When the glaciers melted after the last Ice Age in the UK (about 10,000 years ago) the Highland landscape was formed, creating valleys and lochs. Erosion by debris, boulders and gravel led to the formation of the River Shin and the spectacular waterfalls.

The River Shin is one of the great salmon rivers in Scotland and is one of the rivers, including that of the Cassley and Carron that run into the River Oykel. The surrounding area consists of many hills and a large number of streams and burns bring water down to form the river. The water appears slightly brown due to the peaty soil. The water in the River Shin is fresh water and is superbly clean, the perfect conditions for the Atlantic salmon and other fish such as trout that require a constant flow of fresh water.
The Falls of Shin are a natural feature of the River Shin, next to the visitor centre. Visitors each year can watch Atlantic Salmon battle to return to their place of birth to spawn the next salmon generation.