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Located in the majestic Finger Lakes region, the Lehigh Valley Trail is a well-used gem with a sparkling future. Wandering 16.4 miles through beautiful landscapes and rich greenery, the trail connects to several other pathways and is part of an effort to create a larger trail system throughout the area. While doable on a road bike, the trail is better suited to hybrid or mountain bikes.
The path follows the former Route of the Black Diamond, a nickname given to the Lehigh Valley Railroad corridor for its role in transporting anthracite coal from Buffalo to New York City. Although the railroad discontinued operations in the mid-1970s, its nickname (the pathway is sometimes referred to as the Black Diamond Trail) and rail heritage are still part of the trail’s identity today.
At its eastern end, the trail starts in the lovely Lehigh Crossing Park in Victor. The 54-acre park marks the confluence of the Lehigh Valley Trail, Auburn Trail, and Trolley Trail and offers ample parking as well as a fishing pond, a playing field, a picnic area, and seasonal bathrooms. Helpful signs are placed around the park and along the remainder of the trail to steer visitors in the right direction.
Heading west, users will travel 0.8 mile on a stone-dust path before reaching a railroad trestle bridge at a second intersection of the Auburn Trail. In 1.6 miles, you’ll approach Old Dutch Road in Victor. For the next 1.4 miles to Mendon, horses are permitted on a parallel grass trail. In Mendon, the trail passes a cluster of youth baseball fields, restroom facilities, water fountains, a lightning protection shelter, and parking.
Continue under comfortable tree-lined shade to the Rochester Junction trailhead at Plains and Junction Roads in Honeoye Falls. Here the developing 14.5-mile North Branch of the Lehigh Valley Trail splits off and makes its way northwest, past the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. Ending at Genesee Valley Park, the North Branch connects with the Genesee Riverway Trail, the expansive Erie Canalway Trail, and the University of Rochester. In addition to its many connections, Rochester Junction also supplies visitors with parking areas, bathrooms, water fountains, and the opportunity to explore railway remnants and a replica freight house.
In 2.5 miles, you’ll reach Veterans Memorial Park in the charming town of Rush. Along the way, slow down to enjoy breaks in the trail’s surrounding foliage that permit views of nearby creeks and glimpses of golden agricultural lands. In town, you can find parking and several trailside eateries before crossing the fairly quiet West Henrietta Road to rejoin the last stretch of trail.
For the last 5 miles, travel over Honeoye Creek, under I-390, and through wetlands to an impressive railroad trestle bridge along the Genesee River. Immediately after crossing the river, you’ll come face-to-face with large stone abutments. These railroad relics mark the intersection of the 68.8-mile Genesee Valley Greenway.
The final 0.5 mile includes a short but steep climb. Bicycle riders with narrow tires are encouraged to dismount to avoid injury. The trail ends alongside a designated parking area off West River Road/CR 84 in Scottsville.
From the vibrant downtown of Rochester, it’s a short trip south to either end of the Lehigh Valley Trail. To reach the eastern trailhead in Lehigh Crossing Park from I-490, take Exit 29, and head south on NY 96 toward Victor; go 2.0 miles. Turn right onto NY 251 W/Victor Mendon Road, and go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Shallow Creek Trail, then go approximately 0.1 mile to reach the parking area. The eastern trailhead is straight ahead.
To reach the Rochester Junction trailhead in Honeoye Falls, which connects to the developing North Branch of the Lehigh Valley Trail, take I-390 to Exit 11. From I-390 S, turn left onto NY 15, and go 0.3 mile; then turn left onto NY 251 E. From I-390 N, turn right onto NY 251 E. Travel 4.0 miles, then take a right onto Plains Road. Continue until you see the Freight House Lodge, which marks the intersection of the two trails. Parking for both trails is available on either side of Plains Road.
