Wintertime Recreation
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For recreation lovers, Genesee County has a variety of experiences in all four distinct seasons. The winter season is a splendid time of the year for outdoor enthusiasts to embrace the cold winter and get outside for exercise and exploration.

A bustling place in the winter months is Genesee County Park & Forest (11095 Bethany Center Rd, East Bethany, NY). New York State’s oldest county park features Saturday afternoon snowshoeing and winter hikes, group hikes and interesting programs such as their annual Owl Prowl and Moonlight Snowshoe Hikes.

On Saturdays in the month of January and February, the park features afternoon hikes from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Each hike includes a naturalist, who gives a guided tour pertaining to a specific topic involving the forest or wildlife. Groups can also participate in a guided hike on Saturday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.  You don’t have to go on a guided tour or own a pair of snowshoes to enjoy snowshoeing at the park. The trails are open for snowshoeing during the daytime hours. Snowshoe rentals are available Thursdays through Sundays.

Each winter the park features two unique evening events: the Owl Prowl and the Moonlight Snowshoe Hike and Winter Walk. Both events take participants outdoors to learn about some of nature’s nighttime wonders. For a schedule of hikes and their topics, visit Genesee County Park & Forest’s website for more information.

Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center

The Mohawk Ski Trail at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is a 7.5 mile hiking (loop) trail of the Mohawk Pool inside the refuge. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is New York State’s largest wildlife refuge and is filled with hundreds of species of animals. The trails are self-guided with signs indicating appropriate routes of travel. The trails are not groomed regularly by Refuge staff and obstructions to the trails are expected. The trails close over March 1st to minimize disturbances to nesting and resting wildlife.

Darien Lakes State Park (10475 Harlow Road, Darien Center) has miles of trails for both snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. The multiple-use trails throughout the state park feature rolling hills and a few deep ravines.  One of the main paths traversing the park is the Conservation Trail, which takes hikers from the Pennsylvania/New York border to the Canadian border. The park is home to multiple species of birds and wildlife.

The Mohawk Ski Trail at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge<br>Photo Credit: M.Prush/USFWS

New this winter is the addition of an outdoor skating rink at Dewitt Recreation Area in Batavia. The rink is open six days a week and is at the mercy of mother nature. And it’s free too! For a list of times and rules, click here.

outdoor skating rink at Dewitt Recreation Area in Batavia<br>Photo credit: Howard B. Owens
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