GENESEE RIVERWAY TRAIL:

EL CAMINO TRAIL:

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:        October 20, 2021

Length:                  Genesee Riverway Trail: West Side; 13.6 miles

                                Genesee Riverway Trail: Lower East Side; 5.7 miles

                                Genesee Riverway Trail: Upper East Side; Southern Section; 0.7 miles. Northern Section; 1.7 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 stone-dust section.

                                Genesee Riverway Trail: Lower East Side; Easy. Flat paved trail with some BIKE LANE sections.

                                Genesee Riverway Trail: Upper East Side; Southern Section; Easy. Flat stone-dust trail. Northern Section; Moderate. Hard packed dirt hiking trail. No Bikes.

                                El Camino Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.

Directions:     

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 Section]; 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 Section]; 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 [Southern End]; From I-390 take exit 17 to Route 383. Head left (north) to Genesee St. 

For the Genesee Valley Park; Northwest parking area; Turn right down Genesee St. Parking lot entrance is on your left. Follow the paved trail south from the parking lot.

             For the Genesee Valley Park; Northeast parking area; Continue straight on Elmwood Ave and cross over the Genesee River. Take an immediate right on Moore Rd into the park. Parking lot will be on your right. 

The Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side 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. You can then Loop back along the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side ("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. A short section of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side continues north through Seneca Park, however a large gap remains past here. At Seneca Park you can cross the Maplewood Park-Seneca Park Pedestrian Bridge over the Genesee River back to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side, which heads north back to Ontario Beach Park. 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 , Erie Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester , Erie 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 [Northern End]; Restrooms, carousel & picnic pavilions in the park. At the NE corner of the parking lot next to Ontario Beach Park and Rochester Harbor will be a sculpture of a sailing vessel. This is the start of the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side. Green wayfinding signs guide you along the trail.

Note; If you travel North following the cement path between Ontario Beach Park and the Genesee River/Rochester Harbor 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 South the wide paved Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side travels alongside the Genesee River/Rochester Harbor. Informational signs along the trail. You quickly come to the Port of Rochester complex.

Note; You can continue straight in front of the Port of Rochester complex to a large dock, then travel left around the complex past a small marina to rejoin the trail.

Head right past the Port of Rochester complex along a wide cement trail and come to a small marina. Travel straight to a Map Board, then left around the marina and alongside N River St. This brings you down to River St for a short on-road section right. Look right to spot a green "Genesee Riverway" sign pointing left where you’ll pick up the trail again next to a Map Board.

Note; You can connect to the Lake Ontario State Parkway Trail from here.

Turn left past a Map Board to the wooden dock, the right following the dock south along the river. You'll pass by the old RR Station. Here you pick up the paved trail as it follows the RR tracks and river traveling underneath the Colonel Patrick O'Rourke Memorial Bridge (Pattonwood Dr). The trail splits when you reach the River Street Marine parking lot at 1 mile. Bear right. The trail now pulls away from the river and begins a long assent along a wooded ridge. You then descend down to a long boardwalk at 1.7 miles. This is all part of Turning Point Park. The long boardwalk (0.7 miles long) winds through the river and marsh before returning you to land and an intersection at 2.4 miles. 

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 Brewster Harding Park parking lot.

Trail turns inland passing by the Riverside Cemetery before coming to Lake Ave at 3.6 miles. 

The paved trail continues left alongside Lake Ave. At 4 miles you cross Lake Ave and continue left (one-way each side of street). Just before Winchester St at 4.5 miles you pick up a BIKE LANE. A cross-light will take you back across Lake Ave to Maplewood Dr at 4.8 miles. Follow the sidewalk along Maplewood Dr and you'll pick up a paved trail on your left which takes you around a parking lot and across Hanford Landing Rd. The trail improves as it winds alongside Maplewood Drive. Come to an intersection where the trail continues straight alongside Bridge View Drive. You then come to a crosswalk and intersection at 5.4 miles.

Note; Right, across Bridge View Drive, leads to the Maplewood Park parking lot.

Note; Left, a paved trail takes you north to the Maplewood Park-Seneca Park Pedestrian Bridge which travels high above the Genesee River bringing you to Seneca Park on the east side of the river. From here 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 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 at 6.6 miles. Here you'll find a BIKE STATION. Crosswalk where 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. Cross the dam to the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side of the river and travel uphill to a Map Board at the end of Brewer St. Follow Brewer St straight out to St Paul St at 7.3 miles. Head right following a BIKE LANE.

Note; There is no trail along the West Side of the river along this section.

Pass by a promenade overlooking the river at 7.5 miles. Map Board.

