some dust in the wind

Three Little Known Water Havens of Jefferson and Oswego Counties New York

El Dorado Sanctuary

1. El Dorado Wildlife Sanctuary and Black Pond

Henderson, NY 13650

For more information go to: Dept of Environmental Conservation Black Pond


Home to fresh-water shore birds and water fowl, and migratory resting place to many others, The El Dorado Wildlife Sanctuary, like other Great Lakes wildlife refuges, is delicate. Dogs on leashes are allowed at the swimming beach and the sanctuary is day use only. Other restrictions are also in place.

This destination is known mostly to native upstate New-Yorkers, like long time resident Klaus Ebeling, shown above.



Busted! We were on the beach before September 30…but just barely!

During our visit in August, the nesting birds had already flown, and we stayed on the wet-packed sand at water’s edge until we had walked beyond the closed portion of the beach.

Mainly known to local swimmers, this lovely swimming beach would be a destination of hundreds if they knew it.

On your GPS,  plug in  Black Pond Wildlife Management Area . Or take Jefferson County Road 3 north from Mexico NY. Turn left on Bolton Road and follow signs to the parking area at the end of the road. After a 1/2 mile walk through shaded woods on a wooden boardwalk, you suddenly erupt onto the beach.

Swimming beach at boardwalk's end.
Swimming beach at boardwalk’s end.

Map to Black Pond Wildlife Management Area


2. Black River Trail near Watertown NY

2016-08-10 14.53.17

Black River Trail Head
Woodard Hill Rd, Black River, NY 13612

Map to Black River Trail-head

All-Trails does not have this hike/bike trail listed as a Rails to Trails trail, but when you check local history you learn that the trail was mostly built on the old No 8 railroad bed. The map portion below shows where the #8 ran.

old railline #8 Watertown to Black River NY

This easy 3.3 mile trail begins or ends just past the bridge off NY State Highway 3 from Watertown toward the Village of Black River.  A little way past the corner of Route 3 and Route 342 there is a bridge and a dam. Down this road is a picnic area created by National Grid. The trail goes to the Ridge Road end of the trail.

To start from the Watertown end of the trail, take Route NY 126 eastward to Weaver Road. Turn left and go a few blocks to Ridge Road. Turn right. A small parking lot at the trailhead will be on your left.

For more information about this trail, see NNY Trails, a very complete record of trail systems in Jefferson County, NY & surrounding areas of Northern NY – Hiking, Walking, Nature Trails, Parks w/Trails, & Historical Trails.

low water Black River


3. Salmon River Falls and Gorge

Salmon River Falls (bottom)

Falls Rd Richland, NY 13144

Map to Salmon River Falls

Bring your swim-suit if you visit this one during warm weather, as swimming is not restricted here. Here am I, wishing I had brought mine.

But don’t try it in high water, because below is how it looks during early spring!

high water salmon falls




From Altmar, NY, take Orwell County Route 22 eastward and northward to Falls Road. Turn right and go about 1/2 mile to the Salmon Falls Parking area. It is about 1 mile to the base of the falls, less if you veer left to the lookout at top of the falls. There you can approach the falls during low water season and see for some distance down the gorge.

The trail to the bottom of the falls is pretty good, with steps cut out from the rocky cliff, but it is steep and potentially dangerous if you like to take chances.

gorge Salmon River NY

Here I am at the top of Salmon River gorge. You can see the gorge in the background.

For more about this place, visit the NNY Trails website NNY Trails Salmon River Falls and Gorge.



Powered By IK Facebook Plugin