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Snaking along the shoreline of Lake Ontario, the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail provides a smooth journey infused with the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. The nearly 7-mile trail primarily runs through Rochester and one of its main suburbs, the town of Irondequoit. Framed by the Genesee River to the west, Lake Ontario to the north, and Irondequoit Bay to the east, the area is surrounded by water on three sides, which made its unique position valuable from early on. The trail’s proximity to these and several other waterways also offers many opportunities for fishing.
For many years, the land was home to the Senecas, a tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy. Later it was pursued by the French, who were drawn to the area for its food supplies and trade benefits. Rochester and Irondequoit were founded in the early and mid-1800s, respectively. Decades later, the railroad brought trainloads of tourists to vacation along the beautiful shores and visit other attractions, such as the Seabreeze Amusement Park, which is the country’s fourth-oldest amusement park and sits right near the easternmost endpoint of the trail.
Today, representations of the region’s history can be found along the rail-trail from start to finish. From the east, you’ll begin your adventure at the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park by the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Bridge, a swing truss bridge. You’ll be greeted by a kiosk and restrooms adjacent to the trail, as well as a pathway that leads to the dazzling Seabreeze Pier and Beach. From the trailhead, you’ll head uphill on Culver Road 1 mile—traveling on the road or the sidewalk—passing restaurants and the amusement park.
At the 1-mile point, when Culver and Sweet Fern Roads meet, you will take a sharp right onto the trail, which is now an asphalt pathway and marked with a sign. You’ll be heading downhill through comfortable, tree-lined shade; the lush surroundings are courtesy of the 977-acre Durand Eastman Park. Continue roughly 0.75 mile through the park on the paved path before reaching a timber boardwalk that navigates you through Tamarack Swamp. Immediately after exiting the swamp, the path will open up to reveal Lake Ontario on your right and Durand Lake on your left. Eastman Lake quickly follows on your left. Between the lakes, you’ll spy a stark stone structure known as The White Lady’s Castle, which is rumored to be haunted. Across from the spirited structure, you’ll pass the Peace Sign Garden.
In 0.4 mile, you’ll see the sandy shores of Durand Eastman Beach appear on your right, where you can enjoy the sight of glittering waters and happy beachgoers. As you glide past, the Durand Eastman Golf Course will be on your left. This section is also punctuated by slight hills, multiple parking areas, portable bathrooms, and informative signage, both for wayfinding and learning about the area.
Following the lakeshore views, the trail becomes a concrete pathway paralleling Lake Shore Boulevard for a mile before reaching Washington Avenue. Here you will need to exit the path and cross Lake Shore and St. Paul Boulevards; a traffic light and trail signage help guide you. Turn right onto St. Paul Boulevard, and follow the concrete pathway north. Continue another 0.1 mile; at the next light, cross the street, and take a sharp left onto Pattonwood Drive. Travel 0.5 mile more on Pattonwood Drive—be mindful of the traffic into Rochester—to reach the trail’s western endpoint, marked by a kiosk and a bench shortly before the Colonel Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Bridge over the Genesee River.
For those wanting a longer adventure, or to reach parking at Ontario Beach Park, which lies along the Lake Ontario shoreline, head across the bridge’s pedestrian path to connect with the Genesee Riverway Trail via a brief marked on-street route.
To reach the eastern trailhead in Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park from Rochester, get on I-490 and take Exit 21, following signs for NY 590 N; merge onto NY 590 N. Continue 5.4 miles north on the highway; at the traffic circle, take the second exit onto Sea Breeze Dr. Continue on Sea Breeze Dr. another 1.7 miles, going through three more traffic circles. You will pass Seabreeze Amusement Park before running into Culver Road. Take a right onto Culver Road, and continue 0.3 mile. You’ll find the parking area and trailhead right before the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Bridge. The start of the trail is marked by a kiosk, which is next to a restroom and a path leading to the Seabreeze Pier and Beach.
For the western end of the trail, public parking is available in Ontario Beach Park, which is 1.1 miles away from the trail’s terminus. Follow the directions above to Sea Breeze Dr., and travel 1.1 miles, continuing on Sea Breeze Dr. through two traffic circles along the way. At the third traffic circle, take the third exit onto Durand Blvd., and continue straight as it becomes Sweet Fern Road, Pine Valley Road, and Lake Shore Blvd. After 3.3 miles, turn right onto St. Paul Blvd. then immediately turn left onto Pattonwood Dr. Go 0.9 mile, crossing the Genesee River, and turn right onto Lake Ave. After 0.6 mile, turn right onto Corrigan St. to drive directly into Ontario Beach Park’s parking lots. From the south end of the parking lot, take the Genesee Riverway Trail, which parallels River Road heading south. Follow this trail 1 mile to reach the Col. Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Bridge; cross the Genesee River. The entrance to the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail will be on your left at the end of the bridge.
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