Rochester, New York City Guide
Rochester, NY City Guide

© 1996-2015 Max Lent Communications




Seneca Park Walk

by Max Lent
Other Rochester Walks


senecapk2.jpg (16060 bytes)
View of Turning Point Park from north of the Seneca Park Trail � Max Lent 1998


Seneca Park is a long narrow, north-south oriented, park bordering the Genesee River. It is home to the Seneca Park Zoo, picnic areas, playgrounds, and miles of hiking trails. During the summer, the park is heavily trafficked by picnickers and zoo visitors. The walk that I recommend will take you quickly away from the crowds and into a beautiful area with many majestic views of the river.  Depending on when you go, you may see deer and beaver.  Perhaps you will even dine on wild berries along the way.

This walk is a gentle and pleasant.  The only uphill and downhill parts are optional side trips to the Genesee River.  It can also be a very pretty cross/country ski trip during the winter when there is good snow.


Seneca Park is located due north of the center of Rochester on the east bank of the Genesee River. It is just north of East Ridge Road off of St. Paul Street.

How to get there:

From the downtown Rochester, take St. Paul Street North. Note that St. Paul Street is one-way heading south for the first few blocks away from Main Street. Go east a block to Clinton Avenue. and take it north and follow the street signs leading to St. Paul Street North. When you pass over East Ridge Road you are close to the entrance to the park. The park entrance will be on your left (west).


Two versions of a topographical map show the north end of Seneca Park and the remaining trail to Lake Ontario:
Seneca Park low resolution and Seneca Park high resoluton.

The trail

When you enter the park, drive past the Seneca Park Zoo, continuing on the park pond. At far end of the pond the road will start to loop back. In the middle of the loop a side road cuts off to the right. Take that road and park immediately on your right. The road will be blocked by a gate just beyond where you park. Park on the right next to the baseball field.

Do not leave valuables visible in your car when you park. This warning applies to all trail parking lots everywhere. It is even more important not invite risk in heavily populated urban areas.

Leaving your car, continue north on the dirt road. Immediately on your left you will see a trail entrance. Go down the trail and bear to your right. Follow this trail north along the river. Soon you will see a set of stairs going down to the river’s edge. If you are in good enough condition to climb back up the stairs, take the stairs down into the marsh by the river and on to the river. We have seen canoers carry canoes down the stairs where they put in at the river’s edge and then floated down the Genesee River toward Lake Ontario. It looks like it would be a good float and we will try it some time and report our experience.

From the top of the stairs, go left (north). The trail will split. The left branch will take you down to the riverbank. The right branch will take you up to a dirt road/trail. At the road, turn left (north). Stop at the various turnouts from the road to clearings in the vegetation where you can view the river. Sit a while on the benches. It is often quiet enough to hear the conversations of boaters down on the river.

The people you are most likely to encounter on this trail are joggers, dirt bikers, and other walkers like yourself. Greetings are often exchanged among walkers.

You will come to a sign leading to the right that takes you into a forest and exits on the loop that is the end of the trail. We recommend taking the side trail. You will end up returning on the main train, so you won’t miss anything. The side trail exits onto the main trail at the loop that marks the end of the trail.

senecapk3.jpg (29551 bytes)
View from the forest trail at Seneca Park.  � Max Lent 1998.

If you continue around the trail you will see an exit through the fence on your right that will take you out of the park and onto an old railroad track. At this writing, the railroad tracks are being removed and the old rail bed converted to a hiking trail that will connect to Lake Ontario. We have taken this trail, when it was still a railroad track to the mouth of the Genesee River. It comes out at the east side of the Stutson Street Bridge. Because the railroad track and the bridge are being worked on or scheduled for major renovation, our descriptions may not reflect what you may encounter on your visit.

We almost always extend our walk out of Seneca Park and north along the railroad track to a viewpoint overlooking Turning Point Park. Along the way, during mid to late summer, we have seen wild blackberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, and golden raspberries.

When you arrive at the Turning Point Park overlook, you have the option of following a side trail down to the riverbank. On one occasion we saw a family of four beaver frolicking in the river near the riverbank.

On your return, if it is late in the day, you may see as many as several deer grazing in any open meadow areas.


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©1996-2015 Max Lent Communications

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