink, paved pathways with sizable changes in elevation, one of the 5 pre-historic Pinnacle Hills: Cobb’s, Pinnacle, Highland and Mount Hope, plus Oak Hill which is now the University of Rochester’s campus.
15. Lehigh Valley Trail
Highlights: 15 mile linear park, hard packed gravel, crosses the Genesee River to connect with the Genesee Valley Greenway, the only one of our Monroe County Parks utilizing an old railroad line. There are dozens of access points, most at crossroads.
16. Abraham Lincoln
Highlights: 182 acres, on Irondequoit Bay, hiking trails are each less than a mile with varying degrees of difficulty.
17. Irondequoit Bay West
Highlights: 147 acres, completely undeveloped, 2,000 feet of Irondequoit Bay shoreline that is incredibly popular but difficult to park.
Highlights: 82 undeveloped acres, west-side of Irondequoit Creek, Lucien Morin runs on the east-side, popular for mountain biking and dog walking.
19. Ontario Beach
Highlights: 39 acres, historic 1905 Dentzel Carousel, walkable pier, Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, restaurants, original Abbots Custard, swimming beach on Lake Ontario, concerts, organized recreation, events, a short walk from the Rochester’s hidden sidewalk.
Our nature centers, wildlife preserves, management areas, etc., all serve to protect and sustain life, while making nature accessible to people to enjoy and learn from.
20. Devil’s Cove
Highlights: 18 acres, park will remain natural and undeveloped, is accessible only from the water.
Note: This map shows all of the Monroe County parks. It lists 21 parks because Irondequoit Bay Marine by Seabreeze was recently transferred to the state to manage.