GENESEE RIVERWAY TRAIL:
EL CAMINO TRAIL:
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 4, 2015
Length: Genesee Riverway Trail: West Side; 14.1 miles
Genesee Riverway Trail: East Side; 5.5 miles
El Camino Trail; 2 miles
Difficulty: Genesee Riverway Trail: West Side; Moderate. Paved trail. Southern section flat. Northern section has some steep hills with a sidewalk & stone-dust section.
Genesee Riverway Trail: East Side; Easy. Flat paved trail with a short Bike Lane section.
El Camino Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.
To Start from Ontario Beach Park [Northern end]; From the junction of I-390 and I-490 in Rochester head north on Route 390 to exit 27A. Travel east along the Lake Ontario State Parkway for 3 miles. Turn left on Lake Ave and travel 0.7 miles. turn right into the Ontario Beach parking lot. Park in the far left corner where the trail begins next to the Genesee River.
To start from Turning Point Park parking lot [North Central]; From Route 390 take exit 25 to Route 267/249 east. Follow to end and turn right on Dewey Ave. After 0.5 miles turn left on Stone Rd which merges with Stonewood Ave. Turn right on Lake Ave ad follow 0.3 miles. Turn left on Boxart St and follow to parking lot.
To Start from Maplewood Park [Central]; From Route 390 take exit 24 to Route 104 east. Travel 2.8 miles to the Maplewood Drive exit. Turn left on Bridge View Dr and travel underneath Route 104. The parking lot is on your left. The trail runs along the right side of Bridge View Dr.
To Start from Genesee Valley Park; South [Southern end]; From I-390 take exit 16 (westbound) or 16A (eastbound) to East River Rd heading west. Travel through the traffic circle and take your first right into Genesee Valley Park; South. Keep right at the first two intersections. Cross a bridge over a river and park underneath the highway. Follow the trail left then right to a concrete pedestrian bridge over the canal. This brings you to Genesee Valley Park; North and the Canalway Trail. Right takes you along the Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester. Head straight along the Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo to an intersection next to another pedestrian bridge. The Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo continues left on the bridge over the Genesee River. Continue straight for the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side. Cross the Genesee Valley Park; West-North Bridge over the Genesee River to Genesee Valley Park; West. This brings you to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side and Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo junction.
The Genesee Riverway Trail follows the Genesee River from Ontario Beach Park where the river flows into Lake Ontario south along the West Side of the river, past 3 waterfalls and the gorge, through downtown Rochester to Genesee Valley Park and the Erie Canal. It also follows the East Side of the river north from Genesee Valley Park and the Erie Canal through downtown Rochester. You can then continue north following the El Camino Trail, which follows the old CSX RR line through the Butterhole Neighborhood to Seneca Park where a pedestrian bridge brings you back to the West Side of the river. The trail links nine historic districts and individual landmarks including the 1842 Erie Canal Aqueduct and the 1822 Lake Ontario Lighthouse. You have access to the Genesee Valley Greenway , Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester , Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo and the Lehigh valley Trail; North Branch off the Genesee Riverway Trail. For more information visit; GENESEE RIVERWAY TRAIL and EL CAMINO TRAIL .
Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side
Starting from Ontario Beach Park; At the corner of the parking lot next to Ontario Beach Park and the Port of Rochester will be a sculpture of a sailing vessel. This is the start of the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side.
Note; If you travel left (north) following the cement path between the Park and the Genesee River you'll come to a jetty jutting into Lake Ontario. This is where the river flows into the lake. You can follow this jetty to a small lighthouse after 0.6 miles.
Heading right (south) a wide paved trails
travels alongside the river and port. Informational signs along the trail. You
come to the Port of Rochester complex. As
of August 2015 the Port of Rochester
was under construction, so the detour may take you along different routes).
Note; You can connect to the Lake Ontario State Parkway Trail from here.
Turn left past a map board and continue to the
Note; A paved trail right leads up to the Turning Point Park parking lot (off Boxart St).
Continue straight along the river and you soon begin another long gradual assent. Just before you level off look left to spot a stream cascading down the ridge. Come to an intersection at 3 miles.
Note; Right brings you to the Turning Point Park parking lot.
