Genesee Riverway Trail In New York

Here is everything you need to know about the Genesee Riverway Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New York
  • Length: 15 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: City of Rochester
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Genesee Riverway Trail is a scenic pathway that stretches along the Genesee River in upstate New York. The history of this trail dates back to the early 19th century when the Genesee Valley Canal was constructed. The canal, completed in 1840, was a major transportation route that connected the Genesee River with the Erie Canal, allowing for the transportation of goods and people between the Great Lakes and the Hudson River.

As the canal era came to an end in the late 19th century, the Genesee Valley Canal was abandoned and eventually transformed into a railroad corridor. The railroad played a crucial role in the region’s industrial development, transporting goods and raw materials to and from the numerous factories and mills that lined the riverbanks.

In the late 20th century, as the industrial landscape changed and the railroad became less prominent, the idea of repurposing the railroad corridor into a recreational trail gained traction. The Genesee Riverway Trail project was initiated in the 1980s, with the goal of creating a multi-use trail that would provide residents and visitors with a scenic and accessible route along the river.

Over the years, the Genesee Riverway Trail has undergone significant development and expansion. Today, it spans approximately 24 miles, passing through the city of Rochester and several surrounding towns. The trail showcases the natural beauty of the Genesee River, with sections that wind through lush forests, picturesque parks, and urban landscapes. It has become a popular destination for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts, offering a unique opportunity to explore the region’s history and natural heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Genesee Valley Park – Located in Rochester, New York, this park serves as a major access point to the Genesee Riverway Trail. It offers parking, restrooms, and picnic areas.

2. Maplewood Park – Situated in Rochester, Maplewood Park is another access point to the trail. It features beautiful scenery, a pedestrian bridge, and parking facilities.

3. Turning Point Park – Found in Rochester, Turning Point Park is a popular access point to the Genesee Riverway Trail. It offers parking, restrooms, and a fishing pier.

4. Genesee Valley Park – Lower Falls – This section of Genesee Valley Park provides access to the Lower Falls of the Genesee River. It offers parking, picnic areas, and scenic views.

5. Letchworth State Park – Located in Castile, New York, Letchworth State Park is a major access point to the Genesee Riverway Trail. It offers parking, camping facilities, and numerous hiking trails.

6. Mount Morris Dam – Situated in Mount Morris, New York, the Mount Morris Dam provides access to the trail. It offers parking, visitor center, and scenic views of the Genesee River.

7. Portageville Entrance – This entrance is located in Portageville, New York, and provides access to the trail. It offers parking and scenic views of the Genesee River Gorge.

8. Sonyea State Forest – Found in Dansville, New York, Sonyea State Forest serves as an access point to the trail. It offers parking and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing.

9. Genesee Valley Greenway State Park – This state park stretches along the Genesee River and provides access to the trail at various points. It offers parking, camping facilities, and scenic views.

10. Lagoon Park – Situated in Geneseo, New York, Lagoon Park is an access point to the trail. It offers parking, picnic areas, and opportunities for fishing and boating.

Transportation Available

1. Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) – Public bus service in the Rochester area.
2. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
3. Lyft – On-demand ridesharing service.
4. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service.
5. Genesee Valley Transportation – Charter bus and shuttle services.
6. Zipcar – Car-sharing service with vehicles available for rent by the hour or day.
7. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service.
8. Genesee Riverway Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service specifically for the Genesee Riverway Trail.
9. Genesee Riverway Trail Pedicabs – Pedicab service offering rides along the Genesee Riverway Trail.
10. Genesee Riverway Trail Segway Tours – Guided Segway tours along the Genesee Riverway Trail.


The amenities available at the Genesee Riverway Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available at various points along the trail, including at designated trailheads or nearby parks.

2. Parking: There are several parking areas available for trail users. These parking lots are located at different access points along the trail, making it convenient for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: While camping is not directly available on the Genesee Riverway Trail, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where visitors can set up their tents or RVs. Some popular camping options near the trail include Letchworth State Park and Genesee Valley Park.

4. Picnic areas: The trail offers numerous picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy a meal. These areas are equipped with picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills. Some popular picnic spots along the trail include Turning Point Park and Maplewood Park.

5. Water fountains: There are water fountains available at various points along the trail, allowing visitors to stay hydrated during their journey.

