Durand Eastman Park is a 977-acre park located in the northern section of Rochester, NY and contains 5000 feet of coastline on Lake Ontario. This park started out as a summer camp owned by Dr. Henry Strong Durand in the early 1900s. George Eastman (of Kodak fame) purchased land surrounding the summer camp and both men offered their land to the city of Rochester to create a park. Durand Eastman Park came to be in 1909. The park has gone through changes since then and it once had a zoo! Sadly, that isn’t there anymore, but it still is an excellent park with lots to do.
There are 6 hiking trails spanning over 3 miles and there is also a paved bike trail that runs from within the park along the Lake Ontario shoreline. There are also 4 lakes and 2 ponds where fishing and kayaking are permitted. The two largest lakes within the park (not counting Lake Ontario!) are Eastman and Durand lakes. These are 18 and 16 acres respectively and are both shallow. But you can see waterfowl and if you want to fish, you can expect to catch fish such as Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, and some others. We didn’t go fishing, but we did see these two keeping each other company.
The hiking trails range from easy to moderate ruggedness. Parts can be very muddy and were a bit slick. You can also snowshoe and cross-country ski in the park, but there was just a half-inch of snow during our visit. Another activity, and that which brought us to Durand Eastman Park is orienteering!
The Rochester Orienteering Club has a permanent course set up in the park. You can get a map from them for $10 and do the course at your own pace. We’ve done similar courses in NY at Mendon Ponds here in Indiana at Story, and I find the permanent courses to be a lot of fun. We found 12 control points!
Other amenities include a golf course, shelters that you can rent, as well as a lodge. You do have a nice section of beach, but if you head there by foot, you do need to cross Lake Shore Blvd., which is a very busy road, so use caution.
- Parking: Ample, but gravel parking areas off Lake Shore Blvd. can fill up quickly.
- Trails: Easy to moderate with slick spot due to mud and ice
- Solitude Factor: Low. This is a large park, but it is popular. We saw quite a few people even on a cold winter day.