Your Guide to Turning Point Park in New York

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Woman walking on Turning Point Park boardwalk

Located in the big city of Rochester, N.Y., you’ll find a quiet, serene, beautiful outdoor space where visitors can enjoy the outdoors. Turning Point Park connects to the Genesee Riverway Trail that ends up at Charlotte Pier on the shores of Lake Ontario. 

Let’s learn more about what makes Turning Point Park so popular for visitors and residents of Rochester.

Where Is Turning Point Park?

Turning Point Park lies on the west side of the Genesee River at 260 Boxart Street in Rochester, N.Y. The park sits just south of Lake Ontario, about three miles from Ontario Beach Park

Highway 390 and Highway 18 run to the west, while Highway 104 runs to the south. You can easily access Turning Point Park from either direction. When you finish exploring, you can drive about ten minutes south and visit the Seneca Park Zoo.

About Rochester, New York

Rochester is the fourth most populous city in New York state, with over 206,000 residents. The fertile Genesee River Valley helped propel Rochester in its early days as one of the first boomtowns.

Mills and manufacturing centers spurred rapid population growth. By 1950, over 332,000 people lived in the bustling city.

Today, many know Rochester as the center for the field of photographic processing and imaging.

In fact, the University of Rochester has an Institute of Optics, and the Rochester Institute of Technology has a strong imaging program. 

High technology companies from the Tech Valley in eastern New York have also set up locations in the Rochester area.

Where to Park to Visit Turning Point Park

When planning a visit to Turning Point Park, know which of the three parking lots provides the best access to different parts of the park.

The Boxart Street parking lot is 0.9 miles to the end of the boardwalk and 3.7 miles to the end of Charlotte Pier. 

The Petten Street parking lot is 1.3 miles to the end of the boardwalk and 4 miles to the end of the Pedestrian Bridge. This is one of the best locations to put in a kayak. 

Finally, the River Street parking lot is 1.8 miles to the end of the boardwalk.

Traveler’s Tip: Enjoy some nature time in Zoar Valley. Find out What You Need to Know About Zoar Valley Before You Go.

Boardwalk going through Turning Point Park in New York

Is There a Cost to Enter Turning Point Park?

One of the best perks to visiting Turning Point Park is that it’s free. Visitors can enjoy the three parts of the trail within the 275 wooded acres along the banks of the Genesee River at no cost.

Cattails and oak trees make a beautiful landscape. Enjoy a nice walk on a lunch break or bring the whole family one weekend.

What Is the Boardwalk and Trail?

The Boardwalk and Trail consist of three main parts. The first part is the 2,968-foot land-based trail. An old railroad bed takes visitors from the top of the bank to the river’s edge.

The second part is the 3,572-foot bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin. You’ll likely see blue herons, swans, turtles, and other wildlife along the way.

Finally, the third part is a 3,406-foot land-based trail that runs through Turning Point Park North and adjacent to the Genesee Marina.

Furthermore, in 2008, the Boardwalk and Trail won the American Public Works Associations’ “Transportation Project of the Year” Award.

What Is the Genesee Riverway Trail?

Turning Point Park’s trail connects to the Genesee Riverway Trail (GRT), a 24-mile scenic, multi-use trail that runs through Rochester. You can go walking, running, and biking on the GRT as it winds through the historical and cultural heart of Rochester. 

According to the City of Rochester website, the GRT “provides pedestrian access to the Genesee River, its scenic gorge, three waterfalls, eight pedestrian bridges, and eleven parks, including four historic parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.” Most of the trail is paved and accessible to all people.

What Is the Rain Garden?

Turning Point Park also features a Rain Garden stocked with all types of water-loving plants. The garden showcases an eco-friendly way to use natural vegetation as sediment filters. 

These hardy plants capture sediments and pollutants from area parking lots when it rains or snows. As a result, these plants act as filters so that the contaminants don’t reach the river.

Traveler’s Tip: Time for a swim! Use these tips to Plan Your Next Vacation to These Lakes in Upstate NY.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Turning Point Park?

Winters in Rochester, N.Y., are harsh and not the ideal time to visit Turning Point Park. The busiest times come in the summer because of the mild temperatures and vacations. 

Spring offers a beautiful scenery that captures blooming flowers and bright colors. During the fall, visitors can soak in the changing colors of golds, reds, and oranges as they stroll the boardwalk. 

However, the park remains open year-round. So if you visit in the winter and hit the slopes or do some snowshoeing, you can still explore the boardwalk and trail.

Is Turning Point Park Worth a Visit?

The massive boardwalk weaves into the natural landscape around the Genesee River. The scenery of the Rain Garden welcomes butterflies and birds and helps protect the environment. 

Turning Point Park is a great location to enjoy a few hours of walking or biking in Rochester. And if you want an even longer trail, you can easily hop on the Genesee Riverway Trail and continue on for several more miles.

It’s family-friendly and accessible to all, so the next time you visit the area, head over to Boxart Street and spend an hour or more enjoying the wildlife, natural scenery, and fresh air. 

Have you ever visited Turning Point Park before? Share your experience in the comments!

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