Webster Park, a Monroe county park, is located along the shore of Lake Ontario in Webster, NY. The park is roughly divided into an western park and eastern park, with "east creek" dividing the two. The eastern park contains most of the large open fields, picnic pavilions, playgrounds and tennis courts. The western park is dedicated to overnight camping and contains the majority of the trails.
Webster Park is relatively small, but the network of main trails and secondary trails can keep a hiker occupied for the better part of a day. In general and with a few exceptions, most of the trails are very poorly marked. The main trails are marked with colored paint stripes on the trees and sometimes a trail head maker. However, many of these markers are faded, fallen down, or overgrown such that it can be difficult to follow these signs. In addition, many of the secondary trails are as wide and well traveled (if not more so) as the main trails, so that it is really easy to wander off onto a secondary trail without realizing it. The official trail map can be found at the Monroe County website, linked below. However, there are many inaccuracies in the official map, coupled with many unmarked second trails. It's not uncommon to see hikers, with official map in hand, lost in the park.
In addition to the painted markers, there are a series of numbered markers located mostly in the center of the park. These are marked on the official trail map, but many are missing and some are misplaced. The center of the park also has several signs posted by the Boy Scouts (circa 2002), which can be very helpful, however they only mark 3 or 4 of the central trails. The Friends of Webster Parks have placed some well-built sign posts for the Whiting Road Trail and Midnight trails. Finally, some of the secondary trails are marked with various make shift plastic ribbons, colored clothes, and other unofficial markers.
Overall, its really easy to get lost in trails, however, given the short lengths of the trails and the park's small size, you can't stay lost for long. However, if you can't afford to be lost for an unplanned 30-60 minutes, its best to bring along a GPS and not rely on the trail markers alone, even if you are only planning to stick with the 'main' trails.
Most of the main trails are relatively flat and wide. The West Trail and the Ryan Point Trail have some inclines which are not too difficult for hikers, but can be a little trickier for cross country skiing. Many of the secondary trails have have some steeper sections and/or are more narrow than the main trails and should be considered medium difficulty. There are not many areas in the park which would be considered difficult terrain.
Update: New red markings have been added extending the west trail all the way to the north west parking lot. This new trail section is a bit rough with a couple of steep inclines, but has been well marked.
Discrepancies with the official on-line map:
- Trail Lengths shown here do not include sections of paved park road, in addition to other variations described below.
The Orchard Trail actually extends along Mill Creek to connect with the Valley View Trail. This section is marked with (often very faded) painted purple markers. The branch (marked here with a pink line) shown on the map as a loop does exist but is not marked along the creek so most hikers heading south with keep walking right past it, following the purple marks. The unmarked branch does have a trail head marker at the end, but it is hidden behind some bushes. Since it is so close to the valley view trail head, which is more traveled, most hikers will walk right past it too.
- The new west trail (added circa 2010) starts from the north west parking lot and follows the park boundary along the north west section, crossing the west creek with a small bridge. This new section has not been added to the online map.
- The (old) west trail entrance is actually the second trail as you enter the park. There is a well traveled secondary trail north of the west trail which is not marked on the map. Many visitors will confuse this trail with the west trail and end up going around the wrong loop. In addition, the official map shows the red trail crossing west creek in the north west corner. However, the bridge for this crossing has been out for several years and since this portion of the trail is down a steep hill, not many hikers travel this way so that this portion of the trail can be difficult to find. The trail map shown here removes that section of the trail.
- The "White Trail" is not shown on the map, but is a popular trail from the western lake road parking lot, especially in winter when the camp area is closed. Note that, the connector trail to the Whiting Road Preserve is also marked with white markers.
- The markers indicated on the map around the Ryan's point trail are not all in the right place. The many branching side trails in this area can be confusing.
The whiting road trail is new and connects to the trails in the neighboring Whiting Road Preserve.
Another new trail is the Midnight trail. This trail extends beyond the official borders of the park onto private lands, so please be considerate in this area.