Fall Foliage Driving Tours
Circular Foliage Route
- This route passes through some of the most beautiful areas of eastern Oswego County, such as Littlejohn and Happy Valley NYSDEC Wildlife Management Areas, and the Salmon River Reservoir. Beginning at the intersection of NYS Rte. 104 to its junction with NYS Rte. 13. Turn right and continue on Rte. 13 until it meets Co. Rte. 17 in Williamstown. Turn left, heading north on Rte. 17 up to Littlejohn Wildlife Management Area, at the intersection with Co. Rte. 15. This road leads west into Sandy Creek, where it meets Rte. 3. At this intersection, turn left, driving south on Rte. 3 to Mexico, to complete the circle.
- Another tour adds the waters of Panther Lake, Oneida Lake, Salmon River, and the Salmon River Reservoir to the views of the remarkable foliage. Starting at the intersection of State Rte. 49 and county Rte. 17 in Bernhard’s Bay, take Rte. 49 west until it intersects with county Rte. 11 in West Monroe. Turn right, heading north on Rte. 11 until it intersects with State Rte. 69. Turn left on Rte. 69, heading west. Turn right, onto county Rte. 26, turn left onto Rte. 22 and head north to the intersection with State Rte. 104. Take Rte. 22 north through the village of Altmar, along the Salmon River, and into the town of Orwell to the intersection with county Rte. 2. Turn right onto Rte. 2 and follow east to the intersection with county Rte. 17 in Redfield. Take a right on Rte. 17, heading south past the Salmon River Reservoir and Panther Lake and back to Bernhard’s Bay.
- This tour takes visitors to the NYSDEC Salmon River Fish Hatchery in the village of Altmar and then to view the breath- taking Salmon River Falls in the town of Orwell.
- From Oswego, or from I-81 exit 34, take State Rte. 104, east to county Rte. 22, following the signs for the Altmar Fish Hatchery. Turn left onto Rte. 22 and continue northeast approximately 5 miles to the village of Altmar. Turn right onto State Rte. 13. Turn left after .10 mile back onto Rte. 22. The Salmon River Fish Hatchery is one-half mile on the left, at 2133 county Rte. 22. The hatchery is open through Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors may view egg-taking on weekdays. Displays, exhibits, and outdoor fish ladders are open daily.
- After visiting the Salmon River Fish Hatchery, turn left out of the parking lot onto Rte. 22. You will pass the Lower Reservoir about 1.4 miles from the fish hatchery. Access is available for canoes and kayaks from day-use picnic areas across from Bennetts Bridge, and approximately .75 mile up Hogback Road. The Lighthouse Hill hydropower facility, located on the Lower Reservoir, was built in 1930. Look for the large osprey nests on top of the power poles next to the reservoir. Continue on Rte. 22, past the Bennetts Bridge hydropower facility, and turn right onto Falls Road, about 3.5 miles from the hatchery. Travel 1.4 miles to the Salmon River Falls Unique Area. The parking area is on the right. This 110-foot waterfall provides a breathtaking view any time of the year. A footpath to the bottom of the gorge is open through Nov. 15. Areas of the gorge are restricted and visitors should stay on maintained footpaths and use extreme caution.
- After visiting Salmon River Falls, return to the intersection of Falls Road and Rte. 22, and take Rte. 22 south past the fish hatchery to the intersection of State Rte. 13. From the village of Altmar, you may turn right onto Rte. 13 and continue northeast through the village of Pulaski. You may access I-81 in the village of Pulaski or continue down Rte. 13 to Port Ontario. Turn left onto State Rte. 3 and continue to State Rte. 104B to the intersection of State Rte. 104. Continue west on Rte. 104 to Oswego.
- Located in Oswego on Lake St. in the west harbor area.
- The only park in Oswego to overlook Lake Ontario.
- Offers playground, basketball courts, picnic tables and benches overlooking the harbor and lake.
- Kingsford Bell
- The Kingsford Bell stands tall in Oswego’s Breitbeck Park. The bell was taken from the former Oswego Starch Factory. The factory was owned by Thomas Kingsford, the namesake for the bell, who is famous for developing an innovative technique in creating starch through a process using maize, Indian corn. The Kingsford Factory stretched along the west side of the Oswego River and employed thousands of residents.
Deer Creek Marsh
- Located on Rainbow Shores Rd., Pulaski.
- 1,195 acres of wetland and uplands between Lake Ontario and NYS Rte. 3 in town of Richland. Viewing tower, parking area, boat access, handicapped access. Scenic vistas, bird watching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, trapping.
