Burt Dam and Fishermen's Park on Eighteenmile Creek
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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Just south of Olcott; in the hamlet of Burt; town of Newfane; Niagara County; New York.

Maps: Google MapTopographic; Interactive.

GPS Coordinates:

  • Fishermen’s Park Entrance: (N 43.31718 / W 78.71366)
  • Burt Dam: (N 43.31375 / W 78.71582)

Directions: From NY-104 in Wrights Corners, head north on NY-78 through the village of Newfane. Look for the Fishermen’s Park entrance on your left just past the Burt Hotel.

Alternately, take NY-18 into Olcott and then head south on NY-78 for 1.5 miles. Turn right into the Fishermen’s Park entrance.

Use Google Maps.

Parking: There’s plenty of parking here, but it does tend to get busy in fishing season.

YouTube video



fishermen fishing for salmon below Burt Dam in Newfane.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Number of falls: 1

Size/Types: A 49-ft tall manmade hydroelectric dam, with a sloping spillway creating milky whitewater when it’s flowing.

Best time to visit: Spring or fall, ideally when water flow in the region is good (there has been lots of rain recently). In late September, early October the place will be packed with fishermen.

Flow: Moderate; though it does tend to dry in summer. If going in fall, make sure to go following a bout or two of rain.

Waterway: Eighteenmile Creek. 9.5 miles south of the dam it’s formed by the east and west branches. The east branch starts several miles east of Lockport. The west branch starts just west of Lockport. Burt dam creates a 95-acre reservoir behind it.  Once over the dam, the water meanders north through the village of Olcott and empties into Lake Ontario.

Time: 30 minutes to an hour. More time if you plan on fishing.

Seasons/Hours: Open daylight hours daily. The entrance will be manned during fishing season, often unmanned in the off-season.

Admission: Free to just visit. $3 per person to fish all day. Free for children under 16.

Handicap accessibility: The trail to the dam is not very accessible. It is a dirt and gravel trail with several moderate inclines. Definitely not wheelchair friendly. Those with mobility limitations will have difficulty.

Pets: Not allowed. You should not bring your dog to this park.

Swimming: Not allowed. If fishing, you can wade in the creek below the falls.

Accommodations: Trail; fishing; park staff; picnic tables, patrolling staff in the fishing seasons. Port-a-potties will be in the parking area during spring and fall fishing seasons.

Fishermen below the hydroelectric plant at Burt Dam in Newfane

Fishermen along Eighteenmile Creek in Burt, NY


Nestled in the picturesque town of Newfane, New York, Burt Dam and the adjacent Burt Fishermen’s Park offer outdoor enthusiasts, especially anglers, a serene and bountiful retreat. This region, with its lush landscapes and flowing waters, is not just a testament to natural beauty but also a hub for some of the best freshwater fishing in the state. At the heart of this angler’s paradise is Eighteenmile Creek, providing a vital ecosystem for a variety of fish species.

Built in 1924 as part of a hydroelectric facility, Burt Dam now plays an important role in the character of Eighteenmile Creek, acting as a significant barrier that creates a large reservoir, which aids in managing water flow and supporting local wildlife. The dam’s significant height and sloping face create a pleasing man-made waterfall that fills the surrounding ravine with the sounds of tumbling waters and serves as an alluring backdrop for fishing. 

The dam’s presence has created an ideal habitat for fish, making it a prime location for angling. The waters here are teeming with salmon, steelhead, and trout, especially during their spawning seasons in the spring and fall. These periods see an influx of anglers from across the region, all eager to cast their lines in the hope of a rewarding catch. Burt Fishermen’s Park grants public access to the base of the dam and a beautiful stretch of Eighteenmile Creek. The park provides easy access to the creek’s shores, making it a convenient spot for fishing, picnicking, and simply soaking in the natural surroundings. With well-maintained facilities and clear pathways, it caters to both seasoned fishermen and families looking for a peaceful day out. 

