Whenever I’m traveling around New York, I always love to seek out the small local parks that few know about. So, on a trip to Rochester, I was excited to stumble across Corbett’s Glen Nature Park.
Corbett’s Glen Nature Park is a 52-acre park located in the town of Brighton, only a few miles southeast of downtown Rochester.
While Corbett’s Glen isn’t a large park and only features a few miles of hiking trails, there are several special spots, especially in the southern reaches of the park, that make it well worth visiting when you’re looking for things to do in Rochester, NY.
To see this area, I started my exploration at the southern parking area just off of Linden Avenue and Exit 23 along I-490. This short and easy hike through the park took me through a historic tunnel, past two small but beautiful waterfalls, and through a scenic woodland, making this a great option for those looking for a short hike.
Where to Park for Corbett’s Glen Nature Park
There are two parking areas for Corbett’s Glen. Neither is large, so this spot is best visited outside of popular times.
The southern parking area is the best option for those looking to visit the waterfalls and the parts of the park talked about it. It can be found along Glen Road at the following coordinates: 43.129020, -77.522335.
There is room for a few cars to pull off onto the side of the road on both sides of Glen Road at this spot. Otherwise, the road is covered in “No Parking” signs, so make sure to only park in the available spaces.
The only exception is that there are two handicapped parking spots located at the end of the road on the far side of the tunnel. Note that this is despite there being several signs indicating that there is no parking further down the road (which is true for those without a handicap sticker).
For those looking for a longer hike or wanting to explore the northern section of the park, there is an eight-spot parking lot off of Penfield Road at the following coordinates: 43.137686, -77.526836.
From here, it’s a 0.8-mile walk to the tunnel and the area discussed in this article.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
Hiking at Corbett’s Glen Nature Park
From the parking area along Glen Road, it’s a roughly 200-yard walk down the public road and through the historic Corbett’s Glen Tunnel to the official start of the trail. Along the way, make sure to watch out for local traffic along the street and even in the tunnel.
Corbett’s Glen Tunnel was built in 1882 by the New York Central Railway. It is said to possibly be the largest railroad embankment in New York, and it’s still used by trains today.
Walking through this tunnel feels like walking into another world.
On one side of the tunnel’s interior, you’ll find a narrow one-way road that is used to access the homes on the far side of the tunnel and the handicapped parking area.
On the other side of the tunnel, Allen Creek runs through a channel with its beautifully clear waters glistening off the tunnel’s walls.
On the far side of the tunnel from the parking area, Allen Creek drops 5-6 feet, which is quite a stunning sight with the backdrop of the tunnel.
It’s worth noting that while the entire trail is not handicapped accessible, the two handicapped spots are within feet of this waterfall, and it can easily be visited by wheelchairs.
To continue on the hike, follow Allen Creek downstream towards the park’s sign and a set of wooden stairs.
Before proceeding down the steps, make sure to take a quick peek at the sign. Not only does it have a park map, but it also has a notebook filled with historic images of the park, which are quite interesting to see.
Once you’re done here, head down the stairs and start your hike along the Perimeter Trail. This loop trail is about three-quarters of a mile long and circles the outer edge of Corbett’s Glen Nature Park.
Shortly after starting on this trail, the wooden fence that keeps you from getting too close to the banks of Allen Creek opens up and a side trail heads off to the right.
Here, you’ll find Postcard Falls.
Postcard Falls is the most well-known spot in Corbett’s Glen Nature Park, though it’s only about 6-8 feet tall. Regardless, it’s quite stunning as the creek’s water cascades over many small ledges for the entire 40-50 foot width of the waterway.
Unfortunately, views are a bit limited by trees from the viewing area.
Once you’ve finished enjoying Postcard Falls, continue back to the main trail. While you could simply return to your car from here, the Perimeter Trail is short, flat, and quite beautiful, so I definitely recommend turning right to continue on this hike.
As you hike the Perimeter Trail, you’ll go past the South Meadow Trail and the Cross Meadow Trail, both of which cut across the meadow instead of following its edge. While these would give you a shorter hike, they don’t really cut that much milage off.
Plus, if you continue on the Perimeter Trail, as I did, you’ll have a chance to really see the best of Corbett’s Glen forest and meadow.
About half a mile into the hike, there are two nice sections of boardwalk that cross the meadow and add some nice interest to the trail. It’s worth noting that if you take the South Meadow Trail, the first trail on your left after Postcard Falls, you’ll miss this scenic portion of the hike.
Since the Perimeter Trail is less than a mile and a very easy hike, you’ll very quickly find yourself back at the tunnel and the road back to your car. While you could head further into the park’s northern section to extend your hike, I opted to simply return to my car at this point.
All told, counting the walk to and from my car, the hike was about a mile in length and quite a stunning mile at that.
In that short distance, I hiked through a beautiful tunnel (twice), past two small waterfalls, and over a scenic boardwalk, meaning that this trail offers a lot to see without much difficulty.
So, if you’re exploring the Rochester area and are looking for a neat hike that’s unlikely to be crowded and is perfect for just about anyone that can walk a mile, don’t miss Corbett’s Glen Nature Park.
For more information on hiking at Corbett’s Glen or to access a map, check out the website for the park.