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Spring Weather: Rochester Area Parks and Geocaching

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Geocaching in Rochester Area Parks

A Fun Way to Make Use of Your GPS

With the recent heat wave sweeping the area, I’m sure many people have warm weather on their minds. Despite work and school, I’ve been trying to make an effort to go outside and enjoy the unseasonably high temperatures every day, even though the temperatures have cooled down from the high 70s to low 40s.

Though it’s nice to simply go outside and walk or run in the warm weather with a friend or family member, I find myself constantly searching for nice areas to visit around the city.  While neighborhoods are closer, we all have our favorite parks we like to stroll through or spend a few hours.  When I moved from far south of the city to right outside the center, I found this desire to be ever-present – and with it a need for greater variety in available parks.

GeocachingTo help others expand their repertoire of local Rochester parks, I visited a few places and put together a list, along with suggestions and ideas I heard from others.  In this list, I’ve also included hints for a fun activity I have engaged in for a few years – GEOCACHING.  Since more and more people have smartphones, this GPS web activity is fun for literally everyone.

GEOCACHING: not just located in parks, provides global coordinates for small treasures around the world.  Google maps are included with the coordinates – all you need is a GPS device and the coordinates.  Depending on your GPS, all you need to do is simply follow the directions to the coordinates and look around for the cache!  It can be as big as a metal ammo case (about 1 foot by 6 inches) or as small as a film canister.

1. Ellison Park – A great place if you’re a dog lover, there are lots of people at this park year round.  While I have found the plethora of dogs to be a bit annoying at times, if you’re a dog lover and are looking for a community place to let your dog run free for a bit, this is the place.  The park is also very large and has several large hills for creative exercising strategies and many picnic areas.  Despite its large size, there are only about a dozen caches located here, however it is a great place for beginners, as many are fairly easy to find.

2. Mendon Ponds Park – Perhaps the most popular park in the area, Mendon Ponds has a number of large bodies of water for fishing and small-time boating, as well as a large network of trails for hiking. There are at least 30 geocaches located all over this park! I have personally searched here and found a number of them, but some are a bit challenging, especially at the center of the park, as the trees can make it hard to get reception at times.

3. Cobbs Hill – While it is a relatively small park in comparison to others in the area, it’s the location and the view of the reservoir that make this park so wonderful. Located on a large hill just outside the city, it’s an oasis of nature and peace within walking distance of many popular places, including the Monroe Ave strip. I generally like to walk the path that circles the reservoir, but have also hiked the trails. There are about 3 geocaches located here and are relatively easy to find.

4. Genesee Valley Park -  Also located within short distance of the city, this park is nestled within a number of excellent sites to visit. Right off the 390 highway, it is located right near Mount Hope Cemetery and right on the Erie Canal. The Genesee River also passes along the edge of this park. Between the history cemetery and the two waterways, there are tons of geocaches in this area, making an excellent place for beginners and experts, as there is a wide variety of geocache sizes and locations.

5. Ontario Beach Park – Located right on Lake Ontario, this is a very popular place to visit due to its wonderful view and the strip of businesses along Beach Ave. A great place for food and entertainment, it’s a must for anyone visiting Rochester or simply looking for a place to hang out. It is also the historic site of the late Rochester Fast Ferry, which used to travel between our city and Toronto. Geocaching is rather sparse, but I have found all of the sites located here, as they are pretty easy and great for beginners. Some are actually located right up near businesses as well!

6. Powder Mill Park – I also included this park for its rich geocaching locations. Home to about 20, this is not only a great park to visit south of the city, but there is also a great deal to do. Goecaching difficulties here will range from challenging to beginner, therefore making it a great place for anyone to start. If you’re a beginner, stick to geocaching locations on the edges of the park.

Geocaching used to be reserved for boy scouts and others who happened to have expensive GPS devices that tracked direct coordinates. Now, however, just about everyone seems to have smartphones with GPS capabilities. Though coordinates may seem a bit complicated at first, most GPS devices allow the user to put the coordinates right in, then it does the work for you.

On the official geocaching site,, one can not only find the coordinates and enter them manually into their GPS, but can also have them sent to the device via wireless or connection to the computer. There are also a few apps for smartphones, but most cost a little bit of money.

James Hallahan is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.


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1 Comment for “Spring Weather: Rochester Area Parks and Geocaching”

  1. Don’t forget Basil Marella Park. This is an easy park to walk which also contains a popular Disk Golf Course, tennis courts, basketball, skateboarding and soccer fields. There are about 10 geocahces ready to be found and are perfect for beginners. Park is located on English and Fetzner Road. Good luck and have fun!

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