Erie Canal cycling cover

Paddle, Pedal, and Trek Along Rochester’s Waterways

With landscaped parks, preserved wetlands, historic neighborhoods, and miles of trails, Rochester has no shortage of adventures for outdoor enthusiasts.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Hike

Follow the Genesee Riverway Trail through three of Rochester’s Olmsted-designed parks—Genesee Valley, Maplewood, and Seneca. Enjoy the view from Pure Waters Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the river near Route 104 Memorial Bridge. Heading north toward Lake Ontario, you’ll find Turning Point Park, where a 3,572-foot-long boardwalk guides you over the river.

Monroe County Parks, like Durand-Eastman, Mendon Ponds, and Webster Park, maintain miles of hiking trails with varying difficulty. You’ll also find memorable trails in town parks like Corbett’s Glen and Channing H. Philbrick Park. Explore Genesee Land Trust’s protected properties, like Island Cottage Woods Preserve and Brookdale Preserve, for a path less traveled.

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80+ Hiking Trails Around Rochester

Less traveled than in our parks, these hiking trails around Rochester offer a secluded and rustic area to immerse yourself in nature.

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22 Fabulous Fall Hikes in Monroe County

Our favorite fall hikes offer a variety of elements and views. The presence of water, trees, and solitude helps rank these high on our list.

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22 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free and offer 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical, and geological experiences.

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Walk

Enjoy a stroll through Rochester’s historic districts and vibrant neighborhoods. Corn Hill boasts impressive examples of Rochester’s architecture and some of the city’s oldest homes, with excellent restaurants offering riverside outdoor seating. Follow cobblestone streets through the High Falls Historic District to learn about Rochester’s early industrial history.

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Guided Walks and Tours Around Rochester, NY

Local experts who highlight the rich history, geology, ecology, and community of the greater Rochester region lead these guided walks.

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Our Favorite Places to Take a Walk

The best thing you can do for your body and mind is simply take a walk. Enjoy our favorite places to meander, mosey, saunter or stroll.

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20 Paved, Gravel, and Boardwalk Pathways for Easy Strolls

These paved pathways and boardwalks are ideal for folks using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or managing other mobility challenges.

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Cycle

Ride for miles along the Genesee Riverway Trail, Genesee Valley Greenway, Erie Canalway Trail, and Lake Ontario State Multi-Use Trail. The Lehigh Valley Trail follows Honeoye Creek west from Rochester Junction in Mendon and crosses the Genesee River at Wadsworth Junction in Scottsville. 

For off-road and mountain biking, check out Whiting Road Nature Preserve near Lake Ontario in Webster and Irondequoit Bay Park West in Irondequoit.

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Unlock the Wonder: 12 Ways to Fully Experience the Erie Canal

Experience the beauty, history, and community of the Erie Canal through activities that offer a unique perspective of life along the canal.

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Exploring The Genesee River

At Genesee Valley Park, the river merges with the Erie Canal and continues north through Rochester before reaching Lake Ontario.

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Boat

Explore the northern section of the Genesee River and Lake Ontario from the Port of Rochester ramp or a car-top launch at Petten Street. Head upstream through Turning Point toward Lower Falls, then easily drift downstream. To explore the river south of High Falls, put in at the Black Creek ramp or Corn Hill Landing’s car-top launch.

Villages along the Erie Canal offer boat launches to access the calm water, making it ideal for beginners. Brockport and Fairport offer BoardSafe adaptive launches with a broad, gently sloped gangway, plenty of space for wheelchair maneuvering and parking, tiered benches, grab bars, and a chute that safely holds the kayak in place during transitions. Erie Canal Boat Company in Fairport rents traditional and adaptive watercraft. If you’re an adventurous paddler, visit Lock 32 Whitewater Park in Pittsford for thrilling class 2-3 spillway rapids.

BayCreek Paddling Center offers rentals and a shuttle service to Ellison Park. A four-hour downstream paddle on Irondequoit Creek through Lucien Moren Park leads back to the paddling center. Alternatively, put in a car-top watercraft at LaSalle’s Landing to paddle Irondequoit Bay and the creek’s wetlands.

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Rochester-Area Boat Tours

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Great Lakes, Genesee River, Erie Canal, and Finger Lakes on one of these Rochester-area boat tours.

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Water Trails: Over 50 Places to Explore Rochester’s Waterways

Paddle your way to peace and quiet along Rochester’s water trails. Use these launches for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.

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Fish

Anglers will find world-class fishing in Lake Ontario, the Genesee River, Braddock Bay, Irondequoit Bay and Creek, Oatka Creek, Black Creek, Sandy Creek, and the Erie Canal. Depending on the waterway and season, you may catch salmon, trout, walleye, pike, perch, bass, and more. And check out the fish hatcheries in Powder Mills Park and Caledonia, the oldest hatchery in the Western Hemisphere.

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H2O Heritage: Exploring Rochester’s Freshwater Resources

Rochesterians are fortunate to be surrounded by abundant freshwater resources that present us with unique stewardship opportunities.

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39 Other Great Lakes Near Rochester

Rochester is well-known for its 11 Finger Lakes and two beautiful Great Lakes. But there are even more freshwater lakes to enjoy.

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Powder Mills Park

Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, Daffodil Meadow Trail in early May, The Mushroom House, and fishing Irondequoit Creek.

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Books

Take a Paddle: Quiet Water for Canoes and Kayaks in New York’s Finger Lakes
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Amazon

Take Your Bike: Family Rides in the Rochester (NY) Area
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Take Your Bike: Family Rides in New York’s Finger Lakes Region
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Best Easy Day Hikes Rochester
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Best Easy Day Hikes Buffalo
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Best Easy Day Hikes Syracuse
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Take a Hike: Family Walks in the Rochester Area
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Take a Hike: Family Walks in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Amazon

Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York: Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes
by Timothy Starmer

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

50 Hikes in Western New York: Walks and Day Hikes from the Cattaraugus Hills to the Genessee Valley
by William P. Ehling

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

50 Hikes in Central New York: Hikes and Backpacking Trips from the Western Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes
by William P. Ehling

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Where are your favorite places to hike, cycle, or paddle around Rochester?

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.

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