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Genesee Riverway Trail, Rochester, New York

An urban greenway system linking parks and historic districts.

From the City of Rochester

Map of new york state

The Genesee Riverway Trail is an urban off-road trail along the Genesee River through the scenic, historic and cultural heart of Rochester, linking the (statewide) Erie Canal Heritage Trail, the Genesee Greenway Trail (Erie Canal to Pennsylvania), downtown Rochester and the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario.

photo of interpretive sign
Interpretive sign along the Genesee Riverway Trail in Rochester, New York

The trail links 11 parks, (including four historic parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted), the University of Rochester, and nine historic districts. It provides public access to the river, including seven pedestrian bridges, a scenic gorge, three waterfalls, an 1842 Erie Canal aqueduct and an 1822 Lake Ontario lighthouse.

The trail links city neighborhoods, (with the lowest incomes and lowest rates of automobile ownership in the SMSA) with city attractions and services. To encourage and guide trail use, a system of 125 trail identification and wayfinding signs have been installed. In addition a trail brochure is published and distributed by the City.

photo of trail through a park


The trail is owned and maintained by the City of Rochester for public use. Support and collaboration from the citizen group, Friends of the Genesee Riverway Trail, the University of Rochester, Rochester Gas & Electric Co. and the County of Monroe have been significant.

The trail is complete from the south city line to downtown on both sides of the river (nine miles). Between downtown and Lake Ontario, it is mostly complete (four miles). An additional two miles, including a 2/3-mile long boardwalk along a dramatic gorge are under construction, to be completed in 2006.

In some areas the trail will parallel both sides of the river. In other sections the trail will cross the Genessee using the city's many bridges, including five pedestrian-only bridges. New trail links are underway. Other trails in the system include the Canalway Trail, the Genessee Valley Greenway Trail, the New York State Seaway Trail, and the proposed Charlotte / Sea Breeze Trail.

photo of trail along river
The trail runs 13 miles along the Genesee River

The Genesee Riverway Trail is intended for walking, running, bicycling, skating, skiing, and other nonmotorized uses. The trail also provides access to the river for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and bird watching.

The majority of the trail is accessible. Sections that have steep, rough, or narrow areas are noted on detailed kiosk maps or on warning signs along the trail. The trail is supported by a signage system that includes kiosks at major access points, directional signs, trail markers, and warning signs.

For more information:

City of Rochester Department of Parks:
(585) 428-6770

Department of Environmental Services, City Hall Room 300B, 30 Church St., Rochester New York 14614
(585) 428-5990
TDD: (585) 647-1598

photo of a canoe on the river

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035


Enter the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails

Photo of boardwalk in swamp
Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest (photo: Mark Musselman)

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