Trail turns inland passing by the Riverside Cemetery before coming to Lake Ave at 3.6 miles.
Note; In 2016 construction is slated to begin building a trail alongside Lake Ave to complete a gap in the trail.
The trail then follows a sidewalk along Lake Ave before coming to Maplewood Dr at 4.8 miles. Turn left along the sidewalk and you'll pick up a paved trail on your left which takes you around a parking lot and across Hanford Landing Rd at 5 miles. The trail improves as it winds alongside Maplewood Drive. It continues alongside Bridge View Drive. Come to a crosswalk at 5.4 miles that leads over to the Maplewood Park parking lot. You then come to an intersection.
Note; Left takes you to a pedestrian bridge high over the river, then up to Seneca Park where you can visit the SENECA PARK ZOO , as well as, connect to the El Camino Trail.
Continuing alongside Bridge View Drive you travel underneath Route 104 (nice views of the river far below) and then continue along Maplewood Drive before coming to an intersection at 6 miles. Right takes you out to Seneca Pkwy. Continue straight along the stone-dust trail. Rejoin the paved trail at 6.4 miles as you travel through the southern end of Maplewood Park. Bear left through the park past picnic tables, a Rose garden and a restroom in the shape of a fort before coming to Driving Park Ave. Here you'll find a bike repair station. The trail continues across the road but there is no crosswalk and heavy traffic so head right to pick up a crosswalk. After crossing the road the trail heads down through Lower Falls Park. Bear left at the intersection for overlooks of the falls and Station 5 Power House. Informational signs. Continue down the trail to Middle Falls and Station 5 Dam at 6.9 miles which you cross over the river on. You then begin a slow climb up along the East Side of the river. Come to a map board at the end of Brewer St and follow straight out to St Paul St at 7.4 miles. Head right following a Bike Lane.
Note; Both the East & West Sides of the Riverway utilize this Bike Lane. Soon you will cross back over to the West Side.
Pass by a promenade overlooking the river at 7.6 miles.
Note; Across the St Paul St is Scrantom St and the start of the El Camino Trail. I describe that trail on the return trip via the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side.
As you pass by a parking lot on your right there will be a gap between two lots. This is where a rail line crossed over the river and under the road. It's the same rail line utilized by the El Camino Trail. Future plans call for reusing this section of rail bed and the old RR bridge over the river as part of the El Camino Trail.
Come to Bausch St and turn right along a sidewalk to a cross-light just before the bridge. Cross the street and continue right across the river along a separated path. Pick up the paved trail on your left at 8.3 miles. Continue south above the West Side of the river. Look up to spot the iconic Kodak building in the distance. The trail takes you underneath an old relic of the industrial age before dropping you at Brown & Mill streets. Continue along the wide sidewalk along Mill St past old brick buildings. Turn left on Platt St and come to the cobblestone Browns Race at 8.7 miles and the High Falls Heritage Area.
Note; Straight ahead is the Pont de Rennes Pedestrian Bridge across the river. It affords nice views of the river gorge and High Falls. It crosses over to Granite Mills Commons and High Falls Terrace Park which I describe via the return trip along the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side.
Map and informational board located here. After checking out the bridge and views continue right (south) along Browns Race alongside the old canal and past the HIGH FALLS INTERPRETIVE CENTER and MUSEUM before coming to Browns Race/Triphammer Forge Site.
Brown's Race was a small power canal that was constructed in 1815 near the High Falls. The water that was diverted along the race was used to power water wheels for various mills that were built in and around the cliffs just north (up-river) of the High Falls on the west side of the Genesee River. Later the street Browns Race was run alongside the canal, where it now hosts a series of bars and night clubs, and various businesses. The race is still visible, running under a metal grate, alongside and below the street. You can also visit an excavated mill, and still the waterwheel and waterworks that were use to power industry in the 19th century.