To reach the western trailhead in Scottsville from 1-390, take Exit 11 for NY 15 toward NY 251/Rush. From I-390 S, turn left onto NY 15, and go 0.3 mile; then turn right onto NY 251 W. From I-390 N, turn left onto NY 251 W. Travel 3.8 miles, and turn left onto NY 940H/River Road. Go 1.5 miles to reach a gravel parking area, which abuts the trail and sits directly across from an office park.
I posted a review of a segment of the trail which I believe is unsafe. At the same time I contacted the agency that has responsibility for maintaining the segment. They immediately responded and have since, according to them, addressed the problems of surface degradation.
On August 20, 2021 I rode the trail between Fishell Rd and W River Rd, a 3.2 mile segment. It is dangerous, the erosion has caused the surface to be uneven and very loose. This segment needs immediate maintenance. I am an experienced cyclist and was riding a "gravel" bike.
Park in Lehigh Crossing Park. Head west on the gravel road and make your first right up the gravel road, before the pond. At the top of the hill you will enter the Lehigh Valley railroad bed that has been graded and rolled with stone dust. Continue all the way to the Genesee River and the Greenway Trail. Enjoy your ride.
9/1/2021: Biked this trail from west (at the Genesee Greenway trail) to east (connection with the Auburn trail) as part of the Rochester Gravel Bike Loop. As a rail-trail, it was flat, level and straight, with a combination of overpasses, underpasses and grade crossings at surface streets, with just one short awkward road segment (Fishell Road) to cross under I-390. The weather had been hot and dry so there were no muddy sections. The trail corridor is mostly wide, tree-lined and pleasant, usually with either woods or fields beyond, sometimes Honeoye creek. Aside from a soft 1/4 mile at the west end, the surface was in great condition, packed stone dust, sometimes with a grass "median". There were also pleasant town parks as stopping points along the way. Mid-day on a weekday -- light traffic - met perhaps 10 other bicyclists in the 15 miles.
(10/8/2020) We started at the Victor end (Lehigh Crossing Park) and ran into a bit of confusion about 1/2 mile from the parking lot. As you approach the catch and release pond on the North side, you want to take the path to the right. This is the actual trail but there is no signage indicating it is the trail; it looks like a patch to a pavilion. If, instead, you go past the pond you will come to an intersection that says you are on the trail but if you try to continue in a Westerly direction the trail is just dirt and there are signs that say it is not a trail and to keep off. If you go back to the intersection you can take the Bie trail North and it runs into the Lehigh. Just be careful of the steep hill you have to go down.intersection and take the Blue Trsil The rest of the trail was great!
This is a great spot. Pretty flat for the most part with graveled path. I started on the Scottsville side of the trail and parking is limited, but the trailhead was easy to find.
Yesterday we rode on the trail. The surface is very good, There are minimal elevational changes. I wish a couple of trailhead maps were posted for the Rush end of the trail. Mileage signage is excellent.
This is clearly a trail well kept and loved by folks who work hard on it. Bravo for their dedication!
Really a beautiful trail for a sunny October day. We saw a good number of other bikers, dogwalkers, walkers and runners. Everyone shared the trail politely. I see there is a "power trail" of Geocaches along its length as well, but it did not seem disruptive.
Great trail. Flat, easy to ride - crosses a few roads but overall pleasant. Direction Correction: The directions say that after taking a left on Phillips Road to go about a mile. Instead go .4 miles for the Auburn Trail and then .5 for the Lehigh Valley Trail.
Love the Lehigh valley trails out in the Rush area. was out on it today and the scenery is beautiful. The ride is pretty good. not really bumpy. my favorite so far
Wow, extremely cool especially if you are into train history. Walked from E. River Rd over to W. River Rd, going over the Genesee River; this particular bridge is included in the pics here. The Wadsworth Junction location has many remains of a huge train trestle which made this an amazing walk into history. Now that I have discovered this trail I have a lot more walking to do...
i parked at N 42 59.115 W 077 35.870 which is by Junction Road. I ran eastbound and encountered two roads to cross about .6 mile and 1.3 miles respectively. Mostly crushed limestone in this section. As trails go, I would rate it 2.5 stars. A plus is that there are restrooms at the coordinates above.
