Winter Walks Around Rochester NY cover

26 Easy Winter Walks Around Rochester

Finding enjoyable things to do outside during the winter months can be challenging. With cold wind, snow, ice, and gray skies, it’s easy to stay indoors where it’s warm and cozy. But don’t worry! I have some great suggestions for winter walks around Rochester that should inspire you to get fresh air and soak up some sunshine.

Embrace the winter wonderland with these scenic walks that will leave you invigorated and refreshed. Each destination offers a unique perspective of the Rochester area’s natural beauty, from snow-covered parks to picturesque waterfronts.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Creek & River Walks

Winter Walks in Hidden places: Turning Point Park snow winter
Turning Point Park

1. Turning Point

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the 24-mile Genesee Riverway Trail. It’s the perfect spot to observe the river’s winter wildlife and landscape.

Channing Philbrick Park
Channing H Philbrick Park

2. Channing H. Philbrick (Linear) Park

As Irondequoit Creek passes through Channing H Philbrick Park, it drops 90 feet over one mile, producing the cascades that make this park unique. The Irondequoit Creek Trail runs through the length of the park.

Winter Walks in Monroe County Ellison Park Rochester NY
Ellison Park

3. Ellison Park

Take the Indian Landing Trail—a 1.5-mile easy walk over level terrain full of history—from the location of an old trading post (Fort Schuyler) to the presumed famous Butlers’s Rangers hideout.

Winter Walks in Black Creek Park
Black Creek Park

4. Black Creek

There are several trailheads and several places to park your car at Black Creek Park, one of the largest of Monroe County’s 23 parks, second only to Mendon. Both parks are well known for their sledding hills.

Corbetts Glen winter walk
Corbett’s Glen

5. Corbett’s Glen

Nestled in between an expressway and two highly trafficked roads near the Penfield/Brighton Town borders, Corbett’s Glen Nature Park is a glorious green space in a suburban jungle.

Inland Walks

Winter Walks in Cumming Nature Center
Cumming Nature Center

6. Cumming Nature Center

Winter is a beautiful time of year at Cumming Nature Center. Enjoy 15 miles of groomed ski trails and a 3-mile loop for snowshoeing. Hiking trails are available if there’s not enough snow to ski.

Winter Walks  through Genesee Country Village
Genesee Country Village

7. Genesee Country Village

Sundays in January and February

Visitors can enjoy sledding on the Great Meadow, walks around the Historic Village—the buildings are not open—snowshoeing in the wintery woods, warm beverages and snacks in the toasty Meeting Center, and more.

Winter Walks  along Mendon Ponds Park birdsong trail
Mendon Ponds Park

8. Mendon Ponds

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park, with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands, and glacially created landforms. Walk along the Birdsong Trail with plenty of black oil sunflower seeds and peanuts—the chickadees and nuthatches will land right in your hand.

Tinker Park Winter trail
Tinker Nature Park

9. Tinker Nature Park

Tinker Nature Park comprises 68 acres in Henrietta with a 1.2-mile flat perimeter trail for jogging, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, or walking. Skis and snowshoes are available to rent in the Nature Center from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for $3 a pair when significant snow is on the ground.

Seneca Park Zoo winter walking
Seneca Park Zoo

10. Seneca Park Zoo

The Seneca Park Zoo is open all year! And while many animals prefer to stay comfy-cozy inside or in a den, some species, such as polar bears and Amur tigers, enjoy the long, cold Rochester winters. The Zoo is a great place to go if you feel intimidated walking alone.

The paths, as best as possible, are maintained for walkability, lessening the risk of falling. The staff is helpful, and there are enough people around to feel safe, but not so many as in summertime when it can feel overwhelming.

MacKay Wildlife Preserve Caledonia NY
MacKay Wildlife Preserve

11. MacKay Wildlife Preserve

The preserve is the perfect place to take a quiet walk in the winter woods, hearing only the sound of crunching snow under your boot. The pathways feel natural, like trails the deer had created in their search for food and water—paths of least resistance.