Note; To your left, across St Paul St, is Scrantom St where you can connect to 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 St Paul St. 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

Note; Since I was last here improvements have been ongoing with the Roc The Riverway project. See; ROC THE RIVERWAY MAP 

Come to Bausch St at 7.9 miles. To your left is the small Lomb Memorial Park. 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 Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side on your left at 8.2 miles. Continue south above the river, passing by an overlook. 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 (pavers) and come to Browns Race at 8.5 miles and the High Falls Heritage Area

Note; Straight ahead is the Pont de Rennes Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the river. It affords nice views of the Genesee 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. Brown's 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 Power Canal straight ahead, then head right on-road (low traffic). Turn left on Mill St and travel underneath the RR bridge out to Allen St North. Spot a narrow tunnel straight ahead (Use Caution; no crosswalk) that takes you underneath the the Inner Loop to Allen St South and cross over to the sidewalk (Use Caution; no crosswalk).

Note; If you don't feel comfortable crossing this road or traveling through the tunnel you can bypass by heading right to State St, then left underneath the Inner Loop to Allen St South. Cross the street and head left along a wide sidewalk. This will bring you across from the tunnel.

Head left 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 Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side: Downtown Section on your right at 8.9 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 at Major Charles Carroll Plaza and past First Federal Plaza bringing you to E Main St at 9 miles. Cross over into Aqueduct Park, where you'll need to detour along Graves St, traveling underneath an arch and out to Aqueduct St. Left along Bank Pl to Exchange Blvd, then left to E Broad St (BIKE LANE).

Note; Access to the next section of trail is a set of stairs. To bypass continue straight along Exchange Blvd, then left on Court St back to the river and the paved Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side: Downtown Section on your right. Same Mileage.

Head left up E Broad St (BIKE LANE) back to the river and the paved Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side: Downtown Section on your right down a set of stairs. Here you can look left to spot the the old subway and Erie Canal tunnel under Broad St. 

Note; The Erie Canal: Second Genesee Aqueduct, also known as the Broad Street Aqueduct, is a historic stone aqueduct located below the Broad Street Bridge. It was constructed in 1836–1842 and originally carried the Erie Canal over the Genesee River.  It is one of four major aqueducts in the mid-19th century Erie Canal system. In 1927, a roadbed was added to carry automobile traffic and named Broad St. It also carried a part of the Rochester Subway .

Continue south above the river through the Blue Cross Arena & War Memorial before crossing Court St to a Map Board. You then travel past a dam on your left and head underneath the arched I-490 bridge as you leave the downtown area. The trail then follows alongside the river 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

Note; In Oct 2021 they built a new river wall along this section as part of the Roc the Riverway project. Not sure what other improvements were made.

Travel underneath Ford St where the trail pulls away from Exchange St at 10.3 miles. Pass by an old RR Mileage Marker JC384/R1 (Jersey City 384 miles/Rochester 1 mile). The trail splits at 10.8 miles. Left travels briefly along the river before rejoining the trail. The trail bears right continuing along the river.

Note; Straight takes you across an old RR bridge (Lehigh Valley RR I believe) over the river to the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side

The trail heads into the woods and follows the bend of the river. Come to S Plymouth Ave and continue left along a sidewalk. BIKE LANE available. After passing by a pedestrian bridge over the river (Map Board) 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. Come to an intersection for Genesee Valley Park at 12 miles.

Note; Right brings you to the Genesee Valley Park S Plymouth Ave parking lot and a Map Board. This trail loops back out to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side.

Continue straight and travel underneath Elmwood Ave and past the Genesee Valley Sports Complex and Genesee Waterways Center. This is all part of Genesee Valley Park; Northwest (North of I-390 & Erie Canal & West side of Genesee River). You then come to an intersection for the Genesee Valley Park; Genesee River Bridge over the river at 12.6 miles.

Note; Right leads to the Genesee Valley Park; Northwest parking area.

Note; If you cross the Genesee Valley Park; Genesee River Bridge it brings you to Genesee Valley Park; Northeast (North of I-390 & Erie Canal & East side of Genesee River) where the Erie Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester heads right and the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side, where you can Loop north back to Ontario Beach Park (See Below), heads left.

Continuing south the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side & Erie Canalway Trail; Rochester-Buffalo all utilize the same trail traveling south between the Genesee River and Genesee Valley Park; Northwest. You quickly come to a junction. This is the official start of the paved Genesee Valley Greenway Mile 0 according to the map. All three trails then continue left crossing over the Erie Canal via a pedestrian bridge. Look right to spot an old RR bridge and left to see the confluence of the Erie Canal and Genesee River. You then come to another intersection just below I-390 at 12.9 miles.

