Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Genesee Valley Greenway State Park

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Genesee Valley Greenway
1 Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY 14427

Know Before You Go: Please check the Detours page for updates and the agency's trail tips page.  

The Genesee Valley Greenway State Park is a 90-mile open space corridor that follows the route of the Genesee Valley Canal (1840-1878) and the Pennsylvania Railroad Rochester Branch (1882-1963) from the Erie Canalway Trail in Rochester's Genesee Valley Park to the Village of Cuba in Allegany County. The Greenway will eventually extend to Hinsdale in Cattaraugus County.

It includes a public, multi-use trail and natural and historic resources. The majority of the trail is an old railway bed that is a straight, level surface consisting of cinders, gravel and mowed grass. The Greenway passes through woodlands, wetlands, river and stream valleys, rolling farmlands, steep gorges, and historic villages in sixteen towns located in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany, and Cattaraugus counties.

Like other abandoned towpaths and rail beds across the country, the Genesee Valley Greenway provides opportunities for public recreation, an off-road link to communities, parks, other trails, attractions in the region and preservation of open space and the natural and cultural resources in the corridor. The GVG connects to the Genesee River Trail, Finger Lakes Trail, Erie Canal Recreation Way, the  Erie Attica Trail and the Lehigh Valley Trail.

Natural Features:

  • The continuity of the corridor creates a 'tunnel of green' and acts as a physical link between adjacent habitats providing an important bridge for organisms.

Historical Features:

  • Black Creek Canal Culvert
  • Belfast warehouse - The only surviving canal warehouse on the greenway, and locks.
  • Chili, Monroe County and Oakland, Livingston County Location: Old railway bridges and bridge abutments.
  • Oakland: Locks
  • Interpretive Signage is provided along the trail at key locations.

Pet Policy: A maximum of two pets are allowed in day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).

Hours of Operation

  • Park is open year round.

  • Dawn to dusk, daily.

    *Park hours and facility operations are subject to change. Patrons are encouraged to contact the park directly to confirm operating hours before traveling.

After decades of succession from the abandonment of the railroad, the trail provides a great diversity of alien weedy species combined with the spreading native species from adjoining woodlands, fields, wetlands and river and stream valleys. Besides the hundreds of flowers, more than forty species of trees, shrubs and vines can be found in just a few miles of trail. Woody plant diversity is impressive including spruce, pine, cedar, tuliptree, cucumber tree, spicebush, sassafras, moonseed, sycamore, witch hazel, hackberry, elm, hickory, beech, oak, alder, birch, hornbeam, basswood, cottonwood, aspen, willow, shad, hawthorn, cherry, rose, ash, locust, autumn olive, dogwood, buckthorn, creeper, grape, bladdernut, maple, sumac, ivy, tree-of-heaven, prickly-ash, honeysuckle, elderberry and viburnum.

With spreading views of the Genesee River meanders and the scattered remaining ancient oaks of the valley, the corridor is also home to thousands of animals. Amongst the familiar mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, fox and deer are the most numerous insects that include the colorful butterflies such as swallowtails, whites, sulphurs, hairstreaks, blues, fritillaries, crescents, commas, admirals, monarchs, browns and skippers. Birds occur year-round and amongst the summer diversity are woodpeckers, flycatchers, jays, crows, titmice, nuthatches, wrens, thrushes, catbirds, waxwings, vireos, warblers, tanagers, cardinals, buntings, towhees, sparrows and finches.

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