Loop Trails

By Sue Freeman

Loop trails make life so much simpler. You can park in one place and, depending on the season, walk, ski, snowshoe, or bicycle in a circle to return to your parked vehicle. So many things in life these days are complicated, but your next outing needn’t be.

We’re fortunate in the greater Rochester region to have a wealth of loop trails from which to select. Here are some of my favorites. Maps and descriptions for all these adventures can be found in the various Footprint Press guidebooks available at www.footprintpress.com, or by calling 1-800-431-1579.

Hike to a scenic view:
-Wind and rain sculpted spires were cut out of a drumlin overlooking Lake Ontario at Chimney Bluffs State Park. The 2.2-mile loop will get your heart pumping and offer jaw-dropping vistas.
-Climb Bare Hill on the west side of Canandaigua Lake for a birds-eye view of this finger lake. It’s a 3.1-mile aerobic loop.
-Go find the two waterfalls in Turning Point Park with a moderate 1.7-mile loop.
-Climb Indian Hill in Perinton for a 2.1-mile loop, with a view of the distant Rochester skyline at one end and horses grazing in fields at the other end.

Experience nature:
-Find migrating owls and hawks in spring or fall on an easy 0.9-mile loop at Braddock Bay Raptor Research Trail.
-Feed the chickadees from outreached hands with an easy 1.1-mile loop on the Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds Park.
-Search for Bluebirds at the 1.1-mile MaryFrances Bluebird Haven Trail in Victor.
-Savor the spring daffodil field on the 3.4-mile Daffodil Trail in Powder Mills Park.

Hop on your bike:
-Ride the 7.9-mile paved loop along the shore of Lake Ontario at Hamlin Beach State Park with waves crashing within view and earshot.
-Circle the Genesee River in Rochester on a 7-mile paved loop.
-Mountain bikers can ride 4 miles of rugged loops at Dryer Road Park in Victor.
-Another mountain biker’s (and hiker’s) haven is the many miles of loop trails at Harriet Hollister Spencer Memorial State Recreation Area, overlooking Honeoye Lake.
-Encircle the Erie Canal in Lyons with a 4.5-mile ride on the Old Erie Canal Lock 56 Trail.

Take a longer or tougher hike:
-The 3.8-mile Bear Trail on the hillside west of Hemlock Lake is an aerobic workout.
-Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area in Naples is called “Hi” for a reason.
-Wesley Hill Nature Preserve near Honeoye Lake offers a gorgeous 4-mile woods loop.
-Head south of Cayuta Lake for a strenuous 6.1-mile loop on the Van Lone Hill Loop Trail.

Short but sweet:
-Tinker Nature Park in Henrietta even has trails for strollers and wheelchairs.
-Immerse yourself in the aroma of pine on the Pine Forest Loop Trail in Mendon Ponds Park.
-Walk among the gardens at Webster Arboretum Trails.

Short, long, flat, hilly, paved, or dirt – make your selection and go loopy. You can go in circles for a long time on area trails.

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