All the reviews give the trail good marks, so I parked at Roch Junction and headed east. About a mile into it, I was swarmed by horseflys/sweatbees. They are annoying since they fly around your head, and they bite. It was July, and the area is swampy, so I chalked it up to bad time of year. I turned around and headed west, and the sweatbees were not a problem on this stretch. But the trail is just dual tracks of stone dust, and it was muddy from recent rain. So I only went as far as 390, and called it a day.
Tow things not already covered in the description, or other reviews.
1. There is an extension from the Greenway to West River Road at the western end. Parking is available there.
2. Allow time to explore the wye at Rochester Junction, where the branch went south to Hemlock.
I rode this trail from Rush about 4 times, and enjoyed it a lot. Most often I see deer on the trail, and what I enjoyed is after I cross the river, I connect with the Gennesee Valley Greenway, and travel a few miles on it. Although the Greenway is a little rough in places, it is a beautiful ride.
Took the Auburn Trail from the city of Victor and connected on to the Lehigh Valley Trail which some friends and I rode out to Rush NY. A long the trail in Rush we stopped at the Rush Creek Inn and had a nice lunch and drinks before heading back to Victor (10 miles one way). The trail is crushed stone and was a beautiful ride. There were plenty of maps and markers to show the different routes and it was a nice cruising path. I used a Hybrid Performance Bicycle with no problems. I saw a lot of families with their children out enjoying the trails on bike, running and walking. We did run across some deer, wood chucks and lot of birds. Definitely worth exploring.
We bike on this trail from the Rush Station to the Mendon/Victor point since the Rush station is right behind our home. It is such a lovely, well maintained trail and most of the ride is right next to the Honeoye Creek. The early morning is the best time to ride since you can see so much wildlife. We have seen fox families, deer mommas with their fawns, bunnies, beautiful birds and chipmunks (they will dart across the trail right in front of you..just be on the lookout), oh, and snakes..just little harmless ones. Once you cross Plains Road...stay to the right. Before you get to the little wooden bridge there is a little trail that you can walk on that takes you to the Honeoye Creek...there is a little bench where take a break and you can also walk across the creek on the large stones and get your feet wet. LOVELY.
My wife and I rode from Henrietta to Mendon and back using the Lehigh Valley trail and the northern extension. We really enjoyed it. Beautiful scenery and easy riding. A couple roads to cross but all around very nice.
I found this trail through the TrailLink.com site. The description and review made us want to give it a go and we are glad we did. The trail is in pristine condition with a stone dust surface for all types of bikes. There is plenty to see along the way for nature lovers. Railfans and history buffs will love the 100 year old steel bridges over the Genesee River and Honeoye Creek. We have not covered the whole ride yet having done a couple out and backs from the E River Rd and Rush parking areas. No steep hills and few road crossings make it a wonderful place for a family ride.
I live in Scottsville and bike on the Lehigh Valley Trail all the time. We're lucky to have such well kept, fun and safer biking resources so close to where we live. This trail is crushed stone dust and is suitable for a mountain bike, hybrid bike or perhaps a road bike. I get on the trail from the Genesee Valley Greenway but there are many parking areas along its length. I never knew where it ended until today when in celebration or perhaps denial of my 53rd birthday I decided to bike 53 miles. I went to the end of the Lehigh Valley Trail and then connected to the Auburn Trail for a bit. Another thing I like about the Lehigh Valley Trail is that other than crossing some roads you don't have to bike on the streets unlike the Auburn Trail. This country biking also pretty much guarantees that you see some kind of wild life when you bike. I've seen deer, foxes, turkeys, other birds beyond counting, a beaver and today a snapping turtle.
This is a wonderful trail to ride on. It provides a nice, even surface for miles with beautiful scenes along the way. However, in some places the footing for horses is a bit rocky. We are trying to resolve this issue. If you are interested in getting involved to help please contact the Mendon Foundation and let them know you support the equestrian portion of this trail!
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