Note; The Erie 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 13.6 miles

Note; I returned to the Genesee Valley Park; Genesee River Bridge and crossed over to Genesee Valley Park; Northeast (North of I-390 & Erie Canal & East side of Genesee River) and the start of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side. SEE BELOW.

Genesee Riverway Trail; Lower East Side:

Staring from the Genesee Valley Park; Northeast (North of I-390 & Erie Canal & East side of Genesee River); From the Genesee Valley Park; Genesee River Bridge 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 at 1.5 miles.

Note; Left takes you up to an old RR bridge (Lehigh Valley RR I believe) over the river to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side

Note; Since I was last here improvements have been ongoing with the Roc The Riverway project. See; ROC THE RIVERWAY & ROC THE RIVERWAY MAP for updates. Phase 1 is currently underway.

Bear right under the bridge 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. A cement trail travels next to the river, while the paved Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side parallels it. Travel past Genesee Gateway Park before heading underneath the arched I-490 bridge. This is the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side: Downtown Section. This section is new since I last was here. Roc City Skatepark located here. This section follows a cantilevered "Genesee Riverway Promenade" past a dam and above the river to Court St at 3.3 miles. Head right past the old brown brick building "LVRR" 1905 (Lehigh Valley RR). 

Lehigh Valley Railroad Station is an historic station. The Lehigh Valley Railroad built the station in 1905 but stopped using the station for passenger service in the 1950s. Later the station was used as a bus terminal and then as a night club. In the 1980s the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places

Come to South Ave and head left using the wide sidewalk (one-way street) past the Rochester Public Library.

Note; The Library promenade is being improved via the Roc the Genesee project. Under construction as of Aug 2021.

Cross E Broad St and E Main St where South Ave becomes St Paul St (2-way traffic again) before coming to Bragdon Pl. Turn left down Bragdon Pl returning to the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side at 3.7 miles. 

Note; A pedestrian bridge crosses over the river to the Major Charles Carroll Plaza. This area was under construction, as of Nov 2020, as part of the Roc the Genesee project.

The trail continues north alongside the river where a set of stairs takes you up to the Andrews Street Bridge. You can bypass the stairs by biking up a short grass embankment. Turn right out to St Paul St and head left (wide shoulder) coming to a major intersection. Here you'll continue straight along a BIKE LANE over the Inner Loop and through a tunnel underneath a RR Line where you cross over to a paved trail on your left. Travel through High Falls Terrace to the High Falls Terrace parking lot at 4.3 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 and the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side. It affords nice views of the river gorge and High Falls

Exit the High Falls Terrace parking lot back out to St Paul St and continue north utilizing a BIKE LANE. You'll pass by the GENESEE BREWERY , which smells strongly of hops and where you can take a brew tour. Cross Bausch St. Lomb Memorial Park on your right. As you pass by a parking lot on your left there will be a gap between two lots. This is where a rail line crossed over the river and under St Paul St. 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 Scrantom St on your right at 5.1 miles and the start of the El Camino Trail across from an overlook of the river. 

Note; I utilized the El Camino Trail to continue north to Seneca Park (Where the next section of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side picks up) See Below.

If you continue north along St Paul St you'll come to Brewer St and turn left. Straight ahead you'll pick up the paved Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side 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 5.7 miles. This is the end of the Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side. You can follow the trail north back to Ontario Beach ParkSee;  Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side Above.

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 at 1.1 miles, Map Board.

Note; From here you can connect to Seneca Park and the Genesee Riverway Trail; Upper East Side (See Below) by heading left on-road (residential) out to St Paul St where a crosswalk takes you over to the paved trail at the Seneca Park entrance after only 200'.  From here you can also access the Maplewood Park-Seneca Park Pedestrian Bridge which travels high above the Genesee River over to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side

The El Camino Trail quickly comes to Navarre Rd and the end of the trail at 2 miles. Left is St Paul St and a BIKE LANE.

Genesee Riverway Trail; Upper East Side:

From the Seneca Park entrance off St Paul Street; The stone-dust Genesee Riverway Trail; East Side enters the park and follows the park road. You'll pass by a set of stairs on your left that lead to the Maplewood Park-Seneca Park Pedestrian Bridge but continue straight. At 0.4 miles you'll come to a paved walkway on your left that leads back to the Maplewood Park-Seneca Park Pedestrian Bridge which travels high above the Genesee River over to the Genesee Riverway Trail; West Side.  

Continuing straight you'll come to the SENECA PARK ZOO at 0.7 miles. Past the zoo the trail continues another 1.7 miles out to Seneca Park Ave. I believe it is a narrow, dirt trail. No BikesI have not checked out these trails. See Map Below.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR GENESEE RIVERWAY MAP

CLICK HERE FOR EL CAMINO TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR SENECA PARK MAP

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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