The Lehigh Valley Trail is part of a developing system of rail-trails in western New York. The segment from Victor to Rush offers nearly 16 miles of serene wooded and rural areas. Plus, it is literally expanding horizons for trail enthusiasts. The trail connects on the western end with the Genesee Valley Greenway and on the east end to the Auburn Trail. About midway, at Rochester Junction, the trail joins the Lehigh Valley Trail–North Branch. This developing trail will eventually connect to the Erie Canal Towpath about 5 miles to the north.
Some call this gem of a rail-trail the Black Diamond Trail, which stems from the Lehigh Valley Railroad's nickname, "The Route of the Black Diamond." The railroad's 435-mile main line between Buffalo and New York City was used for hauling anthracite coal (black diamonds) from Pennsylvania.
In Victor you can park just off Victor Mendon Road at the current eastern terminus of the trail. If you park a little farther west (at the Phillips Road Trailhead), you'll also have access to the Auburn Trail as well as the Seneca Trail. The Lehigh Valley Trail's newly decked trestle bridge is visible from the parking area; west of the bridge is the short connector to the Auburn Trail.
Heading west, the Lehigh Valley Trail is a smooth, crushed-stone path. Equestrians are encouraged to preserve the trail surface by using the 5-foot grassy space that parallels the trail. This is the trail's most recently built section. You have open views of meadows and some industrial park buildings, but trees soon enclose the corridor.
Around mile 1 you reach a small park with picnic tables in a pavilion and a section of preserved railroad track. You might want to leave the trail to explore the quaint hamlet of Mendon and pick up a snack. Beyond the park are the town's athletic fields.
As the woods become denser, watch for deer. From this point on the view from the trail alternates between wooded sections and farm fields with occasional horse paddocks. Near the midpoint a kiosk in Rochester Junction tells the history of the railroad spur that ran to Rochester. From here the Lehigh Valley Trail–North Branch heads toward Rochester, with some on-road sections and other trail segments as yet incomplete.
As you approach pretty Honeoye Creek and its forested wetlands keep your eyes open for red-winged blackbirds. At about mile 10.5 in Rush Veterans Memorial Park is a viewing platform above the creek. If you've worked up an appetite, you'll find places to eat in Rush just off the trail, but don't miss the trail's grand finale. At its western end, before connecting in a T-bone fashion with the Genesee Valley Greenway, an old railroad bridge gives you a grand perspective on the lovely Genesee River.
To reach the Phillips Road Trailhead near Victor: From the New York Thruway (Route 90), take Exit 45 and follow Route 96 South. Turn right on Main Street in Fishers (Route 42), then left on Phillips Road. Go about a mile, watching for a trail crosswalk on the road. The first parking area is for the Auburn Trail; the second is for the Lehigh Valley Trail.
Access is also possible in Rush and Mendon, and were the trail crosses the following roads: East River, Plains, Quaker Meeting House, Chamberlin, West Bloomfield and Mile Square.