Orleans County is situated along a variety of national and statewide trails that link geographical assets, nature and history such as the Great Lakes Seaway Trail and Erie Canalway Trail. Locally, trails further define our heritage including the Cobblestone Trail and Country Barn Quilt Trail. The east end of the Niagara Wine Trail in Orleans County links to the neighboring Finger Lakes Wine Country to the immediate east. Enjoy our trails by boat, bike, motorcycle, or conventional methods!
The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (INWR) at 1101 Casey Rd, Basom (off Route 63 at the Genesee/Orleans County border) is over 10,800 acres of wooded swamp, marshland and meadows providing a stopping point for an estimated 100,000 Canada geese and 266 species of birds during their spring and fall migrations. Sixty species are considered year-round residents. Activities include nature trails, overlooks, photography blind (by permit), canoeing in designated areas, fishing, hunting (by permit) and cross country skiing/snowshoeing. The visitor center is open weekdays 7:30 AM-4 PM year-round and weekends 9 AM-5 PM spring and fall. Trails and overlooks are open sunrise to sunset, year-round. Fishing areas are open from sunrise to sunset within state seasons. The INWR is periodically featured on CBS’ Sunday Morning Moments of Nature segment. Trails include:
- Swallow Hollow Trail: 5828 Knowlesville Rd, Oakfield
- Onondaga Trail: Sour Springs Rd.
- Kanyoo Trail: Lewiston Rd.
- Feeder Road Trail: Feeder & Dunlop Rds., Shelby
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 518 mile scenic driving route that follows the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River in New York and Pennsylvania. Follow 25 miles along the Lake Ontario State Parkway and Route 18 in Orleans County. One of the first roads in America to be designated as a National Scenic Byway, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail includes unique historical locations such as the Oak Orchard Lighthouse in Point Breeze, cultural heritage sites as well as outstanding views and scenic vistas. Fish at the 2013 Ultimate Fishing Town of Point Breeze year round. Schedule a drive on Tuesday evenings in July & August for a concert series in the Orleans County Marine Park or catch a Shakespeare in the Park performance in August.
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor: 25 miles of the 360 mile Erie Canal cuts through Orleans County and includes 3 port villages: Medina, Albion & Holley. Year round activities include:
- Hike or cycle the 25 mile stone dust towpath in Orleans County
- View the bluebirds at 180 nesting boxes in and around Albion
- Visit Holley Falls, Medina Falls & Aqueduct
- Drive under the Erie Canal at the Culvert
When the water flows From Mid-April to mid-October, activities include:
- Canalside concerts & festivals at the ports of Holley, Albion & Medina
- Boating, canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding
- Fish for bass, catfish, carp, yellow perch, sunfish and more
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is celebrating National Plan For Vacation Day on January 25, 2022 with the release of seven new multiday itineraries that make it easy to plan a trip along the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail.
- The itineraries feature cycling, paddling, and sightseeing options with plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy regional foods and beverages.
- Information about accessibility is included to make it easier for people of all abilities to experience the canals.
- Trip options include Erie Canal Samplers in greater Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany; a Village-to-Village tour of canal towns; multiday cycling trips in western and eastern New York; and paddling and sightseeing excursions along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and Seneca Lake.
- The itineraries were developed with support from the National Park Service and by Market New York through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as a part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council awards.
- View the itineraries here: https://eriecanalway.org/itineraries
Country Barn Quilt Trail: Begin your tour at Partyka Farms on Routes 272 & 18 just off the Seaway Trail. Pick up a map and step-on guide for a homespun tour of over 50 barn quilt patterns. The Barn Quilt Trail is about 21 miles long and takes a little over an hour to complete. Many of the quilt patterns have very interesting and sometime poignant backgrounds, with names like The Farmer’s Daughter, Carpenter’s Wheel, Circle the Field, and Joseph’s Coat. Next, head west and end your visit with a tour of the Cobblestone Museum. For a sweet treat travel south on Rt. 98 to Watt Farms Country Market to sample homemade fudge.
Cobblestone Trail on Ridge Road: The “Ridge” sits upon a ridge of sand once forming the shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois before receding 10,000 years ago. It was first used by the Senecas and Iroquois, and in 1798 a road was traced through the forest near the ridge, transforming the trail into a stage coach turnpike. Tillman’s Village Inn at Childs is the only surviving stage coach stop. The Ridge is often referred to as “the road of the cobblestone houses,” for there are more such buildings along its 25 miles from Rochester than on any highway in America. The Cobblestone Museum in Childs is the only cobblestone museum in the world. It showcases the unique masonry construction method using stones rounded and polished into cobble by glacial action. Visit our Cobblestone page to view a map featuring over 100 cobblestone structures’ locations throughout Orleans County.
100 Must-See Miles on the Erie Canal: Orleans County has partnered up with Visit Rochester and Wayne County Tourism to develop the 100 Must-See Miles on the Erie Canal brochure – A passport through history and a guidebook for today. It features the Top 50 Points of Interest including historical sites, recreational activities and nature sites along the 100 miles from the canal ports of Medina (Orleans County) to Clyde (Wayne County). Visit the website.
Cycling Trails (go to info page>>> )
We developed several self guided cycling trails to accommodate different cycling abilities for families (<10 miles), recreational routes (10-20 miles) and challenging routes (>20 miles).
- Amish Country Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)
- Barn Quilt Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)
- Cemetery Cycling Trail (Recreational)
- Cobblestone Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)
- Erie Canal Cycling Trail (Challenging)
- Holley Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)
- Lakeshore Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)
- Sandstone Cycling Trails (Family, Recreational & Challenging)