The second part of The Biking in Rochester Series showcases the route from downtown to Lake Ontario, following the Genesee River Trail. It is 20 miles, roundtrip, from downtown to the end of the pier at Lake Ontario Beach Park and back. Actually, I’ll take us a bit further and ride along the lake shore, east to Sea Breeze – adding another 8 miles to the trip.
Although this route is not as consistently scenic as the first one, it has much better rewards, and you get more of a workout. We’ll pass by 3 waterfalls, 3 beaches, 3 lighthouses, and two piers out onto the big lake. The western portion of this route is on the Genesee Riverway trail, a mostly completely dedicated bike path such as the one on the canal. The eastern portion is on King’s highway/Goodman street…
We a start off downtown, and head north along Exchange/State Street, toward the High Falls District. This section is on city streets (riding on the sidewalk is prohibited in the center city district).
Be careful when entering the High Falls District. Even if you have the right of way, drivers from the ramps of the inner loop are rarely paying attention. Turn right on commercial street, then left on Browns Race.
Once we get to the other side, we follow the (not so nicely paved) Cataract Street to Saint Paul Street.
We then turn off to the left, and onto the Genesee Riverway Trail. A church on the left at Brewer Street marks the location of the turnoff. Watch for the Genesee Riverway Trail sign.
We then reach Middle falls, which has the Rochester Gas and Electric plant built on it. We ride right over it. There has been construction at middle falls lately, so the gates may be closed, though this is unlikely. If the gates are closed due to it being after hours, there is a phone outside the gates or a number you can call. There is a camera, and they will remotely open the gates for you, giving you enough time to cross.
The path then splits, take a left to get an extreme workout up the path to the Driving Park bridge and cross, either at the path, or to the left at a crosswalk. Alternatively, you can take the path to the right, going down then carry your bike up many flights of stairs!
We can take a detour here on a bike/pedestrian bridge, which links to the east riverbank at the Seneca Park Zoo. There you can head north into Seneca Park and more scenic (wooded) trails. You’ll also find a link (across Saint Paul Street) to the El Camino Trail.
Then at the Charlotte welcome sign , the path diverges from the sidewalk and heads downhill for a long time, ending up at Turning Point Park, a very beautiful, long, winding boardwalk on the Genesee.
Here’s the Roger Robach Community Center, which serves as a bathhouse. It has bathrooms, showers, and lockers for beachgoers. There is also a large banquet hall which can be rented and has a “Big Band Dance Series” for senior citizens.
The path west then takes an interesting turn. This is a very unique area: the path is a public sidewalk, but it passes between lakeside properties and their beach-fronts. I discovered it thanks to an amazing website called Rochester Subway (maybe you’ve heard of it?!)
This part is known as the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail, and it consists mainly of rideable sidewalks. It has a couple areas to rest with maps and history of the area. We follow the recommended trail, taking a right on St Paul Blvd, then a left onto Lake Shore Blvd.
The path joins the sidewalk at Culver Rd , and we continue north and east past Parkside Diner and Whispering Pines Mini Golf. The sidewalk on the left side of the road disappears, however, so it is a good idea to cross over and ride on the right, if you haven’t been already.
This area is called “Sea Breeze.” The pier is similar to the one at the first beach, with an anticlimactic lighthouse, but beautiful scenery. This is at the mouth of Irondequoit Bay. A small bridge to the east side of the mouth remains open to boat traffic from early April until early November. Cars wishing to cross the bay at this time period must do so south.
Unfortunately, my camera died at this point. Certainly, taking the Genesee Riverway Trail back is the least stressful, but since we are so far east and the sun is setting, it might be wiser to try a different (shorter) way back. Culver Road or Kings Highway/Goodman Street seem like decent streets to bike on. I chose Kings Highway simply because it sounded more interesting to say “I rode on Kings Highway” than “I rode on Culver Road.”
We head back west a bit to hook up with Kings Highway, taking care when crossing Lake Shore Boulevard at Durand Eastman Park.
Kings Highway is quite scenic. It feels as though you are riding though a mountainside far away from a city. The good thing is that the elevation rise is mainly in the beginning, here (you get though the pain due to gravity early). The rest of the route is not steeply uphill.
Here’s a view of Kings Highway after you get past Titus Avenue. There aren’t many shoulders on the road, but there are always sidewalks. The traffic is not too bad.
As Kings Highway morphs into Goodman Street , we enter the neighborhood of Group 14621. This area often gets a bad rep, but it is fine passing through on a bike.
Finally, I reach Goodman & Main Street and the Public Market District just before darkness falls. I take a right onto Main to get back downtown.
For more info on the Genesee Riverway Trail (and others) visit Rochester Trails
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Tags: Beach Avenue, bicycle path, bike path, Brewer Street, Colonel Patrick O'Rorke Memorial Bridge, Culver Road, downtown Rochester, Durand Eastman Park, Genesee Brewery, Genesee River, Genesee Riverway Trail, Goodman Street, hidden sidewalk, High Falls, Kings Highway, Kodak Research and Development, Lake Avenue, Lake Ontario, Lower Falls, Main Street, Maplewood Park, Middle Falls, Parkside Diner & Whispering Pines Miniature Golf, Pont De Rennes Bridge, Ryan Green, Seabreeze Amusement Park, secret sidewalk, Turning Point Park, Veterans Memorial Bridge
This entry was posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013 at 12:41 am and is filed under Reader Submitted Stories, Rochester Destinations, Rochester Images, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Exploration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.