6. Bike racks: The trail provides bike racks at different locations, making it convenient for cyclists to secure their bikes while taking a break or exploring nearby attractions.

7. Information kiosks: Information kiosks are placed at various points along the trail, providing visitors with maps, trail information, and other useful resources.

8. Scenic overlooks: The Genesee Riverway Trail offers several scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Genesee River, waterfalls, and surrounding landscapes.

9. Interpretive signage: Throughout the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, ecology, and points of interest along the Genesee Riverway.

10. Dog-friendly areas: The trail welcomes leashed dogs, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the trail and the facilities available at nearby parks or attractions.

Nearby Services

1. The Strathallan Rochester Hotel & Spa – Upscale hotel with a spa, offering comfortable lodging near the Genesee Riverway Trail.
2. The East Avenue Inn & Suites – Affordable hotel providing convenient accommodation options for trail visitors.
3. The Distillery – Casual American restaurant and bar serving a variety of food and drinks near the Genesee Riverway Trail.
4. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – Popular BBQ joint offering delicious smoked meats and a lively atmosphere close to the trail.
5. The Owl House – Vegan-friendly eatery featuring creative dishes and a cozy atmosphere near the Genesee Riverway Trail.
6. Highland Hospital – Nearby medical facility providing emergency services for any trail-related incidents.

Genesee Riverway Trail Difficulty Notes

The Genesee Riverway Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. The trail spans approximately 24 miles, providing a diverse and scenic route along the Genesee River in New York. While the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, there are some sections that feature gentle inclines and uneven terrain. Additionally, the trail passes through urban areas, requiring users to navigate through city streets and intersections. Overall, the Genesee Riverway Trail offers a manageable challenge for outdoor enthusiasts of various skill levels, providing a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Features And Attractions

1. High Falls: Located in downtown Rochester, High Falls is a stunning 96-foot waterfall that offers a breathtaking view. It is one of the most iconic landmarks along the Genesee Riverway Trail.

2. Genesee Valley Park: This expansive park is situated along the Genesee River and offers beautiful scenic views. It features walking trails, picnic areas, sports fields, and a golf course.

3. Lower Falls: Located just south of downtown Rochester, Lower Falls is another impressive waterfall along the Genesee Riverway Trail. It offers a serene and picturesque setting.

4. Maplewood Park: This historic park is known for its beautiful gorge and stunning views of the Genesee River. It features walking trails, a rose garden, and the famous “Kissing Bridge.”

5. Turning Point Park: Situated at the mouth of the Genesee River, Turning Point Park offers panoramic views of Lake Ontario and the river. It features boardwalks, fishing piers, and wetland habitats.

6. Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse: This historic lighthouse, located in Charlotte, offers a glimpse into the region’s maritime history. Visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of Lake Ontario and the Genesee River.

7. Seneca Park Zoo: While not directly on the Genesee Riverway Trail, Seneca Park Zoo is located nearby and offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about various animal species. It is situated within Seneca Park, which also offers scenic views of the river.

8. Corn Hill Landing: This historic district in Rochester is located along the river and offers a charming mix of shops, restaurants, and residential areas. It provides a great spot to relax and enjoy the river views.

9. Genesee Riverway Trail Pedestrian Bridge: This iconic bridge spans the Genesee River, connecting the east and west sides of Rochester. It offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding area.

10. Genesee Valley Greenway: While not directly part of the Genesee Riverway Trail, the Genesee Valley Greenway is a nearby trail that follows the Genesee River for 90 miles. It offers scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks throughout its length.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
3. Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs, are not permitted on the trail.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
5. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
6. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please dispose of trash in designated bins.
7. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
8. Fishing is permitted in designated areas only, following state fishing regulations.
9. Swimming or wading in the Genesee River is not recommended.
10. The trail may have seasonal restrictions during winter months or inclement weather.

Seasonal Information

The Genesee Riverway Trail, located in Rochester, New York, offers a picturesque and diverse experience for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. However, many visitors find that spring and fall are particularly delightful seasons to explore the trail.

In spring, the Genesee Riverway Trail comes alive with vibrant colors as the trees and flowers begin to bloom. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or simply strolling along the river. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Genesee River, which swells with the melting snow and spring rains, creating a mesmerizing sight. Birdwatchers will also be delighted by the variety of migratory birds that pass through the area during this time.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the Genesee Riverway Trail. As the leaves change into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow hues, the trail becomes a scenic wonderland. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it ideal for long walks or bike rides. Fall foliage enthusiasts will find themselves captivated by the beauty of the surrounding landscape, especially when the trees reflect their vibrant colors onto the tranquil waters of the Genesee River.

