New York Nature, Waterfalls April 22, 2022
Discover A Pristine Paradise When You Visit New York’s Salmon River Falls
Upstate New York is known for its incredible natural beauty and stunning waterfront scenery – hundreds of waterfalls included! But the best and most beautiful places in the state aren’t just the magnificent cascades that visitors and locals have come to know and love (we’re looking at you,
Watkins Glen and Niagara!); they’re also the sweet hidden gems and green spaces nestled off of the beaten path. Oftentimes, lesser-known waterfalls are just an added bonus when you visit!
Salmon River Falls in the Salmon River Unique Area is one such paradise. This gorgeous spot offers multiple stunning cascades, a peaceful canopy setting, and is the launch point for some incredible trails. It’s the whole package! If you’re looking for a peaceful escape in New York to reconnect with nature, Salmon River Falls should be on your list. Check it out:
Just a few miles outside of Orwell, the Salmon River Unique Area is a bit of a surprise to visitors who stumble upon it.
But while this historic area is no secret to in-the-know locals, many people don't realize that this 100-plus acre region is also home to a stunning spectacle.
Tumbling down 110 feet into the Salmon River, Salmon River Falls isn't quite the tallest waterfall in New York, but it still makes for a jaw-dropping destination!
This striking three tiered waterfall can also be seen as one magnificent cascade during its peak season. But whether a delicate charmer or a raging torrent, this beauty is certainly worth a visit in any season!
The Salmon River Unique Area is called 'unique' for a reason. The clear waters, sheer, impressive 3,000-foot gorge, and stunning scenery are an absolute marvel.
The Salmon River Unique Area is relatively new, having only been established in the mid-90s as a step towards protecting this incredibly beautiful spot and the delicate ecosystem that surrounds it. Many rare species of flora thrive here!
The sudden drop into the gorge - formed by the powerful, ancient waters of the Salmon River - is nothing short of spectacular.
Visitors even have the opportunity to step carefully across the top of the falls for a spectacular bird's-eye view of the gorge and the epic landscape surrounding it.
However, take note that there are no rails or safety features in place here - so an abundance of caution should be used, along with heightened awareness of leave-no-trace principles. It's a long, dangerous fall to the bottom! Please keep the pups and kiddos safely on the main trail for their safety. Injuries and fatalities are all-too common here.
But what sets this lush paradise apart from New York's other falls is its surroundings, which become a sought-after destination every fall for the area's thick, vibrant foliage.
The hike to the top of the falls is easier than you think! It's just a quick, paved walk from the parking lot.
Keep in mind that there are multiple trails to explore, however - and not all are wheelchair or stroller friendly. The main Falls Trail is a developed, paved trail that is easily accessible from the parking area and offers multiple overlooks of the falls. The Gorge Trail is a slippery, challenging climb upwards, but easy on the way down. You'll also find an Upper Falls Trail and a Riverbed Trail, although play close attention to
signage and closures
as the weather changes and as crews work to maintain and improve the area.
While the view from the top is nothing short of breathtaking, you'll definitely want to view the falls from the base to understand how truly impressive this cascade is.
During the low season, the river is an excellent place to splash around and cool off, or toss a line. So long as you stay a safe distance from the waterfall and follow all current SRUA guidelines.
Fortunately, whatever trail you choose, there are countless viewing options and plenty of photography opportunities from every angle!
This is definitely an all-seasons wonder hidden away in New York!
Don't believe us? Check out this incredible footage of Salmon River Falls in winter!
Daily passes are required to climb the falls, so be sure to do your research beforehand, check the weather forecast, and - most importantly - be safe!
We’d like to grant New York the unofficial title of “Waterfall Capital of the World,” please and thank you! What do you think of Salmon River Falls? Do you have any favorite trails in the area? We’d love to hear about it!
For some no-hike New York goodies, check out some of our favorite roadside waterfalls here! Or, nominate your favorite NY spot here. Address: Salmon River Falls, Orwell, NY 13302, USA