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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.
Note: Map links show the general location of each site, rather than specific route(s) to run when you get there.
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.
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).
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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 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.
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.
(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.
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.
(Submitted by Ron Wille) This is a great park on the eastern edge of Rochester.
(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.