Continue out to Commercial St where you get a good view of the canal straight ahead then head right on-road (sidewalk available). Turn left on Mill St and travel underneath the RR bridge out to Allen St North. Head right to State St and head left underneath the Inner Loop to Allen St South. Cross the street and head left along a wide sidewalk. Travel past a parking lot gate and come to the end of a dead end road on your right. This is Front St. Follow the sidewalk right along Front St out to Andrews St and cross over to a wide sidewalk. Head left and you'll return to the Riverway Trail; Downtown Section on your right at 9.2 miles. A ramp brings you up to a wide paving stone plaza along the river called Genesee Crossroads Park (If biking don't use the lower path by the river or you'll have to carry your bike up some stairs). Pass by a pedestrian bridge over the river and past First Federal Plaza bringing you to E Main St. Across the street is Aqueduct Park, however, there is no exit from the park. Instead head right along E Main St (on-road/sidewalk) to Exchange Blvd and head left. Cross E Broad St and continue along Exchange Blvd (the section along the river from E Broad St to Court St has stairs) to Court St. Head left returning to the cement trail and a map board at 9.8 miles. Continue south past a dam and underneath the arched I-490 bridge. The trail then follows the river away from downtown past the Corn Hill section of Rochester becoming paved at 10.3 miles where you travel between the river and Exchange Blvd. I believe this section of trail follows the rail bed of the old Lehigh Valley RR. Travel underneath Ford St and lose Exchange St. Pass by an old RR mileage marker JC384/R1 (Jersey City 384 miles/Rochester 1 mile). The trail splits at 11.1 miles. Left travels briefly along the river before rejoining the trail. At 11.4 miles the trail bears right.
Note; Straight takes you across an old RR bridge (Lehigh Valley RR I believe) over the river to the East Side. Worth checking out before continuing south along the West Side.
The trail heads into the woods and follows the bend of the river. Come to S Plymouth Ave and continue left (south) where you'll find a short Bike Lane (sidewalk available). After passing by a pedestrian bridge over the river bear left along a wide cement path as the road turns right. You'll pick up the paved trail again and continue south along the river. Continue along the paved trail as a sidewalk splits right. Travel underneath Elmwood Ave and past the Genesee Valley sports Complex and Genesee waterways Center. This is all part of Genesee Valley Park; West. You then come to an intersection for the Genesee Valley Park; West-North Bridge over the river at 13 miles.
Note; This bridge takes you over to the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side, as well as, the Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester. You'll use this bridge to loop back north. However, the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side continues south for a bit more.
Continuing south the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side and Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo (marked with yellow arrows on the trail) utilize the same trail. After only 0.1 miles you come to another intersection and the start of the Genesee Valley Greenway . Map board for the Genesee Valley Greenway located here. Now all 3 trails combine and head left along the river. Cross a pedestrian bridge over the Erie Canal. Look right to spot an old RR bridge and left to see the confluence of the Erie Canal and Genesee River. Come to another intersection at 13.3 miles.
Note; The Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo heads right.
Continue straight where the trail splits just below I-390.
Note; The Genesee Valley Greenway bears right.
Continue straight underneath I-390 along the tree line of the river. Travel past the Fire Training Facility where you'll spot metal airplane fuselages and buildings before rejoining the Genesee Valley Greenway and the end of the trail at 14.1 miles. I returned to the Genesee Valley Park; West-North Bridge and crossed over to Genesee Valley Park; North and the start of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side.
Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side
Staring from Genesee Valley Park; West-North Bridge; From Genesee Valley Park; North the paved Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side travels north alongside the Genesee River. Pass playgrounds, picnic tables and pavilions before coming to an intersection. Head left underneath Elmwood Ave and exit the park. You come up alongside Wilson Blvd and pass by a promenade overlooking the river. Continuing along the river you'll come to another intersection at 1 mile. Right brings you up to a pedestrian bridge over the river, as well as, access to Rochester University. Continue straight underneath the bridge where the trail travels above the river and alongside Wilson Blvd. Come to another intersection.
Note; Left takes you up to an old RR bridge (Lehigh Valley RR I believe) over the river to the West Side. Worth checking out before continuing north along the East Side.