The creek’s diverse habitats, from swift, shallow runs to deep pools, offer ideal conditions for various fishing techniques, whether it’s fly fishing, spinning, or baitcasting. The predominant fish species, salmon and steelhead, are known for their size and fighting spirit, providing a thrilling challenge for anglers. Trout, too, are a common catch, with the creek’s cold, oxygen-rich waters providing an ideal environment for these fish.

Burt Dam and Burt Fishermen’s Park are not just recreational spots but also important ecological zones. Efforts by local authorities and community groups focus on preserving the natural habitat, ensuring that the creek and its surroundings remain a vibrant ecosystem for future generations to enjoy. Visitors are encouraged to practice catch and release, especially for native species, and to keep the area clean and undisturbed.

Burt Dam Fishermen's Park
Fishermen posing for a photo with his catch at Burt Dam in Newfane.


Originally named Newfane Station, the hamlet was renamed Burt in honor of Burt Van Horn (October 28, 1823 – April 1, 1896), a U.S. Congressman, New York Assemblyman, and Newfane native. His father, James Van Horn, moved to Newfane Station and built the first gristmill along the creek here in 1817. The mill was destroyed by fire in the 1830s, but he rebuilt it. The new mill complex became known as the “Lake Shore Mills.”

The Van Horn family owned the land east of the creek, stretching from NY-78 on the east to Van Horn Street to the north, and extending south to Drake Settlement Road. The Van Horn Mansion on NY-78, adjacent to the chemical plant, now serves as a museum. Before embarking on his political career, Burt was a farmer who ran a textile mill (constructed in 1863) in Newfane Station after leaving Congress. The mills, foundational to the hamlet’s industry, became known as the Van Horn Mills, utilizing the creek’s power for manufacturing.

The remains of an old power station sit below the dam on the east side of the creek. Interestingly, the first facility on this site was not a traditional hydroelectric dam but a coal-powered plant that generated electricity from steam. The dam’s construction began in 1924, when the Lockport and Newfane Power and Water Supply Company contracted the McCarthy Brothers and Ford of Buffalo for the construction. Completed in 1925, it featured a modern powerhouse on the east flank, the same one visible next to the dam today. In the 1970s, the powerhouse was abandoned as the town began purchasing power from Niagara hydro sources. It was refurbished in 1986 and returned to operation for private, non-utility power generation in 1987, with a total output of 0.6 MW.

The old railroad bridge spanning Eighteenmile Creek here is an orphaned bridge (it’s no longer connected to a line). It was a part of the Lake Ontario Shore Raiload (LOSRR), for which the records aren’t detailed enough to pinpoint a date of construction. it was likely built after 1974. Financial difficulty forced the line to combine with the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad in February of 1875. It was eventually merged into the New York Central Rail Road in 1891. Often known as the Hojack line, it continued to operate in sections from Niagara County to Oswego County, with it being completely abandoned and mostly disassembled by the 1990s.

Burt Dam (Newfane, NY) construction in 1924
Burt Dam (Newfane, NY) construction in 1924

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy, but some gradients and some potential for mud and debris on the trail. Overall the place is very well maintained, but one does have to make descent into the 70ft gorge.

Markings: The dirt and gravel trail is very well-defined and has signs along the way.

Distance: 1/3 of a mile, one-way.

Trail Guide:

  1. From the parking area head to the back of the lot, opposite the entrance, to find the wide sloping path that leads down to the creek.
  2. Once at the creek, head left (south) and follow the path along the creek. Pass under the railroad bridge.
  3. Pass under the old railroad bridge.
  4. At about 1,200 ft down this path, you’ll be at the dam and old powerhouse ruins. Stay on this side of the creek.

Map: Interactive.

