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View of Rochester from the University of Rochester campus Where to run in Rochester

If you're new to the area or just visiting, you'll find plenty of great places to run. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites.

If you're a local runner and you have a favorite place to run that's not on this list, just tell us about it: Send an email with the location and a brief description to the Rochester Running Page webmaster.

Note: Map links show the general location of each site, rather than specific route(s) to run when you get there.

The Erie Canal Towpath

The Erie Canal Towpath Known locally as simply "the Canal Path", this is one of the most popular places to run in the Rochester area. It's flat except for a few small rises at the locks, easily accessed at many parks along its length, and has no car traffic.
Mostly asphalt paved, it turns into cinder East of Pittsford. There are advantages and disadvantages to both surfaces.
You can't drive your car on your canal path route to determine the distance of your run like you can on the public roads. No problem: We've compiled a list of distances between various points on the path and created a table with which you can plan your run.

Table of canal path distances.

Cobbs Hill

Cobbs Hill Park Between the intersections of Monroe Ave./Clover St. and Monroe Ave./Highland Ave. is Cobbs Hill Park and the Cobbs Hill reservoir. From the Highland Ave. entrance, an access road leads up to the top of the reservoir and all the way around. You can run a walking path around the reservoir (totally flat, 6/10th of a mile per lap) or run the access road itself (pretty good hill and 3/4 of a mile per lap).
There are also some trails accessible from the Eastern side of the reservoir access road.

Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope Cemetery Situated at the corner of Mount Hope Blvd. (Rt 15) and Elmwood Ave. (across from Strong Memorial Hospital), Rochester's grand old cemetery is a great place to run. Miles of little-traveled road with plenty of hills to give you a good workout. Many of the roads are kept clear throughout the winter.

Mendon Ponds Park

Click here to see some pictures of Mendon Ponds Park Take Clover St. (Route 65) South from Pittsford Plaza about 5 miles and you'll come to one of Monroe county's finest parks. Mendon Ponds Park has a labyrinth of cross-country ski trails which are just perfect for trail runners. Its roads and trails are the site of several races throughout the year, as well as the weekly Five-and-Diners runs during the summer months.

Irondequoit Bay Park East

(Submitted by Ron Wille) Great place to run if you like or need hills! The hills are steep and so the downhills are very fast and furious. Plan on either go up or down all day - nothing is flat. Start from the YMCA in Webster, on Bay Road across the street from Bay Town Plaza. From the Y, head straight back to find one of several trailheads, all of which will take you down to the bay. Once you hit the bay turn left and stay parallel to the bay for about 1/4 mile. You will pass a big tin boat-house on you way to the rest of the trails. On the trail forks stay to the left - this will take you into the park and the rest of the trails. Note: You can get lost here, but if you walk east or west you will hit Empire Blvd or the Bay suffering nothing more than inconvenience and a long day.

Pittsford Rail Trail & Canal Path

(Submitted by Ron Wille) Starting from Park Ave Bike Shop on Monroe Ave there is an old railroad bed behind the store that has been converted to a trail. If you take this trail you end up in the village of Pittsford behind the new Del Monte Lodge. From here make your way to the canal. Once on the canal head (right) away from Pittsford toward Brighton. Stay on the canal path and look for the old canal turn off. It will be on you right about a mile past the Monroe Ave underpass. Take this trail and you will be heading back toward Pittsford Plaza. If you run into the old Erie Canal locks you missed the turn. The old canal trail takes you across French Road and behind Pittsford Plaza dumping you in the parking lot of the Old Spring House restaurant. All you need to do now is cross the street and head back over to Park Ave Bike.

Highland Park

Click here to see more pictures of Highland park Known for the Lilac Festival and Lilac 10k race every May, Highland park is a good centrally-located park for runners who don't want to run a lot of miles and who don't mind some hills. Most of the good running is to be found on paved trails throughout the park. This is a fairly small park, so don't expect to do long runs here.

The Genesee Valley Greenway

The Genesee Valley Greenway web page The Genesee Valley Greenway follows the path of the abandoned Genesee Valley Canal and Pennsylvania Railroad, passing through five counties, several villages and seventeen townships as it makes its way 90 miles from lake Ontario to Letchworth State Park.

See the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway web page.

The Crescent Trail

The Crescent Trail map Another treasure for trail running enthusiasts, the Crescent Trail winds its way for miles and miles through the town of Perinton, one of Rochester's Southeastern suburbs. There are many easily-accessible access points, most with their own parking.

Main Crescent Trail map.

Crescent Trail southwest map.

Crescent Trail northeast map.

Crescent Trail Indian Hill map.

Black Creek Park

(Submitted by Tom Bowers) My favorite: Black Creek Park, off Union Street, Route 259 in Chili. You can literally run for several miles without ever taking the same trail twice. The scene of the Y2k Master's X-C Championships, and also several high school meets. It features a massive hill (approximately 200 meters), plus a beautiful run beneath large trees along an escarpment overlooking Black Creek below. Two other trails feature heavily wooded areas (I call one the "Blair Witch Woods" because of its similarity to the movie), two lakes, four floating bridges, and- in season - your fair share of deer and fox. A great place to wind down after a hectic day.

Durand Eastman Park

On the shore of lake Ontario, to the North of Rochester, is Durand Eastman Park. Plenty of great cross-country ski trails make for great running during the warmer months.

Ellison Park

(Submitted by Ron Wille) This is a great park on the eastern edge of Rochester.

Little known park entrance on Old Penfield Road. Trail takes you down into the woods where you follow a stream into the main part of the park. You end up on the south side of Blossom Rd. and on the west side of the main stream. From here you can aim for the Daisy Flower Mill restaurant where you can cross the road and look for the horse trail on the right. Watch your step!
This takes you around the northeast side of the park. Stick to the outside of the park and stay to the right running around the north side of the Esker, crossing the stream by the horse farm and then up the hill by the old log fort. I then run parallel to Linden up to the top of the sledding hill. Once I reach the top I then run down the sledding hill staying to the far right and parallel to Blossom this brings me back to a horse trail. At the first opening cross Blossom into a small wooded section which then crosses Rich's Dugway. Look for another little known trail left of the maintenance house, which brings you back to the where you entered the park. As you exit this trail look to your right (near the lodge) and you will see the old toboggan run. If you run along the woods, keeping them to your right, you will find your way back you where you entered the park and the trail that will lead you back to Old Penfield Road.

Thousand Acre Swamp

(Submitted by Ron Wille) Off Jackson Road in Penfield between Atlantic Blvd and Plank Road lies Thousand Acre Swamp. I know everyone is thinking SWAMP! But really it is a great little place to run. The entrance it near the Penfield Ambulance building. I know, I know... this is sounding worse and worse. Once there, you will find trails that take you into, around and over the swamp. The scenery and serenity are worth the trip. Not a good place for group runs, but solo and looking for something off the beaten path, this is a great place.

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