Ganondagan Winter Walk
Ganondagan Long House

12. Ganondagan State Historic Site

The longhouse may only be open May 1–Oct 31, and the Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan is closed until mid-February, but the trails are always available from dawn to dusk! Bring your boots or snowshoes and stick to the flat trails on Boughton Hill for an easy winter workout with a spectacular view. Ganondagan is the original site of the most significant 17th-century Seneca town, which at its peak had 150 longhouses.

Walks Along the Pinnacle Range

Sunken Garden at Warner Castle Rochester NY
Sunken Garden at Warner Castle

13. Sunken Garden

When you stroll around the back of Warner Castle and down the lawn, you’ll discover the Sunken Garden. It’s a peaceful retreat any time of the year. Behind the garden, you’ll find Highland Park Bowl—an outdoor amphitheater used for summertime concerts, Shakespeare in the Bowl, and Movies in the Park. But in the wintertime, it’s a great spot for sledding.

Highland Park Reservoir in December
Highland Park

14. Highland Park

Highland Park was designed to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional. Enjoy winter’s quiet serenity among the evergreens.

Cobbs Hill Reservoir walking parth winter

15. Cobb’s Hill & Washington Grove

No matter the weather, season, cloud cover, or time of day, I love looking out over the treetops at the Rochester skyline. Encircling the reservoir is a .7-mile flat, paved path perfect for winter walks. Cobbs Hill and Pinnacle Hill are two of the original five Pinnacle Hills in the Pinnacle Range—a glacial moraine created by the retreating Wisconsin Glacier 10,000 years ago. And it may feel like you’re walking on top of a glacier!

The trail through Washington Grove takes you by the colorful graffiti-tagged water towers and winds through a quiet grove of ancient oaks. Because of the Pinnacle Range, all major infrastructure, like the Erie Canal, subway, and expressway, were routed around the area, leaving this beautiful area untouched by development.

Jogging in Mount Hope Cemetery
Jogging in Mount Hope Cemetery

16. Mount Hope Cemetery

It may seem odd to think of a cemetery as a family-friendly destination, but Mount Hope Cemetery is as much park-like as its nearby neighbor, Highland Park. The shapes and shadows are exaggerated when covered in a blanket of snow.

Waterfall Walks

Letchworth-Upper-Falls-wintertime-1
Letchworth Upper Falls

17. Letchworth

When visiting Letchworth in winter, start at the Glen Iris Inn (closed for the season) to easily view the Middle Falls. The Castile entrance to Letchworth State Park is usually open all year but may be closed in extreme weather. You should check the park’s website before you go. If the lower road is open, you can drive to the parking lot below Upper Falls for a view from the car or walk along the Genesee River to appreciate the icy-mist-covered trees as they sparkle in the sun. The Humphrey Nature Center is open year-round and has a restroom, Wi-Fi, and warmth. Though the Glen Iris Inn is closed, you can still check out the ice volcano that forms in the fountain after several days of freezing temperatures. North of Castile, the park is ideal for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

High Falls Rochester NY Genesee River winter waterfall
High Falls

18. High Falls

High Falls is the waterfall’s name and the district where it’s located.  Few cities in America have an urban waterfall that defines its skyline. High Falls takes on a unique personality in winter. Please note that the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge will remain closed for maintenance until 2024. However, the falls can still be viewed from the Genesee Brew House.

Taughannock Falls observation area
Taughannock Falls

19. Taughannock Falls

A flat trail leads along the creek to the base of the waterfall. The canyon presents a unique winter scene depending on the amount of snow melt or temps below freezing. Watch your step as you approach the fall’s base, as it will be icy from the mist.

Glen Park
Glen Park

20. Glen Park Falls

Glen Park has a handicap-only parking lot with a direct view of the falls, and the pathways are paved to walk to the falls. A larger parking lot is down the street. Glen Park is also one of my favorite places to enjoy an autumn walk.

Niagara Falls Winter NY USA Horseshoe Falls
Niagara Falls

21. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is stunning in every season, and I highly recommend visiting during different times of the year to experience the unique beauty each season offers. During winter, when temperatures drop significantly and remain low for several weeks, the falls can appear completely frozen. Despite the chilly weather, it’s a fantastic time to visit and enjoy the park’s beauty with fewer tourists. You may feel like you have the whole park to yourself and have a greater chance of spotting black squirrels, commonly found in the area. For the best experience, we recommend spending your time on Goat Island.

