Studies show that being outdoors in green spaces is great for our mental and physical health. Getting outdoors provides people with more opportunities to be active, such as taking a walk, hiking, or going for a run or bike ride. Being in nature is proven to reduce people’s stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension, and heart rate which are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Other benefits include lowered risk of depression and easier stress recovery.
In addition to mental and physical health benefits, green spaces such as parks act as carbon dioxide sinks as all the trees and bushes pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Rochester has a plethora of parks to choose from. Read on to learn more about some top parks to visit in the Rochester area.
Highland Park is always a great spot to visit, with or without the lilacs. There are plenty of paved walking trails and greenery, along with some nice wide open grass spaces for hanging out. The Lamberton Conservatory is located within the park and houses a wide variety of plants from different climates.
High Falls and Lower Falls
It’s often forgotten that Rochester has multiple waterfalls within the city. Take a stroll over the Pont de Rennes and enjoy the view of High Falls. The City of Rochester is working on turning the area into a state park so enjoy it before it becomes a tourist hot-spot!
Lower Falls is farther north and is easily viewed from Lower Falls Park, very close to the Maplewood Rose Garden.
Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park is located at the southern end of River Campus and is a great spot for walking or biking along the Genesee River and the Erie Canal. There’s also plenty of wide open grass spaces for activities such as playing games or having a picnic.
Durand Eastman is a perfect spot for hiking and a beach day! There are hiking trails surrounding the multiple lakes within the park and a stretch of sandy beach along Lake Ontario. There’s also a golf course nearby and Seabreeze Amusement Park.
Mendon Ponds Park
Mendon Ponds Park is located south of the City of Rochester. It’s the largest park on this list and features many hiking trails, some of which convert into cross country skiing trails in the winter. There are also multiple ponds, with Hundred Acre Pond being a popular kayaking spot. Wild Wings is located at the edge of the park and hosts a bird of prey facility for those birds that cannot survive in the wild.
Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)
Photo Credit: Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)