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Russian Troll Farmer
3,183 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Rail Trails of Rochester: NYC Auburn road trail

Section 1: Brighton NY to Pittsford, NY.

Part 1: highland Ave. Brighton to Park Ave. bike store, Pittsford.

This trail follows the "Old Road", the NYC Auburn division, which was first built as the Auburn-Rochester railroad in 1841, and for it's first 1/4 century, was the ONLY route into Rochester (until the "water level route" was opened). It was a single track road, and this section saw it's last freight train in 1981 (during the summer of 1982, a friend of mine worked on a crew that removed the rails and ties). It was last a through route in 1958, when the sections south of Pittsford was abandoned and the bridge over the canal was removed. Before that, passenger service existed, and even a nightly Pullman sleeper service to D.C. went down this route, to Canandaigua, where the Pennsylvania railroad took it the rest of the way.

Highland Ave to Elmwood Ave.:
Highland N.jpg Highland S.jpg

First picture shows the most northerly remaining part, just about 500' east of I-590; everything north to the CSX mainline is gone. The second shows the trail as it heads south to Elmwood Ave, between houses, an elementary school, and an apartment complex. Trail is packed soil on top of ballast.

Elmwood to Allens Creek:

Harley S.jpg Harley N.jpg

From Elmwood south, the surface is a lot rougher, being just a thin layer of moss/grass over straight ballast. The 2 pics are taken behind the Harley school fields, the first southward, the second northward.

Allens Creek to Clover:

Clover S 1.jpg Clover S 2.jpg

Asphalt stretch, behind the church on one side, and the old bowling alley on the other side. Alas, they have chained up a gate, and I had to detour over a small path to get around and over to Clover St.

Take a right, then a quick left int the parking lot, then go all the way to the corner.

Clover to Park Ave. Bike shop (across from Pittsford Plaza).

Clover S 3.jpg PA Bike S.jpg

From here, the old right-of-way is altered, with many ups, downs, zigs, and zags, but at least a prepared trail IS there. Just before this little bridge (which seems to use the old abutments of the previous RR bridge), there is a little path that will lead you to a parking lot, then another path down to the lot at the bike store.


Russian Troll Farmer
3,183 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
From there, keep going until you cross French Rd:

It's a zig-zag, but pretty easy to follow. From there, the trail looks like this:

Some places have low overhanging branches, and may be a bit muddy. If wet, it can get a bit slippery.
After about 1/2 mile, you will come out behind an apartment complex garage, and into a parking lot:
The overpass is the CSX bypass. At this point, the Auburn trail ends for a couple of miles, so if you want to continue on it, you have 2 choices: either go by road to Powder Mill Park, more-or-less paralleling the Auburn Road, or take the Barge Canal Trail (which will be a future ride post) down to Bushnell's Basin, then up to Powder Mill.

If you wish to follow the canal trail, bear to the right, and either pick up the trail before the DelMonte Spa, or else go straight to the road. If you go straight, you will see the remnants of the railroad R.O.W. across the street, but there is no trail there:

If you follow the canal, a mile or so down the trail, you will see the old bridge abutments for the bridge that the Auburn Road took down around 1959:

There IS a small sector of the trail leading to the old bridge, but it is dirt. following the Canal trail at this point is much easier.

Coming soon: Bushnell's Basin to Victor.


Russian Troll Farmer
3,183 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Pittsford to Fishers and the Lehigh Valley crossing.

Picking up a few miles down the road; if travelling by bike, you'll need to go south on Main st, turn left onto State st, then an easy right onto South st, then continue SE on Rt. 96. Turn left on East st, continue a couple of miles to a left om Park st, then a right onto Railroad
mills rd. Shortly before you turn left and enter Powder Mills Park, the Auburn Trail will re-appear and cross the road. Here's what it looks like:

You will see old railroad concrete mile markers along the way that look like this: 44747551921_b925db5bc0_m.jpg

The S stands for miles to Syracuse

At this point, the trail more or less parallels Railroad Mills Rd. An odd name, because there are no longer any Mills or railroad. But, during the Civil war, this area was remote and was considered a perfect place to make gunpowder and explosives. The area is a glacial terminal moraine, and is quite hilly aside from the rail trail. It is also heavily forested in places, with a lot of deer, rabbits, etc. Here are some shots along the route southward towards Fishers, NY:
30877181298_f945cdb779_m.jpg 30877180458_f1dec7c1b0_m.jpg 30877179698_aa49e94c48_m.jpg 30877177148_38ebcb11eb_m.jpg

A little further down past that wooden bridge, you will go under the NY State Thruway, then into Fishers itself:

30877176328_cdb9e9cbce_m.jpg 30877175238_b3a167a58b_m.jpg 44698315122_30395ae577_m.jpg

That stonework building is a pumphouse for water needed for the steam locomotives (still wood-burning) in 1845. This is the second oldest railroad structure in all of North America. The smaller kiosk was a passenger shelter. This last saw a passenger train in 1958.

A couple of road crossings later, and you will come across a large abandoned truss bridge overpass, with a short connecting trail to your right:


This was the main line of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, a dual-track right-of-way, active from about 1885 to about 1976. It starts up as a trail less than a mile to the left, but to the right continues as a semi-improved trail another 15 miles or so, crossing the Genesee river on the old railroad high bridge where it meets up with the Pennsylvania Railroad rail trail, which runs north and south, following the old abandoned Genesee canal. These rail trails will be posted at some time in the future. Here are some pictures of the area; a plaque commemorating a major train accident here in 1960, as well as a shot of the Auburn Trail from the truss bridge:

29810662777_37e3790ea4_m.jpg 30877173258_ec5b361fc4_m.jpg

The Auburn Trail continues south to Victor, deviates a bit, then continues all the way to the town of Farmington, which I will cover in the next installment.
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