Hiking along the Genesee: Canadice Lake – West Lake Trail – 4.0 miles one-way

Canadice Lake – West Lake Trail – 4.0 miles one-way

About 2 miles south of Hemlock village on State Route 15A turn east onto Purcell Hill Road. The North Trail Head is at a parking lot about 1 mile down Purcell Hill Road at the lake outlet. The South Trail Head is about 4 miles south of the outlet, down Canadice Lake Road (east side) where there is also ample parking. Both trail heads are marked by yellow vehicle barriers.

The trail is an old cottage access road dating to the mid-1800’s. [See Hike #7 and www.HemlockandCanadiceLakes.com for a summary of the area’s history and role in Rochester’s water supply.] It is well-maintained packed dirt and amply wide to allow for social distancing. Crossing streams are contained in culverts and do not require wading or rock hopping. Canadice Lake is always visible through a thin boundary of trees. The trees along the southern 1.5 miles of trail open up and the bank comes close water level, allowing more expansive views of the lake. The last .75 miles of the trail loops around the south end of the lake through a wetland full of birds and drowned trees. A DEC nature trail extends south off the main trail for several hundred yards into the wetland marsh with ducks and turtles.

Like Hemlock Lake, Canadice is part of the Rochester water supply. All the structures surrounding it were torn down in the late 1800’s and the surrounding land is a state forest. Boat motors are limited to 10hp and most boating is done by canoe and kayak. Thus, the lake is not much changed from its appearance when settlers first arrived in the 1790’s. As such, it is an often-underappreciated rarity in the crowded northeast. To fully appreciate this jewel, try to arrive early in the day.

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