The Hiking Itch & My Favorite Local Trails

It is 60 and sunny today and I have that hiking itch.

That itch to be outside, breathe in fresh air among the trees and hear the birds.

When I hiked my first high peak last year, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. I just needed some distance from the experience before I could get excited about it again. All it took was a few months of gray skies, frozen mud and freezing temperatures to make me long for the sweaty struggle of summiting.

While we won’t be preparing to head out in the van to conquer mountains this summer, we’ll still be headed to the Adirondacks to put some mileage under our boots.

After the slog to make camp at Sawtooth, I’ve decided our schedule for overnight camping for the high peaks needs to be a little different. I’m still a green hiker, and rucking is a different beast entirely. So this year to set myself up for success, I’ve decided that the first day hike should be in to camp, no more than a few miles in. Then we make camp early, and head up to summit. Or if the day is too short, we head up to the summit to watch the sunrise, and then head down and pack out.

Alternatively, we could make a high peak a single day trip, but the 3-hour ride to and from Albany that bookends the hike makes the day even longer. It’s much easier on our travel schedule to make camp on the mountain, and take it in two days.

But in the interim, I’ll be hiking locally to keep myself in shape and outside at some of my favorite parks around Rochester.

Abraham Lincoln Park

  • Located in Webster on Lake Ontario, this park winds its way through the hilly shoreline through wooded basins, swampy inlets and stunning views. One of my favorite local hikes. The park does boarder private property so use caution during hunting season.

Black Creek Park

  • This massive, sprawling park is tucked away in Chili on the west side of the city. Trails crisscross the 1,500 acres from grass fields to wooded trails and over large hills. Great place to see deer, small turtles, tadpoles and the occasional snapping turtle.

Durand Eastman Beach

  • Another Lake Ontario park, this beach also has a paved trail running along it, providing some of the best views of the Lake and the sky. Great in the summer, but not to be missed in the winter.

Mendon Ponds

  • 2,500 tucked away in Honeoye Falls, the trails Mendon Ponds loop and wind their way around ponds, wetlands, and woods for 30 miles.

Corbett’s Glen

  • Located in Penfield, the trails at Corbett’s Glen are shorter than many of the other parks, but they’re dotted with waterfalls for a stunning and easy hike.

Letchworth State Park

  • Nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the East”, the Genesee River carves its way through the gorge and over 3 major waterfalls. With hiking trails, horse trails, camping, historically haunted B&Bs, I can never get enough of Letchworth.

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