Trail leading down to Eighteenmile Creek at Burt Dam Fishermen's Park

Burt Dam & Fishermen’s Park Interactive Map

New York Central Rail Road bridge

Burt Dam Media

Burt Dam Videos

YouTube video

Burt Dam Photo Gallery

Interesting Stuff

Van Horn Mansion

The Van Horn Mansion, located in Burt, New York, is a historic landmark and a testament to the area’s rich history. Built in 1823 by Judge James Van Horn, one of the early settlers of Niagara County, the mansion has played a significant role in the local community’s development and heritage. It is named after the Van Horn family, who were prominent figures in the region, with Burt Van Horn, a U.S. Congressman, being one of the most notable members.

The mansion itself is a beautifully preserved example of early 19th-century architecture, showcasing the style and craftsmanship of the period. It has been meticulously maintained and restored to reflect its original condition, providing visitors with a glimpse into the life and times of the Van Horn family and the early settlers of New York.

Over the years, the Van Horn Mansion has served various roles, from a private residence to a meeting place for the community. Today, it operates as a museum, managed by the Newfane Historical Society. The mansion offers guided tours that explore its rich history, architecture, and the many stories of the people who lived there. The tours provide insight into the daily lives of the Van Horn family, their contributions to the community, and the historical events that shaped the region.

In addition to its historical significance, the mansion is rumored to have a haunted past, with several ghost stories and paranormal activities reported by visitors and locals alike. These tales add an intriguing layer to the mansion’s allure, making it a popular destination for both history enthusiasts and those interested in the supernatural.

The Van Horn Mansion also hosts various events throughout the year, including historical reenactments, seasonal celebrations, and educational programs, further contributing to its role as a cultural and historical center in Burt, NY.

For anyone interested in American history, architecture, or ghost stories, the Van Horn Mansion offers a fascinating and engaging experience, providing a unique window into the past of Burt, New York, and the legacy of one of its founding families.

Olcott Beach

Olcott Beach, located just to the north on the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, is a charming and serene destination that captures the essence of a quintessential lakeside retreat. This hidden gem is renowned for its beautiful sandy beach, which offers a peaceful setting for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying stunning sunsets over the lake. Olcott Beach is also home to a vintage-style amusement park, providing family-friendly fun with a carousel, games, and other attractions. The nearby Olcott Beach Carousel Park and the quaint shops and eateries in the area add to the beach’s nostalgic charm. Visitors can also explore the Olcott Lighthouse, engage in water sports, or participate in the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year, making Olcott Beach not just a place to relax but also a vibrant community hub. With its scenic beauty and array of activities, Olcott Beach remains a beloved destination for both locals and tourists seeking a tranquil escape by the water.

Chateau Niagara Winery

Located just to the south on the other side of the creek, this winery, established in 2006, was one of the first in New York State to be certified as sustainable.

Fishermen below the power plant at Burt Dam

Photography Tips


  • If you come during the spring or fall runs, there will be fishermen, lots of them. Including them in your shots make for great photographs that communicate scale, sportsmanship, and community.
  • That being said, try not to get in the way.
  • It’s always a good idea to ask permission before you take someone’s photograph.

The railway bridge

  • The railway bridge area makes for great photos, especially when contrasted against fall color.

Eighteenmile Creek

  • Don’t just photograph the falls. The creek has several interesting riffles, protruding rocks, and visiting waterfowl throughout the year.

Silky Water Effect

  • To get that smooth cotton-candy look to the falls, you need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter on your lens. The ND filter will block some of the light from entering the lens without altering the color, and thus allow your shutter to stay open longer. This blurs the water and creates a soft white gloss to the foamy areas of the falls.  Check out this article for the all the details.

More tips

  • See the Articles for more photography tips.
Fisherman under the train viaduct at Eighteenmile Creek in Burt Dam Fishermen's Park

Who to Contact

DFW, Bureau of Fisheries, Region 9
700 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14209
Phone: 716-372-0645
[email protected]

Newfane Town Hall
2737 Main Street
Newfane, NY
[email protected]