Mount Hope Cemetery winter cover

Mount Hope Cemetery

Fun fact: There are more people dead in Mount Hope Cemetery (~350,000) than living in the City of Rochester (~208,000!)

It may seem odd to think of a cemetery as a family-friendly destination, but Mount Hope is as much park-like as it nearby neighbor Highland Park—each one of the 5 Pinnacle Hills.

In fact, it was initially created to deal with the outbreak of cholera, though people often visited here as a leisurely escape from their new industrial city.

Mount Hope Cemetery bike

Wandering around

The main roads are well maintained, which attracts runners and walkers looking to escape the city streets. You can drive (slowly!) and observe the vast expanse of monuments, mausoleums, flora and fauna.

The south side of the cemetery is considered the “new” section, and the north-side the “old.” You can clearly see the difference in the layout of roadways and the age of the headstones.

Mount Hope Cemetery Susan B Anthony sign
Mount Hope Cemetery Susan B Anthony
Mount Hope Cemetery Susan B Anthony grave site
Mount Hope Cemetery Frederick Douglass sign
Mount Hope Cemetery Frederick Douglass Grave Site
Mount Hope Cemetery Nathaniel Rochester grave site
Mount Hope Cemetery Nathaniel Rochester memorial

The north section is where you will find the final resting places of Nathaniel Rochester, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass. The north section roadways are well-worn, some are made of cobblestone and uneven, and some may be better to explore on foot.

Mount Hope Cemetery autumn tree
Mount Hope Cemetery bicycle
Mount Hope Cemetery autumn angel
Mount Hope Cemetery pink tree
Mount Hope Cemetery Ellwanger
Mount Hope Cemetery fall foliage sunshine
Mount Hope Cemetery fall
Mount Hope Cemetery fall ginko
Ginko
Mount Hope Cemetery autumn pink yellow
Mount Hope Cemetery autumn red yellow
Mount Hope Cemetery red tree
Mount Hope Cemetery fall
Mount Hope Cemetery yellow sunshine
Mount Hope Cemetery yellow triangle
Mount Hope Cemetery fall date

Autumn in Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope Cemetery is a special place all year-round, but there’s something about Autumn that turns it into a virtual painting.

Because of the diversity of trees, everywhere you turn you are presented with a new color pallet, and whether sunlight is present or not, you can experience a different vista each time you visit.

In late October before it snows, when the leaves have come to their final resting place, the ground is carpeted in the boldest yellows and reds. The maintenance staff does periodic leaf cleanup on the roads, but in the valleys, the leaves stay where they lay, undisturbed even by the wind.

Mount Hope Cemetery winter tree
Mount Hope Cemetery winter pyramid
Mount Hope Cemetery winter pyramid side
Mount Hope Cemetery winter Frederick Douglass
Mount Hope Cemetery winter angel
Mount Hope Cemetery winter hillside
Mount Hope Cemetery winter tower
Mount Hope Cemetery winter shadows

Beautiful in the winter, too

Mount Hope is the perfect place for a winter walk. The roads, as best can be, are plowed and ideal for getting outside.

And the long shadows cast by trees and manufactured structures are lovely.

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Mount Hope Cemetery Pyramid
Mount Hope Cemetery summer moss steps
Mount Hope Cemetery summer crypt
Mount Hope Cemetery early autumn
Mount Hope Cemetery summer
Mount Hope Cemetery summer

…and in the summer

The cemetery is draped in green and an excellent place to walk, run, or bike safely without many cars. And with a later sunset, it’s a great destination for early evening walks.

Mount Hope Cemetery tree tour

Take a tour!

You can learn quite a bit from the knowledgable tour guides who give tours of both the north and south sections. There is so much to learn on a walking tour of Mount Hope Cemetery—the story of various residents, the trees, the geology.

They are also helpful in assimilating you to the lay of the land, helping you to navigate it on your own.

Mount Hope Cemetery full fossil wall
Fossils
 fossils
Mount Hope Cemetery kettle
Mount Hope Cemetery kettle

Speaking of tours, take the annual geology tour!

The land and the rocks tell a billion+ year old story and it’s fascinating! You’ll learn about ice age landforms (kames, moraines, kettles), the type of stones that make up gravestones, mausoleums and the ground you’re standing on, and residents who influenced the sciences during their time above ground.

You’ll learn to see minute detail and big history!

Mount Hope Cemetery gate

More information about Mount Hope Cemetery

“Set in a picturesque landscape shaped by retreating glaciers, the cemetery features more than 80 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, winged angels of mercy, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in Gothic Revival style, a Moorish gazebo, and infinitely varied tombstones marking 350,000 graves across 196 acres.”

Cost: Free, except for tours or special events

Located in the City of Rochester (get directions)

More information on the Friends of Mount Hope website: fomh.org

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Where is your favorite spot in Mount Hope Cemetery?

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

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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.