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The Genesee River in the Finger Lakes

Three kayakers head toward the Genesee River at its confluence with the Erie Canal. A barge is moored nearby.


Part 1-Location and Physical Features

Part 2-Fillmore (Allegany County) to the Mt. Morris Dams (Livingston County)

Part 3-Mt. Morris (Livingston County) to the State Route 253 Bridge in Scottsville (Monroe County)

Part 5-Genesee Valley Park to Lake Ontario


This section of the Genesee River is short but interesting. It connects both the Black Creek and the Erie Canal with the river, making for interesting recreational opportunities. In addition, there is a boat launch on the Black Creek that provides the first motorboat launch ramp. The river is generally broad and flat through this entire section.


D=Designated (official) launch site.


Black Creek, Black Creek Road-Town of Chili (D)

This is the first launch that accommodates motorboats. From the A motorboat sits at the dock of the Black Creek launch site.intersection of routes 353 and 252 (Ballantyne Road) southwest of Rochester, travel approximately .5 mi./.8 km. west on 252 to Lester Street. Turn north. Go one block. Turn east onto Black Creek Road. The road ends at the launch site. Concrete ramp with aluminum dock. Parking for at least 10 vehicles. Portable toilet and picnic table.


To go to the Genesee River, head east about 60 ft./18 m. You can motorboat either up- or downriver. This boat launch is connected to the Genesee by a short hiking-biking path under the Black Creek and Ballantyne Road bridges.


About Black Creek: By the time the Genesee flows through Chili, it is a fairly broad river lined with trees and bushes. Some people find paddling on the river here boring and prefer the Black Creek because it is more intimate and interesting. Wildlife you might see include but is not limited to beavers, turtles, herons, ducks, raccoons, and deer.


Black Creek winds back and forth through small islands of trees. You may want to bring a GPS with you so you don't get disoriented.


Canoers head up Black Creek on a bright day in late summer.


About launching a motorboat: This launch is the only launch before downtown Rochester and before the river heads over the Upper Falls. You will not be permitted to boat beyond the Douglass-Anthony Memorial Bridge (see part 5). The only other motorboat launch is the one at Ontario Beach Park (see part 5) near the mouth of the river. The Ontario Beach Park launch provides access to Lake Ontario and to the lower end of the river up to the Lower Falls, water depth permitting.


Genesee Valley Park-Rochester

The Genesee River intersects the Erie Canal as it runs through the Genesee Valley Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. The river then passes by the Genesee Waterways Center (GWC) on the west bank of the river. Not only does the center rent kayaks and canoes, but it allows the launching of personal kayaks and canoes at no charge. The address for the Center is 149 Elmwood Avenue. The driveway to the center is on the south side of the street. It is the second building and the second parking lot once you turn into the driveway. The entrance to the building is on the river side.


From the launch at the GWC, you can paddle 1) downriver to the Douglass-Anthony Memorial Bridge, 2) upriver, or 3) east or west on the Erie Canal.


The Genesee Waterways Center in Genesee Valley Park provides canoe and kayak rentals and launch sites.

Whitewater Classification

There is no whitewater classification for this section of the river.

Water Level

Streamflow Conditions


This section of the river runs through some of the suburbs of Rochester, past Rochester Institute of Technology, and past the Greater Rochester International Airport before entering the city. Wildlife is limited because of human encroachment on habitat. You are likely to see small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks, but probably no large mammals. Reptiles and amphibians will be scarce as well because the river is open and doesn't provide safe places for them to hang out. Birds, though, should be easy to find, especially woodpeckers, warblers, blue jays, cardinals, robins, some hawks, ring-billed gulls, and other birds common to cities.


A lance-leaved coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), a native plant, grows happily at the edge of Black Creek.

Biking and Hiking

The Genesee Valley Greenway crosses over Black Creek and runs along the river when it reaches Genesee Valley Park. It also connects with the Erie Canal Trail, a wonderful, relatively flat ride/hike running along the canal from west to east. (The surface is usually stone dust.)


There are apved paths in Genesee Valley Park, and you can connect with the Genesee Riverway Trail here as well. If you'd like to ride or hike all the way from the park to the shore of Lake Ontario--20 m./32 km. round trip--here's your travel guide.

Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Black Creek Park

Nearby Places of Interest

Brookdale Preserve

Reed Road Bird Refuge

Rochester has many excellent museums, theatres, and semi-professional sports teams.



There are no bed and breakfasts on the river, but there are many bed and breakfasts in Rochester.


There are no camp grounds along the river in this area, but there are campgrounds in the county.


Rochester Riverside (Radisson)

120 E. Main St.

Rochester, NY 14604


Staybridge Suites

1000 Genesee St.

Rochester, NY 14611



Created 30 September 2009





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