Unique Winter Landscapes

Webster Park Pier frozen

22. Webster Pier

Frigid temperatures and ferocious winds create wicked art along Lake Ontario. Webster Park Pier is just one example, but head toward your favorite spot along the shoreline to observe nature’s creativity firsthand.

If you’re looking for a place to observe the lake from the comfort of your car, places like Webster Park, Sodus Point, Oak Orchard Light, and B. Forman Park are ideal. While most lakefront property is private or requires a walk to view the lake, these spots allow you to enjoy the view without stepping out of your toasty-warm car.

Letchworth Ice Volcano
Letchworth State Park

23. Letchworth Ice Volcano

If the temperature has been below freezing for an extended period, head to Letchworth! The Glen Iris Inn keeps its fountain running all year, creating a fascinating ice volcano. The Castile entrance to Letchworth State Park is usually open all year, but it may be closed in extreme weather. You should check the park’s website before you go.

Winter Events & Activities

Letchworth Humphrey Nature Center fire pit winter
Humphrey Nature Center

24. First Day Hikes

January 1

Celebrate the start of the New Year with a First Day Hike. Whether you prefer a guided or self-guided hike, January 1st offers the perfect opportunity to connect with nature.

Lake Ontario Polar Plunge
Lake Ontario Polar Plunge

25. Polar Plunge: Freezin’ for a Reason!

February

Even if you don’t take the plunge, you must witness it! The party-like atmosphere on the frozen shore of Lake Ontario is a great way to shake winter’s funk.

Maple Sugrar kettle fire
Cumming Nature Center

26. Maple Sugar Season

March

Wandering the maple groves and through the sugar shacks and shops to taste the most delicious New York State harvest is a sweet way to get outside at the end of winter.

Explore More

18 Wonderful Winter Walks in Monroe County

These winter walks in Rochester and Monroe County will inspire you to time outside, breathing in cold, fresh air and soaking up a little sun.

Read more

Kindling Community: A Guide to Finding Rochester’s Cozy Fireplaces

I’ve curated a list of spots around the city perfect for quiet reading or community engagement next to a comforting fireplace.

Read more

11 Best Places to Rent Snowshoes Around Rochester

If you’re looking to spend time outdoors, give snowshoeing a try. There are places around Rochester to rent and learn how to use them.

Read more

Escape Winter: 5 Warm & Cozy Places

With tropical temperatures or cozy environments, these Rochester-area destinations offer pleasant snowy-day getaways—at least for a few hours.

Read more

Snow Sports: 6 Ways to Stay Active in Winter

Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, skating, and tubing are fun winter activities that offer exposure to fresh air and sunlight.

Read more

Wintertime in Rochester

It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s dark. It’s wintertime in Rochester! Here are a few suggestions to help embrace our winter season.

Read more

If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but the same amount of snow.

Where are your favorite winter walks?

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.

5 thoughts on “26 Easy Winter Walks Around Rochester”

  1. wow !!! What a wonderful list of Interesting, Exciting, Educational things to do in and around Rochester, I’ll e 90 in March and I’m interested in Exploring These Wonderful Sights and Places. I had no idea what is right around me, and I’ve lived in Chili, NY for over 50 years. Thank You so much for publishing this Information, I am going to Visit most of these places (As God Allows me to do) before my 100th Birthday, Thanks Again. Art Reimherr.

  2. Genesee Valley Greenway…….Start in Avon off Route 20 West, near the split with Route 5. Hike, bike, ride, run for miles and miles. Linear trail following the old GVCanal.

    1. Oh yes! I agree, Chas, all of our rail trails are excellent walks. We just did a portion of the Lehigh Valley Trail from River Road in Caledonia to the river where it meets the Greenway at Wadsworth Junction and the Genesee River. And the Erie-Attica from Barilla in Avon is another great place to connect with the Greenway.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *