Paved path pier cover

20 Paved, Gravel, and Boardwalk Pathways for Easy Strolls

These paved pathways and boardwalks around Rochester are ideal for people using strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs or managing other mobility challenges. They are free from steps, stairs, and significant elevation changes, providing a smooth surface and a unique view for all.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

City of Rochester

Free Rochester Day Trip Ideas: Highland Park
Highland Park

1. Highland Park

Frederick Law Olmsted designed this park in 1888, along with Genesee ValleySeneca, and Maplewood, to be enjoyed year-round.

Every pathway, every tree, every vista, and every relationship between the land and water is intentional.

The pathways are paved, but they are not flat. They meander over rolling hills. I often see parents with strollers taking advantage of the more physically challenging climbs while enjoying the smooth path.

The walkways through the magnolias and south of Highland Drive through Beikirch Park tend to be more level.

Cobbs Hill Reservoir paved walkway
Cobb’s Hill

2. Cobb’s Hill Reservoir

The view from Cobbs Hill, the quiet, the breeze, the friendly nature of people walking and taking it all in—nothing else quite like it in Rochester.

Encircling the reservoir is a .7-mile paved walking path perfect for an easy stroll.

Turning Point Park
Genesee Riverway Trail

3. Genesee Riverway Trail

The Genesee Riverway Trail extends from Ontario Beach Park south through the City of Rochester to Genesee Valley Park.

It runs through Maplewood and Seneca parks, High Falls, Turning Point, and other places to stroll on a paved path or boardwalk. Consider starting your walk to the Turning Point boardwalk at Petten Street by the marina near O’Rorke Bridge.

To start at the south end, park at the Boxart Street lot. From here, most folks walk north and down the steep, paved road descending to the river’s edge.

But you can also take the train-grade path to the river’s edge by heading south from the parking lot about 0.5 miles and taking the north trail at the fork near Brewster Harding Park. Going this way will take you along a seasonal creek through Bullock’s Woods.

According to the City of Rochester website, “The trail consists of three main parts: 1) the 2,968 ft land-based trail that utilized an old railroad bed to transition from the top of the bank to the river’s edge, 2) a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, and 3) an all-new land-based trail, 3,406 feet in length, through Turning Point Park North and adjacent to the Genesee Marina.”

Mount Hope Cemetery fall date
Mount Hope Cemetery

4. Mount Hope Cemetery

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

The newer south section is paved, while the older north section is a more rustic combination of paved roads, brick, and cobblestone.

Ontario Beach Park gazebo boardwalk
Ontario Beach Park

5. Ontario Beach Park

Ontario Beach Park is located on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Genesee River.

Paved and boardwalk pathways allow for an easy walk along the lake shore and pier. Grab some ice cream at the original Abbott’s Frozen Custard!

Rochester Secret Hidden Sidewalk
Rochester’s Secret Hidden Sidewalk

6. The Hidden Sidewalk

From Ontario Beach Park, head west on Beach Ave. Across from Clematis St. and Cloverdale St. are the two main entrances, with several smaller sidewalks between roughly every fourth house. The 0.4-mile-long paved sidewalk is open to pedestrian traffic only–no bicycles or skates.

Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park

7. Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park located at the intersection of the Erie Canal and Genesee River. The 800-acre park was designed to connect the various green spaces and waterways together using a series of winding paths.

The Genesee Riverway Trail connects with the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail and Erie Canalway Trail in the park, making it a perfect place to kick off a walk, run, or ride.

Memorial Art Gallery story walk
Memorial Art Gallery Storywalk

On the museum’s campus, you’ll find the Sculpture Park, including The Creation Story and The Unicorn Family.

Around the perimeter is the Poets Walk and Story Walk. This “urban gathering space” in the Neighborhood of the Arts welcomes you to explore the grounds for free and use your imagination to interact with the elements.

It’s a great starting point for exploring more art and architecture in the surrounding neighborhoods and side streets connecting University, East, and Park Avenues.

Monroe County

Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach

9. Hamlin Beach State Park

Hamlin Beach has seven miles of beautiful walking paths along the Lake Ontario shoreline. Each park area has different amenities, with plenty of places to take a break in the shade.

North Ponds Park fitness stops
North Ponds Park

10. Charles E. Sexton (North Ponds) Park

The one-mile loop trail circumnavigates both ponds. It is perfect for a stroll, jog, or ride with little change in elevation along its route. With eight fitness stops optimized for varied ability and height, it could easily be part of a daily workout routine.

Durand Eastman Park blossoming trees
Durand Eastman in May

11. Durand-Eastman Park

Though the trails around the lakes are not ideal for wheels, the paved roads through Durand Eastman are. A section between Log Cabin and Zoo roads is closed to vehicular traffic and absolutely perfect for a walk in the arboretum.

You can also enjoy the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail, a paved sidewalk along 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline, which continues on a boardwalk leading up to Seabreeze. The entire trail, from Irondequoit Bay to the Genesee, is roughly 7 miles.

Erie Canal Pittsford Schoen Place path
Erie Canal, Pittsford

12. Erie Canal

Folks tend to think of the Erie Canal as a single destination. But the canal spans 100 miles between Lockport and Lyons, with Rochester in the middle, making exploring easy. Pick a canaltown like Brockport, Spencerport, or Fairport to walk through historical areas.

