Best parks to visit in Rochester in the fall

Fall is an amazing time to explore the many parks of Rochester, with the variety of leaf colors providing new scenery from the green summer. Getting outdoors is a great way to de-stress and improve both mental and physical health. 


Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is located directly south of the River Campus, offering picnic spots, large fields, and a connection to the Erie Canal Trail which can take you to more rural areas to the west or towards Pittsford and Fairport to the east. 


Mount Hope Cemetery

Also bordering the River Campus is Mount Hope Cemetery, the resting place of famous Rochestarians such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. If you don’t mind walking in a cemetery, there are many paved paths taking you up and down the hills, all surrounded by massive colorful trees. 


Highland Park

A bit further out from campus is Highland Park, which is widely known for hosting the annual Lilac Festival every May. It’s quite a large park with many paths and a reservoir and conservatory which I would highly recommend visiting in the winter for some warmth and tropical plants. See the above photo for what it looks like in October.


Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park requires a bit of driving, but if you can get down there it’s a great spot to spend an afternoon, or even a whole day if you pack a meal. There’s plenty of hiking trails, with my favorite being Devil’s Bathtub. Hundred Acre Pond has picnic areas, a small beach, and is a great kayaking spot. There’s also a bird of prey facility called Wild Wings you can visit where they take care of birds that cannot survive in the wild.


Turning Point Park

Turning Point Park(pictured above) also requires a bit of a drive, about 20 minutes north of the River Campus. Its main attraction is a long wooden boardwalk out on the edge of the Genesee River. If you keep following the trail you will eventually reach Lake Ontario and the beach. It’s a great spot for some bird watching and turtle spotting.


Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)

Photo by Sarah Woodams