Bear right under the bridge at 1.5 miles and you'll pass through Bausch & Lomb Riverside Park. Travel underneath Ford St at 2.4 miles and you'll be afforded great views of downtown Rochester. Two trails travel side by side along the river (paved and cement). Travel underneath the arched I-490 bridge and enter the Riverway Trail; Downtown Section. Pass by a dam across the river where the two trail merge and bring you out to South Ave at 3.2 miles. This next section through town is along a One-Way street (no off-road trail) so you'll need to utilizes a wide sidewalk. Head left along South Ave and you come to Court St. Look left to spot an old brown brick building "LVRR" 1905 (Lehigh Valley RR). Old train station? Continue straight past the Rochester Public Library crossing E Broad St and E Main St where South Ave becomes St Paul St. Next you'll come to Bragdon Pl at 3.6 miles.
Note; Left takes you down Bragdon Pl to the Riverway Trail and a pedestrian bridge over the river, however, if biking you'll need to continue straight because the river path contains stairs.
Continuing north along St Paul St you'll cross Andrews St before coming to a major intersection. Cross a bridge over the Inner Loop and travel through a tunnel underneath a RR Line where you pick up a paved trail on your left. This brings you to the Granite Mills Commons parking lot at 4.1 miles.
Note; Left takes you to a narrow cement trail with blue railings. From here you have two side options;
1. Head left along the trail (old RR ties still intact along the trail) to High Falls Terrace Park which affords a scenic overlook of High Falls.
2. Head right to the Pont de Rennes Pedestrian Bridge which crosses the river to High Falls Heritage Area. It affords nice views of the river gorge and High Falls.
Continuing north from the parking lot along St Paul St (sidewalk) you pass by the GENESEE BREWERY , which smells strongly of hops and where you can take a brew tour. Cross Bausch St and utilize the Bike Lane. Come to Scrantom St on your right at 4.9 miles and the start of the El Camino Trail across from an overlook of the river.
Note; You can utilize the El Camino Trail to continue north to Seneca Park where you can cross the river back to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side and continue north back to Ontario Beach Park. See Below.
Come to Brewer St at 5.1 miles and turn left. Straight ahead you'll pick up the paved trail again. Follow the trail down to Middle Falls and Station 5 Dam. Cross over the dam and you'll come to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side at 5.5 miles. This is the end of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side. You can follow the trail north back to Ontario Beach Park.
El Camino Trail
Starting from St Paul St/Scrantom St/Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side; Travel east on-road (residential/sidewalk available) along Scrantom St following the multi-colored trail signs. Just past Conkey Ave you'll pick up the El Camino Trail on your left at 0.2 miles.
Note; To your right the undeveloped rail bed heads out and underneath St Paul St to an old RR bridge over the river. Future plans call for extending the trail along this section.
The stone-dust rail trail travels north through the Butterhole Neighborhood. This is an urban trail so there are many street crossings (blue poles list the name of the street your crossing). Just past Clifford Ave is Conkey Corner Park, a pocket park with a small playground and map board. Map boards located all along the trail. Pass by some ball fields at 0.7 miles where you travel along a mix of residential & industrial corridor. At Norton St turn right to a double crosswalk (Norton/Hollenbeck Streets) returning to the trail at 1.2 miles. A bridge takes you over Route 104 where you'll find an interesting array of graffiti. Cross Collingwood Dr (last map board) followed quickly by Navarre Rd and the end of the trail at 2 miles.
Note; You can check out Seneca Park and/or connect to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side from here. I would suggest doubling back to Collingwood Dr and heading right (west) where you'll find a crosswalk over busy St Paul St. This brings you to the entrance for Seneca Park. Enter the park along a stone-dust trail beside the road. You'll pass by a set of stairs on your left that lead to the pedestrian bridge over the river but continue straight. At 0.4 miles you'll come to a paved walkway on your left that leads to the bridge over the river.
Note; If you continue straight you'll come to the SENECA PARK ZOO at 0.7 miles. Past the zoo the trail continues. I have not checked out these trails. See Map Below.
Heading left down the paved walkway you come to the pedestrian bridge and cross over the river. Looking left you'll spot the stone arched Route 104 Bridge. After crossing the bridge a ramp left takes you up to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side after 1 mile. Across Bridge View Drive is the Maplewood Park parking lot.
CLICK HERE FOR GENESEE RIVERWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EL CAMINO TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR SENECA PARK MAP
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT