Rochester, New York has several public parks with scenic hiking trails. This article introduces you to three of them — Tryon Park in Irondequoit, Turning Point Park in Charlotte and Channing H Philbrick Park in Penfield.
Tryon Park is practically a secret in Irondequoit. The entrance is barely visible, but once inside you will have 82 acres of woods and several trails where you will likely meet more deer than people. If solitude and rugged hiking is your thing, you will love this park. I wouldn’t recommend going here alone though; hike with a companion. It’s easy to get lost here, and if you become injured it could be a long wait before someone happens along the same trail. But this park is Mother Nature at it’s best — particularly beautiful in the fall. Walk in the woods, along the creek, and if you walk west, you’ll have a view of the Bay. Directions: Take 590N to Winton Road heading north (dead end road). Park before the bridge, on the side of the road. Tryon Park closes at dusk.
Turning Point Park in Rochester’s northwest side, is a scenic 16 mile hiking trail beginning in Charlotte. This park got it’s name for the simple reason that it is the place in the Genesee River where ships turn around. This easy walking trail winds along the banks of the Genesee River and features a 3,572 ft- long walking bridge over the River Turning Basin. Walk along the cattail lined shores and through the wooded oak forest called “Bullock’s Woods.” Continue hiking to Ontario Beach Park. Turning Point Park, located at 260 Boxart Street, is operated by the city of Rochester. There is no parking on the premises, but a small parking lot is located at the end of Boxart St., across from the ESSROC Cement Company.
It is a rare day that I (and my Pug) don’t visit Channing H Philbrick Park, known as Linear Park by area residents. This park has great short distance hiking trails. The east route trail is 1.5 miles; the west route trail is 1.0 mile. There are also many short trails that branch off along the way, but easily missed if you aren’t looking for them. The trails are scenic, following along Irondequoit Creek. This area of the Creek is known as “The Hollow” because of the one mile 90 feet drop, creating several cascading waterfalls. The Indians called the area SGOH-SA-IS-THAH, meaning “water smashing on rocks.” This is a popular hiking trail for dog owners, as there are several places along the way to take the dogs wading in the creek; people too, for that matter. If you enjoy hiking near creeks and waterfalls, you will love this park. You can easily spend the entire day here, hiking, picnicing, cooling off in the “swimming hole,” or after walking the trails, find a rock away from everyone to just and ponder. Parking and admission is free. The park is open from dusk to dawn, daily. Directions: Take 490 to exit 23 (Linden Ave. exit); head east on Linden Avenue. Go past the Panorama trail exit. The next right is Linear Park Drive; following this road will take you to the parking area.