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.
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.
Map of area around Cobbs Hill Park
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.
Map of area around Mount Hope Cemetery
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.
Map of area around Mendon Ponds Park
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.
Map of area around the Webster YMCA
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.
Map of area around Park Avenue Bike
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.
Map of area around Highland Park
The Genesee Valley Greenway
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
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.
Map of area around Durand Eastman 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
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.
Map of area around Ellison Park
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.
Map of area around the Thousand Acre Swamp