Here’s Where to See Waterfalls Up Close in the GTA
You may be surprised to find out that the waterfall capital of the world—with over 100 waterfalls in the area—is none other than Hamilton, Ontario.
If you’re looking for a short road trip in the GTA that will take you on an outdoor adventure and award you with beautiful waterfalls, Hamilton needs to be on top of your list this spring. Though it can be a perfect outing anytime of the year, I especially like it during the spring when the water levels in the falls are the highest.
Over the years, I’ve explored many waterfalls in the Hamilton area with my family. Sometimes we combine looking at falls with a hike or a bike trip in the area. You could also do this as a mini road trip and just park your car by each waterfall. Some are very accessible from where you park and don’t even require much walking (which is great if you have really little ones.)
Before you head out chasing waterfalls, make sure you’re wearing clothing and footwear for the weather conditions. The trails can be very muddy during the springtime so wearing rubber boots or hiking boots is advisable. If you are going for a longer hiking/biking adventure print out the trail map so you are not dependant on your phone. Here are a few places to explore.
Spencer Gorge Conservation Area
Spencer Gorge and Webster’s Falls Conservation Area is maybe one of the most visited waterfalls in Hamilton. You’ll find Webster’s Falls, Dundas Peak and Tew Falls all here. And without having to walk very far, you can reach two scenic waterfalls and a summit (well… a nice high lookout). Onsite parking areas are available only during off-season and on weekdays. All parking on site will be closed during weekends and holidays from Saturday, May 12 to Sunday, October 28, 2018 (weather permitting). A shuttle will take you from Christie Lake Conservation Area. Check their website for updates if you’re planning a visit to the park.
We visited Albion Falls after exploring Chedoke Radial Trail by bike. We enjoyed the view from the top of the waterfalls and walked down to the bottom of the waterfall. Please note that you are no longer able to walk down the dirt trail to the waterfall as it is fenced off. Despite not being able to walk down it is still worth a visit with some great viewing spots.
Tip: This is a great visit to do as part of a waterfall road trip or add after a bike trip/hike in the area.
Tiffany Falls & Sherman Falls
These two waterfalls are easy accessible for families, as you don’t have to walk far to get to the waterfall and you’re able to see them up close. Sherman Falls and Tiffany Falls are close to each other and you can either access them by driving or you can do what we did and park the car at Tiffany Falls and hike part of the Bruce trail to Sherman Falls. It’s a scenic little hike through the woods. From Sherman Falls, look for the sign marking the Bruce Trail on the other side of the road.
Tip: Be aware and use caution when you cross the highway, as it can be really busy. This is great to do as part of waterfall road trip or as hike between the waterfalls.
Devil’s Punchbowl Falls
This waterfall is easily accessible by car, making it easy to navigate for all users, including anyone with strollers and wheelchairs. We visited this waterfall after exploring caves in Eramosa Karst. If you feel up to it you can make this more of an outdoor adventure and hike the Dofasco Trail.
Tip : Great to do as part of waterfall road trip or make a longer adventure and add a hike to the outing.
Chedoke Radial Trail
Another option is to bike the Chedoke Radial Trail to try and find Lower Chedoke Falls, Chedoke Falls & Denlow Falls. We started our bike ride by Dundurn Street, and the trail gradually climbs and offers great views of the escarpment. We headed back on the scenic drive side and took the metal stairs (near Upper Paradise Rail) down to the Chedoke Radial Trail. Despite only seeing one waterfall and not reaching the big one, we still enjoyed the bike ride and views over the Niagara escarpment.
Tip: This is a great bike ride with wonderful views. However if your goal is to find the waterfalls, make sure you follow the directions here. (Perhaps you will be better first time explorers then us!)
Dundas Valley Conservation Area
Another option is to bike through the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. In the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, in addition to waterfalls you will find a replica of a Victorian Railway Station that serves as a visitor centre as well as a café. Added bonus: You can check out the Hermitage Ruins and Gatehouse Museum as a stop along the way.
Tip: Perfect family friendly bike ride with many interesting stops. Just make sure you follow the directions here if you want to follow the Hamiton to Brantford Rail Trail, like we did.