Better Know a Pittsford Trail: Railroad Loop Edition

I am all about the utility of bicycling. We ride as our main mode of transportation whenever we can–to run errands, visit parks, haul all manner of things, and see friends. I could go on and on about my love of biking for transportation, and why I think it’s so great not just for my health but for the health of my entire community. I probably will–but just not in this post!

This post is all about recreational cycling (and walking, running, and adventuring!) in Pittsford. Did you know there are nearly 80 miles of recreational and public pathways, including over 42 miles of trails and accessways and over 37 miles of sidewalks in the Town of Pittsford? This is not to say that many of these trails cannot be used for active transportation–many certainly can, and I know plenty of people who walk or bike this particular trail to Wegmans. Without further ado…

Lock 62/Auburn Trail Loop (Railroad Loop Trail)

Distance: ~5 mi

Surface: gravel, crushed stone, dirt, grass, pavement–a little bit of everything!

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Map courtesy of Town of Pittsford

The good: This (mostly) peaceful trail provides a direct connection between the Village of Pittsford and both the eastern and western sides of Monroe Avenue along Pittsford Plaza. This connection allows access to shopping without driving or walking along 40 mph roads. The trail is well-maintained and sections of this trail are quite vegetated with lovely wild phlox and wild honeysuckle.

The bad: The least enjoyable portion of the trail for me was crossing at Clover and Monroe. The intersection does have crosswalks and walking signals but with fast traffic, wide roads, no shade trees, and lots of driveways to navigate, it’s not the most pedestrian- or bike-friendly (or let’s face it–car-friendly) environment. This trail is probably best served by a mountain bike as short sections of the trail are narrow and root-filled, but we did it with two kids on our cruisers, so it’s definitely doable, perhaps with a quick hop-off-and-walk here and there.

The in-between: Two parts of this trail can be tricky to find: the trailhead at the end of a parking lot off Grove St and the connection behind the Bird House (more on that later). This trail includes two crossings of French Road, but both crossings had fairly good visibility and we had no trouble crossing. The trail is technically closed at dark. After all the rain this spring, there were a few damp sections, again probably best suited for a bike with wider tires.


Right after joining the trail off of Grove St in the Village of Pittsford, this portion of the Auburn Trail follows suburban backyards and is quite verdant


Eastern French Rd crossing with good visibility in both directions


The trail follows closely behind the Pittsford commercial malls, which while it isn’t the prettiest of sections, has many great access points for the businesses along here


A cute bridge with Park Ave Bikes on the left and golf course on the right


The eastern portion of the trail dead-ends at the Clover Commons parking lot, so at that point it’s time to find the sidewalk to cross Monroe Ave


Cover and Monroe. Fast cars. Wide streets. No shade. Luckily it’s a very short part of the trail!

It took a little searching to find the trailhead again on the west side of Monroe. It’s behind the Bird House, but up a short grassy hill, almost behind the next parking lot to the right.


We found it!


Do a little dance, we found the trail again! In the background, you can see the Bird House parking lot and the hill to rejoin the trail

Here’s where the trail became slightly root-filled and a bit tricky without a mountain bike or taking to foot. But follow the trail a short bit and you’ll find yourself at historic Lock 62 where the trail becomes easier to navigate.



Lock 62


Western French Rd crossing

The trail follows along a wide electrical power right-of-way after crossing French Rd, and then bends towards the canal and voila, you’re back on the pavement of the Erie Canal towpath. A totally doable morning adventure, and possibly my new favorite way to get to Wegmans.



Approaching the Erie Canal towpath

This new type of post will explore some of Pittsford’s trails for walking and biking. We hope to explore nearly all of them over time, and if there’s any that you’d love to see highlighted, leave a comment for us or send us an email if you’d like to do a guest post.


2 thoughts on “Better Know a Pittsford Trail: Railroad Loop Edition

  1. WalkableROC

    Oh, that Clover/Monroe intersection! 🙁

    I wrote about being a pedestrian on Clover there a couple years ago:

    I keep waiting for the Town of Brighton to improve the aesthetics of that area, given that it’s such a popular commercial area. Whenever I see pedestrians crossing that area, I think “Godspeed, person.” And even the road-hardened spandex-wearing cyclists have fear in their eyes when trying to get through there.

    Great post! Love the family biking pics.

  2. Renee Stetzer

    Love the new series! And I super dig the nod to Stephen Colbert ( “The fightin’ 5th!”)

    My kids and I continue that trail via the railroad loop trail (behind Mamasan’s) to get to neighborhoods in Brighton and the city. Like you mentioned, it is helpful to have mountain bikes at some of the points, but that might improve as more people ride. It’s a narrow dirt trail with lots of rocks and brush on either side. But it’s a quiet ride behind houses, Council Rock Elementary School, the Harley School and up to Midtown Athletic Club. At Highland, you can connect with the bike boulevard and take it to School #1 and Cobbs Hill Park. In front of School #1, there is a ped/bike overpass to take you over 490 and into the Park Ave neighborhood.

    You do, of course, have to brave that intersection at Clover, which is absolutely heart-pounding with kids. Drivers do not stop and are not even thinking there might be people outside of cars.


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