Groomed trail
No
Elevation Gain
212.00 ft (64.62 m)
Distance
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Warming hut
No
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During the winter, golf courses across the Northeast sit as lonely plains of snow. Around 2016, the town of Irondequoit decided to groom Nordic trails on its local course. This was a celebrated move, because the course is part of Durand Eastman Park, a surprisingly beautiful tract of hilly, wooded land with natural water features next to Lake Ontario.

Because the trails cut right through the golf course, the result is convenient access to trails suitable for all abilities. Skate skiers get their workout on the loops, and beginners appreciate the wide-open space that gives them a chance to experience friendly terrain without fear of turns and trees. The main trail loop is actually a combination of loops and a there-and-back section. The main part is about 7 kilometers, but there are numerous side loops you can take to add a little challenge and nice views, including one of Lake Ontario. Beginners can stick to loops on the fairways.

Because it's located right off of Lake Ontario, the weather can be fussy. Biting winter winds blow off the lake through the golf course, making this area feel colder than spots that are just a few more miles inland. When the sun shines, it's a glorious spot to soak up some rays, which are pretty rare during Rochester's gray season. However, when the sun shines, the golf course melts faster than other spots.

Confused about the best time to go? When it's snowing or immediately afterwards. The best advice for Durand Eastman is this: don't put off skiing tomorrow if the conditions look good today. Keep an eye on lake-effect snow. Sometimes this place will have more snow cover than others. This works in reverse, too.

Access is easy. Park in the golf clubhouse parking lot. Across the street, on the north end of the parking lot, you can choose your starting point. There is a groomed loop around a large open space (the first fairway). Follow the trail until you get to the far north end. At this point, there is also a large grove of mature oak trees with another groomed trail that runs about 0.4 mile. This little side jaunt treats you to a view of Lake Ontario. After completing this side trail, follow the main trail where it wraps around the hill and down a gentle slope.

After going down the hill, follow the trail heading south (away from the lake). It will take you to more fairways and greens. You can go straight or veer to the left across a bridge then go immediately right for another side trail that runs along the main trail. This one gives you a bit more up and down. When you hook back up to the main trail, turn left and follow the main trail across the snow-covered greens. It will lead you up to a choke point between two wooded hills. Once through the choke point, the trail loops around another small fairway and green. Here you have a choice: Complete the loop and stay on the fairways or go through the wooden posts and follow the trail upward over the wooded hill.

At this point, you're on a one-way trail, so don't take it in reverse. In fact, the only place this is marked as a one way is on the trail map found on the Rochester XC Ski Foundation website. But somehow, everyone seems to know this. Now you do, too!

Once you crest the hill, you'll see another fairway through the trees. The trail almost has that old-world feel of a holloway, a sunken road due to age and weathering. At the sign for "Par 6," turn left. You'll be back on the main fairway. Go to your left and continue on the main groomed trail. It will lead you back to the starting point on the northern end, up the original hill and to the parking lot.

The trails are used but not too crowded. Occasionally, a high school Nordic race is hosted here on weeknight evenings. One annoyance comes from walkers who don't understand that the groomed trails are for skis, not pedestrians. As a result, you may get holes punched into the tracks. The clubhouse is closed for the season, but there is a single port-a-potty. The road to the clubhouse and parking lot are plowed regularly.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Convenient. Well-groomed. Suitable for beginners.

Cons

Temperamental weather. Walkers on tracks.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Trailhead Elevation

125.00 ft (38.10 m)

Highest point

171.00 ft (52.12 m)

Net Elevation Gain

133.00 ft (40.54 m)

Features

Wildlife
Near lake or river
Family friendly

Trail type

Loop

Typically multi-day

No

Snowmobiles allowed

No

Location

Field Guide

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