The final notes in the summer concert music series have been sung. Cruise nights are now a distant memory, and water parks that were bustling with activity during June, July and August are now drained and dormant for the next nine months.
Yes, summer has left us but fall has an appeal of its own that should quickly cure the end-of-summer blues. Western New York has no shortage of autumn offerings. Grab your sweater and scarf and enjoy the crisp air at these four locations.
Mendon Ponds Park
95 Douglas Road, Honeoye Falls
The phrase “something for everyone” might be cliché but it certainly applies to Mendon Ponds Park. At 2,500 acres, Mendon Ponds is the largest park in Monroe County. Named to the National Registry of Natural Landmarks in 1969, Mendon Ponds Park offers guests a plethora of recreational activities including biking, hiking and bird-watching. Runners will feel the burn on the 4.7-mile East Esker Trail, which boasts many hills. Fields of wildflowers and a variety of ferns compliment the spruce, pines, maple and black cherry trees joggers pass on the trail.
Those looking for a less challenging workout will want to give the Southern Meadow Trail at Mendon Ponds Park a try. This three-mile trail covers gently rolling terrain and includes views of aspen, oak, maple, pine and shagbark hickory trees. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks, turkey vultures and bluebirds.
Do you fish? Anglers have been known to reel in largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, yellow perch and brown bullhead from the four ponds located in the park. For more information, call (585) 753-7275 or visit MonroeCounty.gov/Parks.
Corbett’s Glen Nature Park
165 Park Lane, Rochester
If it’s a breathtaking view you’re after than Corbett’s Glen Nature Park will not disappoint. Upon entering this 52-acre park off Penfield Road, visitors will spot a series of waterfalls that serve as a terrific backdrop while trying to spot blue heron, wild turkeys, beaver and deer.
Embark on the 2.8 miles of mostly flat, wood-chip trails in the park and be on alert for oak trees believed to be more than 150 years old. Allens Creek inside the park is open for fishing and home to many rainbow trout and salmon.
Pro and amateur photographers have been known to make their way to the park to capture the waterfalls and the historic stone archway bridge that is said to be the largest in upstate New York. For more information, visit CorbettsGlen.org.
Black Creek Park
3835 Union Street, North Chili
Located about 10 miles southwest of the city of Rochester, Black Creek Park offers plenty on its 1,500 acres. Although still relatively undeveloped, activity abounds. Bird watchers will enjoy the Bluebird Trail, a 1.2-mile path filled with honeysuckle, hawthorn and dogwood that attract plenty of our winged and beaked friends. Walk the dog on the 3.1-mile Creek Trail that traverses a small pond home to geese and ducks.
Hold a pick-up soccer game on one of the park’s pitches or take the canoe out one final time this season on the creek. Runners are welcome to any of the park’s five trails and youngsters will enjoy the playground.
Licensed anglers can see what’s biting in the creek. Geocaching, an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices, is also welcome in the park. Those looking to host an outdoor event can rent the park’s open-air shelter, which features a grill and picnic tables among other amenities. For more information, visit RochesterParks.org.
Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile
If you’re going to venture away from the Rochester area, you might as well go to a park known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Letchworth State Park is a massive, 14,420-acre park located in Livingston and Wyoming counties and an approximate 45-minute drive from Rochester.
Waterfalls as tall as 600 feet give hikers quite the view while they embark on more than 60 miles of trails. Named the 2015 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice for Best State Park in the United States, guests to Letchworth have been known to spot bald eagles, yellow-billed cuckoos, turkey vultures, great blue herons and pine warblers. Letchworth has been designated as a bird conservation area, and more than 20 species of wood warblers nest in the park each year.
Hunters can apply for a permit to hunt deer in late November and early December. Horseback riding and biking are also permitted in this century-old park. History buffs can view the Glen Iris Inn, which was William Pryor Letchworth’s former home, and the grave of Mary Jemison. Mount Morris Dam is also located in the northern end of the park. For more information, call (585) 493-3600 or visit LetchworthPark.com.