One of our favorite things about the Rochester, NY area is the beautiful parks and nature trails. At MyDogLikes we continue to share dog friendly parks with our readers in order to support our mission and encourage pet parents to incorporate their dogs into a healthy, active lifestyle. Though we know our readers are spread out all over the world, we want to share the things we do with our boys, so that you begin to think about the wonderful resources in your own backyard.
With diverse terrain and beautiful sights, we have enjoyed the Monroe County Parks System for years with the dogs. Recently, we were shocked to learn that we have only scratched the surface of the natural treasures in the area! While putting together our feature on Corbett’s Glen Nature Park, we discovered the Genesee Land Trust – a local conservation organization that is working hard to protect the lands around the Rochester, NY area. In its work, this group has set aside 35 additional parks, preserves, refuges, and sanctuaries!
Although some require special invitation to explore, 18 of these unique places are open to the public! We made plans to begin visiting right away. First on our list…Gosnell Big Woods Preserve!
About Gosnell Big Woods Preserve
Located in the town of Webster, Gosnell Big Woods encompasses 163 acres of old growth forest, fields and meadows. This park was established in 2006 through a combination of donated and sold lands from Thomas and Georgia Gosnell. The preserve consists of 3 main trails; each exploring a different terrain within the park.
We visited Gosnell Big Woods on a weekend in Mid October hoping to enjoy a hike in the beautiful Western New York Fall foliage.
The Big Field Trail
We entered Gosnell Big Woods Preserve through the parking lot at the corner of Vosburg and Drumm Roads (indicated by the “P” in the map above). This set us out directly on the Big Field Trail (in green). A look around and it becomes quite evident where the name comes from.
The views on this trail are stunning, especially in the fall. We stopped for a bit to admire the beauty and expanse of the fields, and also to squeeze in a quick photo shoot with Charlie! It seems our little wiggle but needed to burn some energy before starting our hike and the big open field was a great place to get a little off-leash time and throw around his favorite Chuck-It Frisbee!! The tall grasses provided the perfect hiding spot for an overgrown puppy who doesn’t like to give up his prized possession!
The Big Woods Trail is a 1.2 mile loop around the grassy field. Along the trail you are presented with several different trail options to choose from.
I’ve made my decision, Let’s go!
The Overlook is a short walk from the main trail which will dead-end at pretty ravine. Here you can look over some of the terrain in the woods before starting your hike!
Big Woods Trail
Next up on our hike was the Big Woods Trail (red on the trail map). As we read on the map at the start of this trail, this is considered old growth forest – which at one time would have covered much of the Northeast. Many of these trees are hundreds of years old. I was content to read on about the history and ecology but Harley thought I had read enough and decided it was time to venture in!
The Big Woods Trail is not especially well marked or worn (particularly with leaves all over), but that is by design. The intent of the Preserve is to impact the land as little as possible while still enabling it to be explored and enjoyed. There were a couple of spots where the trail was unclear, but its a huge help when you have a trail sensing dog like Harley by your side.
Is that a bit of water I see?!?
The Big Woods Trail is an “out and back” trail. Toward the end of the trail we took a short detour onto the Ridge Trail. This trail serves as a connection to Pellet Road as well the White Trail in the Whiting Road Nature Preserve.
We stopped near the road and headed back to return down the Big Woods Trail.
Small Meadow Trail
Finally, we embarked on the Small Meadow Trail (marked in yellow on the map above). This trail starts off winding through a series of switchbacks eventually leading to a secluded meadow. While the entire park was quiet and peaceful, this area of the park was especially so. We stopped for a bit to rest and enjoy the scenery.
Why MyDogLikes Gosnell Big Woods
Gosnell Big Woods is a real gem in the area and we are so glad to have learned about it. The dogs had an absolute blast exploring the woods and rolling in the meadows. The trails are very accessible, especially the Big Field and Small Meadow and would make for a great hike for all ages. While the Big Field and southern section of Small Meadow are accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, etc, much of the Big Woods and Northern Small Meadow trail would be difficult to access. Because the trail is minimally developed, there are also roots to watch out for!
We loved Gosnell Big Woods preserve and can’t wait to explore more of the lands protected by the Genesee Land Trust.