Genesee River - Downtown Loop Trail

  Genesee Valley Park through downtown, Rochester
Parking:  Genesee Valley Park, off Moore Drive, near the  Roundhouse Pavilion
Alternate Parking: Genesee Waterways Center, 145 Elmwood Avenue
Genesee Valley Park, off Genesee Street
Riding Time:  1 hour
Length:  7-mile loop
Difficulty:  Easy, mostly level
Surface:  Paved
Trail Markings:  A few sporadic signs
Facilities: Picnic pavilions in Genesee Valley Park, benches along trail, food at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Restaurant in downtown
Dogs:   OK on leash
Admission:   Free
Contact:  City of Rochester, Bureau of Parks and Recreation
400 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, NY 14613

This wonderful loop trail encompasses the Genesee Valley Park, Genesee River Trails, and sections through the University of Rochester. It takes you along the eastern side of the river heading into downtown and along the western side heading back to Genesee Valley Park. The loop described here is actually a series of trails. Portions of the riverbank trails are maintained by Monroe County, others by the University of Rochester. The Genesee River Trail is maintained by the City of Rochester, Bureau of Parks and Recreation. The small section of Erie Canalway Trail is maintained by the New York State Canal Corporation. Together they�ve developed a perfect loop for bike riding.

As we rode, we watched the U of R sculling team practice, while workers hauled trees from the river and piled them on barges. Parts of this path on the west side of the river follow old railroad beds. In downtown you�ll pass the original Lehigh Valley train station, now used by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Restaurant. In the 1830s, before the railroads, this land held the Genesee Valley Canal, which joined Rochester with the southern tier of New York.
You�ll pass through the River Campus of the University of Rochester. Construction of this campus began in 1927 after the University obtained it in a trade with Oak Hill Country Club for a portion of land east of the city. In the thirteenth century, the River Campus lands housed an Algonquin Indian village of bark cabins and farm fields.

The pedestrian bridge that spans the Genesee River has been a crossroads for decades. Rock ledges were exposed on the river bottom in this area during low water, making it a natural site for fording. Many Native American trails converged here. In the 1800s a settlement called Castletown began on the west bank. Named for the local tavern proprietor, Isaac Castle. Castletown suffered economic ruin when the Erie Canal was routed through the northern town of Rochesterville.

This ride can be shortened by cutting across the Ford Street bridge. This bridge was repaired to its early 20th century splendor in 2002 and is a beautiful sight to behold. To lengthen your ride, combine it with the Genesee Valley Park Loop (#6) or add it to a stretch of the Erie Canalway Trail (#40). For a true adventure, combine your bike ride with a ride on the boat Sam Patch, or rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the Genesee River.

Distance Between Major Roads:                                               

Genesee Valley Park to Ford Street 2.6 miles
Ford Street (east bank) to Court Street 0.7 mile                                       
Court Street to Ford Street (west bank) 1.4 miles
Ford Street (west bank) to Elmwood Avenue 1.7 miles
Elmwood Avenue to parking lot 0.6 mile


Sam Patch Tour Boat, 12 Cornhill Terrace, (585) 262-5661 
Canoe/Kayak Rentals: Genesee Waterways Center, 141 Elmwood Avenue, (585) 328-3960 
Canalside Rentals, South Wedge Dock (behind Time Warner offices), 

Trail Directions

� From the parking lot, head west toward the Genesee River.
� Bear right (N) toward the towers of the University of Rochester and Elmwood Avenue.
� As you approach Elmwood Avenue, bear left to go under the bridge.
� The path winds back to street level.
� Pass a river overlook platform.
� At the University of Rochester information kiosk, bear left, downhill.
� Pass the back of the University of Rochester chapel.
� Ride under the pedestrian bridge, then uphill along Wilson Boulevard.
� Ride under an abandoned railroad bridge.
� Notice the grand view of downtown Rochester down the river to your left.
� Pass a residential area, then the Episcopal Church Home.
� Ride under Ford Street. You are now in Genesee Gateway Park and have ridden 2.6 miles.
� Pass the South Wedge Dock and Canalside Rentals.
� Ride under Interstate 490, then turn left onto the sidewalk of South Avenue.
� Turn left onto the sidewalk of Court Street. Pass the Lehigh Valley Railroad station built in 1905, now Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Restaurant. Rundel Library is to your right. You�ve now ridden 3.4 miles - halfway there!
� Cross over the Genesee River, then turn left on the paved trail immediately after the river.
� Bear left past the dam and flood control structures. This dam sits on top of what used to be Upper Falls of the Genesee River.
� Ride under Interstate 490.
� Pass the South River Docking Facility. This is home to the tour boat Sam Patch. The historic Cornhill section of Rochester is on your right across the street.
� You are now riding parallel to the Genesee River, heading south on the west side of the river.
� Ride under Ford Street.
� Pass the Church of Love Faith Center, then old factories on your right. You�re riding on the old Rochester and Southern Railroad bed.
� Pass a paved side loop to the left.
� Stay on the paved path as it heads downhill to the woods.
� The cement wall reappears parallel to the path on your left.
� Emerge from the woods parallel to Plymouth Avenue.
� Pass the University of Rochester pedestrian bridge.
� Bear left onto the asphalt path at the Genesee Valley Park sign.
� Bear left at the �Y� to go under Elmwood Avenue.
� Pass the ice rink and outdoor pool (Genesee Arena), then Genesee Waterways Center. Parking is available here.
� Proceed uphill on the paved path.
� At the first intersection, turn left. (To extend your ride, travel straight and take the next left to make a short loop.)
� Turn left and cross the Genesee River on the Waldo J. Nielson Bridge. Mr. Nielson was a leading advocate of converting abandoned railroad beds and towpaths into trails and is responsible for your being able to enjoy this ride today.
� Turn left immediately over the bridge.
� The first right toward the pavilions brings you back to the parking lot.


Date Enjoyed: ___________