Photos taken by Troy Weldy. For more photos and information on Oswego County Wetlands, click here.
- Located off NYS Rte. 104B on Sage Creek Rd. in Mexico.
- Weather/hawk hotline, early March to late May: 315/963-8291
- Located on the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario, Derby Hill Bird Observatory is internationally known for the spring-hawk migration. More than 40,000 counted annually. Thousands of red-tailed hawks and hundreds of bald eagles fly over the site each spring. The sharp-eyed may even spot a golden eagle or a ruby-throated hummingbird. In the fall, look for many species of geese, ducks, terns and other migrating water birds. Owned by Onondaga Chapter of the NYS Audubon Society.
- Stretching over 150 miles from Schenectady to Port Ontario, the Revolutionary Byway showcases a rich and varied history. It highlights scenic beauty, natural and cultural resources, recreation, and agricultural traditions. The byway, along NYS routes 5, 49, 69 and 13, offers museums, multiple-era historic sites, and recreational activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and boating.
- This 23 mile lake forms the southeastern corner of Oswego County. The north shore borders NYS Rte. 49.
Oneida Lake was part of Lake Iroquois, formed nearly 12,000 years ago when a glacier dammed what is now the St. Lawrence River and flooded much of Central New York. As climate change occurred and the glacial ice mass retreated northward, the St. Lawrence outlet to the Atlantic Ocean opened, draining most of Lake Iroquois. Oneida Lake remains in a slight depression of the former bed of the much larger glacial lake.
- Located in the center of the city of Oswego, on Lake Ontario.
- Oswego Harbor has been the site of commercial activity since before the French and Indian war when it was used by fur traders.
- Significant battles have been fought on both sides of the Oswego River during different periods in our nation’s history.
- Today it serves as a scenic hotspot with unique public access on both sides of the river, called the East and West Linear Parks, with a great view of Fort Ontario and the West Pierhead Lighthouse.
- West Pierhead Lighthouse
- Located on Lake Ontario in the Oswego Harbor.
- It was built in 1934 and automated in 1967. One of the Port City’s most recognizable landmarks. Not open to the public but a great photo opportunity.
Oswego River Canal
- Part of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
- The scenic Oswego River is part of the 363-mile long Erie Canal, the most successful and influential artificial waterway in North America.
- Download Canalling Guide for more information on the Oswego River Canal.
- For more information on the New York State Canal System, visit http://www.canals.state.ny.us or http://www.eriecanalway.org
Salmon River Falls Unique Area
- Located on Falls Rd. in Orwell. 1.4 miles northeast of Co. Rte. 22.
- 110-ft waterfall provides a breathtaking view any time of the year. Footpath to the bottom of the gorge is open May 1- Nov. 15. Areas of the gorge are restricted and visitors should use extreme caution. Footpath is closed in winter except to ice climbers, who must register at sign-in area. Owned by NYS DEC.
Salmon River Upper & Lower Reservoirs:
- Located in northern Oswego County in Redfield and Orwell.
- For a list of access points, click here
- Split into two reservoirs, the Upper and Lower reservoirs prove very scenic and offer many recreation opportunities.
- Osprey nests, bald eagles sighted, access points for launching kayaks and canoes, fishing.
- 315/646-1000 or 1-800-SEAWAY-T (732-9298).
- This 454-mile scenic highway-waterway parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River, and Lake Erie.
- America’s longest National Recreation Trail, the Seaway Trail is recognized for mixed usage by automobile, boat, motorcoach, camper, and bicycle.
- The Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor is open daily from April through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Located on Co. Rte. 5, Lake Rd. Ext., Port Ontario.
- Constructed in 1838, this stone structure has the original lantern. Photo opportunity.
- Located on 7101 NYS Rte. 3 in Pulaski
- The park’s campsites overlook a bluff on Lake Ontario. Along with great year-round recreational opportunity, visitors can lay out on the beach, swim in the lake, or walk along the pier to view the amazing sunsets.
- Selkirk Shores is on the direct migration route for a wide variety of bird species.
- Offers a launch, playground, restrooms, picnic tables and grills, fish cleaning station and partial handicap access.
- Located on Oneida Lake off of NYS Rte. 49 in Bernhards Bay.
- 2 pavilions with electricity that may be reserved by calling the listed phone number. Park offers a bathhouse, beach with lifeguards, picnic tables, barbecue grills, basketball & tennis courts, volleyball net and ball fields.