Exploring the Genesee Riverway Trail
The Genesee Riverway Trail, which runs through the River Campus, serves as a popular path for joggers, walkers, and bikers alike from the University and greater Rochester community. During the winter season, snow remains on the trail during to allow for cross country skiing. Scenic and conveniently located, the trail serves as a sustainable way to connect to Rochester’s historic and cultural destinations, diverse neighborhoods, and recreational spaces.
The trail extends 24 miles from the Erie Canal to downtown Rochester and Lake Ontario. It offers pedestrians access to the Genesee River, its gorge, three waterfalls, eight pedestrian bridges, and eleven parks — four of which are historic and designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Genesee Riverway Trail is also a National Recreation Trail recognized for its local and regional importance.
The trail can be used to access the Genesee River and tour the City of Rochester by kayak or canoe. From the water, historic landmarks are visible, such as the Erie Canal Aqueduct built in 1842 and the Lake Ontario Lighthouse built in 1822.
Those who want to stay close to the River Campus and Medical Center area can follow the trail to Genesee Valley Park. Genesee Valley Park also hosts walkers, runners, bikers, and picnickers from the University community. The multipurpose park is located along the eastern bank of the Genesee River at the intersection of the Genesee and the Erie Canal. University sports teams such as men and women’s rugby utilize park space for practice while other students use the space to hold study breaks and sessions when the weather proves nice.
One can also follow the trail to the High Falls, one of three waterfalls on the Genesee. During Rochester’s early industrial development, industry was powered by falling water from the High Fall. Other large waterfalls can be found along the Genesee in Letchworth State Park. Located about a one hour drive from the University, students and faculty alike often frequent Letchworth to partake in hiking and walking.
To preserve the beauty of the trail, local and community affiliated groups, such as the student organization Grassroots and the local nonprofit The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, have organized cleanup events to gather litter and debris from alongside the river.
The easiest way for University community members to access the trail is via Wilson Boulevard. Students, staff, and visitors are encouraged to utilize our campus’s natural environment by bike or foot to connect to all of what the trail has to offer. A trail guide of the Genesee Riverway Trail is available to download and print here.
Written by Darya Nicol, Class of 2016