It is important to note that the Genesee Riverway Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During winter, some sections of the trail may be closed due to snow and ice, making it unsafe for visitors. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website for any closures or updates before planning a visit during the colder months. Additionally, some parts of the trail may have temporary closures for maintenance or construction purposes, so it is always a good idea to stay informed about any potential disruptions.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Entrances: The Genesee Riverway Trail provides multiple entrances that are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways that are smooth and suitable for wheelchair travel.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available along the trail, ensuring wheelchair users have accessible facilities.
4. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are provided near the trail entrances for individuals with disabilities.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: The trail offers rest areas with benches at regular intervals, providing wheelchair users a place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy outdoor dining.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail for hydration needs.
8. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear and visible signage is provided along the trail, ensuring wheelchair users can easily navigate and find their way.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints and overlooks along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the beautiful views.
10. Accessible Trail Experiences: The Genesee Riverway Trail aims to provide an inclusive experience for all users, including wheelchair users, by ensuring accessibility throughout the trail system.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or straying into unsafe areas.
2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and watch for any potential hazards or suspicious activities.
3. Travel in groups: Whenever possible, walk, run, or bike with others to enhance safety and deter potential threats.
4. Carry a cell phone: Have a fully charged phone with you for emergencies or to report any incidents.
5. Use well-lit areas: Stick to well-lit sections of the trail, especially during nighttime, to improve visibility and deter criminal activity.
6. Follow traffic rules: If cycling, obey traffic laws, signal your intentions, and yield to pedestrians.
7. Wear reflective gear: Increase visibility by wearing reflective clothing or accessories, especially during low-light conditions.
8. Stay hydrated: Bring water with you to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather.
9. Use sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen before heading out.
10. Carry identification: Have your ID or any necessary medical information with you in case of an emergency.
11. Be cautious of wildlife: Respect the natural habitat and keep a safe distance from any wildlife you may encounter.
12. Report any suspicious activity: If you notice anything unusual or potentially dangerous, report it to the appropriate authorities.
13. Stay on marked trails during flood conditions: Avoid areas prone to flooding and follow any trail closures or warnings during extreme weather.
14. Be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians: Share the trail and be considerate of others by giving them ample space and warning when passing.
15. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know your intended route and estimated time of return.
16. Carry basic first aid supplies: Have a small first aid kit with you to address minor injuries or emergencies.
17. Respect private property: Stay on public trails and respect the boundaries of private properties adjacent to the trail.
18. Secure your belongings: Keep personal items secure and out of sight to deter theft.
19. Be prepared for weather changes: Dress appropriately for the weather and carry extra layers or rain gear if needed.
20. Follow any posted trail rules and regulations: Observe any specific guidelines or restrictions posted along the trail for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

Conservation Notes

The Genesee Riverway Trail, located in western New York, is a significant natural resource that requires conservation efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability. As a designated National Recreation Trail, the conservation status of the Genesee Riverway Trail is of utmost importance. The trail spans approximately 24 miles, following the course of the Genesee River, and is home to diverse ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

Conservation efforts for the Genesee Riverway Trail focus on preserving and protecting the natural environment along the trail. This includes the conservation of the river itself, as well as the surrounding forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The Genesee River is a vital waterway that supports a variety of fish species, including trout and bass, and serves as a critical migratory route for birds. Conservation initiatives aim to maintain water quality, prevent pollution, and protect the river’s natural flow to sustain these ecosystems.

Additionally, the Genesee Riverway Trail is home to numerous plant species, some of which are rare or endangered. Conservation efforts aim to protect and restore these plant communities, ensuring their survival and promoting biodiversity. The trail also provides important habitat for various wildlife species, such as deer, foxes, and migratory birds. Conservation measures include the preservation of natural habitats, the control of invasive species, and the promotion of sustainable land management practices.

Overall, the conservation status of the Genesee Riverway Trail is crucial for maintaining the ecological integrity of this natural resource. Ongoing efforts to protect and preserve the river, its surrounding habitats, and the diverse plant and animal species that call it home are essential to ensure the trail’s sustainability for future generations to enjoy.

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