Salmon River Falls & Gorge Trail

Info: 112 acres along the Salmon River in the Town of Orwell, Oswego County, the falls drop 110 feet and has been an attraction since the 1800’s. Over a mile long trail going along this deep and impressive gorge and passing by the beautiful and deep falls and continuing to the dam. The main trail is easy walking at the beginning original section, but there are also some steep, treacherous trails and one that goes along the top of the falls. You can continue on the trail as it travels along the side of the river. 

There are numerous look-out areas, including one overhanging the falls. Numerous trail markers and info plaques, the info plaques are very good and tell a lot about the difficulty of the trail. This is considered to be somewhat of a dangerous area because of the deep gulf but has some protective cabling and fence, keeping to the main trail affords you plenty of safety. The dam at the other end of the trail also has a closed abandoned bridge. If you can continue easterly on the road that the trail entrance is on and take a left, you can find a picnic area on a right-hand turn-off complete with cook-outs and boat launch.
Other websites – Salmon River Falls from, DEC Site, Salmon River Falls photos from, photos and video from CNY Hiking.

Visitor Trail Review: “Amazing diversity of fern species in one place.
You can’t get lost on the yellow trail that runs to the dam as it follows the river edge, but actually picking out trail gets iffy in a few spots.
Keep dogs on leash as porcupines are not uncommon.
The first part of the trail, leading to a falls overlook is probably accessible to wheelchairs.
The hike down to the gorge below the falls is impressive, but would not be appropriate for young (less than 8) children. Steep, narrow and slippery at points. Keep an eye out for your kids if you go to the river above the falls.
—John Scott Foster, Ph.D.”

Directions: From Watertown take Route 81 and get off at the Sandy Creek/Lacona exit. Take a left onto County Route 22A (Salisbury Street). If coming from the south take 81 until reaching the Sandy Creek/Lacona exit and take a right onto County Route 15 (Harwood Dr).

Both roads come out to County Route 22 (Orwell Road or Lacona/Orwell Road). Take a right and continue on County Route 22, for approximately 9 miles (not an exact measurement). Eventually, you will find the junction of County Route 22 and Falls Road, continue to the left on Falls Road and approximately a half-mile down you will find the trail parking lot on the right (there should be signs). If you find that the road turns into gravel you have gone too far (this road leads to a boat launch and picnic area if you continue on it and take the first left, then a first right).

Nearby are a number of forest areas, some with trails; like Stave Mill State Forest and Chateaugay State Forest.


GPS coordinates: N43.54911 W75.94345

Trail Distance: A number of trails, the longest over a mile long.

Date/Time Open: Sunrise to Sunset. Some trails are not open during all times of the year.

Mountain Biking Allowed: No.

Regular Biking Allowed: No.

Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.

Difficulty: Very easy to very difficult, on some trails.

Cross-Country Skiing: Probably not.

Fishing: Unknown.

Pets Allowed: Yes, careful around the cliffs.

Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.

Special Instructions: Be careful! Deep Gorge with steep cliffs but easy walking on the main trail. No rock climbing or rappelling, biking, horses, stay on marked trails and designated areas, closed sunset to sunrise. Some trails closed during high water. Watch for dam water release on lower trails.

For More Information: DEC Site

Directions Map

Directions Map

Trail Map (from trail plaque)

Trail Map (from trail plaque)

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One Comment

  1. Should have a hand rail on steps going to top of slalom river falls

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