Or choose an entry point like Greece Canal Park or Meridian Center to walk or bike the trail’s more natural surroundings.

Stop at one of the canal locks—like Lock 32 Canal Park in Pittsford—and watch the boats go through.

Depending on where you start, you can easily have a different experience every time.

Places in Monroe County with Admission Fees

There are a few benefits to paying the admission fee to walk around these places with wide, well-maintained walkways and no vehicular traffic. Plus, the opportunity for education and entertainment.

Seneca Park Zoo walkway
Seneca Park Zoo

13. Seneca Park Zoo

The Seneca Park Zoo is only a tiny part of the greater 297-acre Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893.

The Zoo’s walkways are paved, and meander through the animal exhibits. As you head deeper in toward the lions and elephants, there are more hilly sections.

Both the North and South trails begin at Trout Pond. The south trail ends at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee River and connects Seneca to Maplewood, her sister Olmsted-designed park.

The bridge can be accessed using ramps on both sides of the river.

Genesee Country Village picket fence street
Genesee Country Village

14. Genesee Country Village

Although the streets are not paved, they are about as hard-packed as stone dust can be. If you go during the week, you’ll be able to enjoy a pleasant, quiet stroll free from significant events and crowds.

Greater Rochester

Canandaigua City Pier
The end of City Pier

15. Canandaigua Lake

Take a walk down Canandaigua City Pier and check out the boat houses. Continue along the lake shore toward Kershaw Beach Park and the Canandaigua Lady, a double-decker steamboat. Lagoon Park offers a hard-packed gravel pathway to explore the Canandaigua Outlet wetlands

Vitale Park on Conesus Lake

16. Conesus Lake

Enjoy a stroll through Vitale Park on the north shore of Conesus Lake. The paved walkways meander through the park, with fabulous views, beautiful landscaping, and cool summer breezes.

Geneva Seneca Lake boardwalk
Geneva

17. Seneca Lake

Enjoy a wonderful walk along Geneva’s Seneca Lake shoreline, starting near the Finger Lakes Welcome Center. From here, you can walk right into Seneca Lake State Park. Grab an ice cream on Long Pier when you get back.

Or, take a self-guided walking tour along the sidewalks of historic South Main Street.

Skaneateles Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Co
Boutiques on US-20 in Skaneateles

18. Skaneateles Lake

The Village of Skaneateles is located at the northern tip of the lake. You’ll find dozens of boutiques along Genesee Street (US-20) and Jordan Street specializing in art, home decor, toys, clothing, and food.

The traffic through Skaneateles seems used to having pedestrians crisscrossing US-20 regularly, so take advantage of the many crosswalks.

Enjoy the lake-town vibe and the view of Skaneateles Lake as you stroll along paved sidewalks and pathways through the parks and down the pier.

Niagara Falls NY USA Terrapin Point Horseshoe Falls
Terrapin Point and Horseshoe Falls

19. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls State Park walkways connect the Visitor Center via a pedestrian bridge to Goat Island, Luna Island, and Three Sisters Island. You can stroll along the paved pathways from Horseshoe Falls to American Falls. Visit during the week or off-season to avoid the crowds.

East Aurora Vidlers awning

20. East Aurora

East Aurora feels locked in time. From Vidler’s 5-and-10 to the Aurora Theatre and the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement, the early 1900s are alive and well on Main Street US-20A and ready to enjoy.

A walk down Main Street will show you everything the village of East Aurora has to offer. You’ll find unique boutiques, restaurants, and historic sites worth stopping for.

For example, the Millard Fillmore House is the only home a president still built with his own hands.

The Roycroft Campus and the Elbert Hubbard Museum around the corner will give you insight into one of America’s most successful Arts and Crafts communities. The Campus contains nine original fourteen structures, including the Inn, the Chapel, the Print Shop, the Furniture Shop, and the Copper Shop.

If you want to extend your walk, head up Riley Street to the Fisher-Price Toy Store. Kids or no kids, it’s a playful place for everyone! Fisher-Price was founded in East Aurora in 1930 and is still headquartered here today.

You can also enjoy Knox Farm State Park just outside the village. Stroll along the paved pathways between the barns and past the six-acre dog park to the estate mansion.

Tinker Park trail
Tinker Park
Corbetts Glen path
Corbett’s Glen
Thomas Creek Watlands boardwalk
Thomas Creek
Brickyard Trail
Brickyard Trail
Lollypop Farm gravel path
Lollypop Farm
Webster Arboretum bridge
Webster Arboretum

Here are a few more ideas

I wanted to include these destinations as additional options, even though they are not paved. While gravel, stone dust, and some smaller roots are challenging for wheels (especially ones with sleeping toddlers), these places are relatively flat, without steps or stairs.

They may work well for people who desire engaging walks but experience limited mobility challenges.

Brickyard Trail, Brighton

Corbett’s Glen, Brighton

Lollypop Farm Petting Area, Fairport (seasonal)

Tinker Park, Henrietta

Thomas Creek Wetland Walk, Fairport

Webster Arboretum, Webster

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Where are your favorite paved pathways for easy strolls?

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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