Hiking doesn’t have to be an intimidating activity with your dog. Exercise for your canine companion is truly man’s best friend and provides hours of entertainment. The best part is while you’re doing it with your dog you’re both bonding and accomplishing new feats together. Sometimes finding an area to start is the hardest part depending on the dog’s activity level and how hard the trails are. Below are some great trails for beginners to seasoned hikers and beyond.

Eastman Lake Trail

Level: Easy to Moderate

Just off the shores of Lake Ontario, Durand Eastman Park is host to many smaller ponds and a couple of lakes. With a few small hills scattered about, the three trails within are relatively flat and close in proximity. They vary in distance which can be helpful depending on how long of a walk you are looking for, or perhaps your dog is a senior and cannot handle longer distances. The Eastman Lake Trail is a favorite of the three by frequent hikers. It is a flat trail that follows the perimeter of Eastman Lake and runs a total distance of 1.5 miles. Many hikers with their dogs especially enjoy it in the fall when the leaves are turning colors. It is easily accessible off Log Cabin Road with plenty of areas to park. The only tricky part of this entire trail is getting to it, there is somewhat of a steep hill to the start of the path.

Perimeter Trail

​Level: Easy to Moderate

Nestled between Penfield and Brighton is a nature park with waterfalls right in Rochester’s backyard. At Corbett’s Glen you not only get to enjoy well-marked trails with groomed footing, but four different waterfalls that bring walkers of all ages to walk their paths. Perimeter Trail runs around the southern park which takes you through the Rail Tunnel and past the first waterfall. Soon you will then pass the observation deck as well as the second waterfall before coming across Postcard Falls. There is a large meadow just past the falls which creates the perfect place to have a picnic with your dog! With new rules in place your dog is no longer able to wade in the waters to protect the plant life  Also, all dogs must be leashed, which can help dogs who may be more leash reactive to have a more pleasant experience. There is plenty of parking in designated lots or alongside the road and the full loop runs about 2/3 of a mile.

Perimeter Trail

Turning Point Boardwalk Trail

Level: Easy

A unique trail which can be accessed all year round – since its trails are laid with pavement – is Turning Point. This 16-mile-long trail winds along the banks of Charlotte and eventually connects to the Genesee Riverway Trail within the city of Rochester. The Turning Point Boardwalk itself is a must see because it runs over the Genesee River using a series of bridges, so you’ll feel as though you’re walking on water! With safety being a priority, there are full coverage fences all along the sides, so you never have to worry about anyone unintentionally taking a dip in the river. It is the safest way to get close to native wildlife in their natural habitat. The trail is also catered towards people who enjoy bringing their pup with them on their hikes. Many dog stations have been set up along the route providing trash receptacles, bags, areas of rest, and even paper towels. Should you need a minute to hang up your leash they provide strong carabiners allowing you to be hands free and keep your dog in place.

East Esker Trail

Level: Moderate to Difficult

Looking for a challenge? The East Esker Trail in Mendon Ponds is a favorite among dogs who love a good adventure. What makes this trail so challenging is the number of eskers along this 4.7-mile hike. Eskers are glacially-formed ridges in the land that are built up by sediment deposits. The trail leads you right on top of them for much of it. There are plenty of observation areas along the way to rest at and a few ponds for your dog to take a refreshing swim. Not only is this trail loved by dogs often you will see horses and runners too, as it is used for endurance training! This trail is not well-suited for senior dogs, however Mendon Ponds itself spans over 2,500 acres of diverse terrain. There are plenty of other trails to explore and some welcome all levels of activity making them easier for the older dogs.

Coyote Den Trail

Level: Moderate

Ellison Park is home to 447 acres of beautiful woodlands just waiting to be explored. Within its tall trees and beautiful wildflowers, it hosts one of two legal off leash dog parks. Dogs in Ellison are welcomed off leash in the dog park if they are registered with the park system. There are quite a few trails that wind through this park, but the Coyote Den Trail offers just enough challenges without being difficult. It is a 1.1-mile walk – one way – that gradually increases its incline over time and dogs must be leashed here. The trail is well groomed and narrow following along Irondequoit Creek for a time. Wooden bridges are easily accessible to cross the water or to pause at and take in the scenery. There are parts within the woods which give a feeling of seclusion and during the summer pockets of wildflowers grow in small patches where light can penetrate. It is also here within the woods that this trail got its name. At one time there was an active coyote den, now there is mainly owls and turkeys. Even if you are not a member of the dog park, there is active shower areas for dogs outside of it as well as an area for your pup to catch a drink after a long hike.

Happy Trails!

The Rochester area offers some wonderful options for hiking with your pal. While this list is not exhaustive, it is a good start for dogs of all skill and stamina levels. Do you wish you had more time to take your dog on adventures, but need some help getting them their fresh air and exercise now? Contact Rochester Dog Walkers to learn more about our park trips and extended visits to help your pup get the enrichment and cardio they need!