From large to small, Hamilton Ontario has over 100 waterfalls to visit.
Only an hour from Toronto or an hour from Niagara Falls, this small city of hidden waterfalls shows there is more to Ontario than the traditional tourist sites.
By visiting waterfalls.hamilton.ca, you can find a directory of all the falls, photographs and maps to help guide you, with ease, to the ones you would like to see. This was my guide when i went to check out a few of the falls this past August. I printed out the maps they provided, and planned a route that would allow me to see as many falls as I could with the most direct way to do so. I also did a little searching and blog hunting to see what people were saying about the area falls’, like, which ones I shouldn’t miss and which ones I could avoid. I chose three that I considered to be “must see” and figured I would check out more if had time. To get to all the falls I visited, I relied on waterfalls.hamilton.ca , my Bruce Trail Reference Guide that I picked up at Sojourn, my favourite outdoor adventure store here in Barrie ON, and the GPS on my phone.
Chedoke Falls are beautiful, but I found the best part about visiting these falls was the river hike to get to them. I can see that it may be quite dangerous if the river is full and the water is moving quickly, but at the time I was there, it was a very nice and sometimes challenging hike. Be prepared to get your feet wet and be sure to take your time to check your footing every time you step. To get to the falls from the parking lot took me about 60 minutes.
Another beautiful falls, but a little less dramatic. The water flow was not as heavy as it can be, based on pictures I had seen online. Something that some would find to be an advantage, was that it was only a short 3-5 minute walk along a path to the falls from the parking lot. To me, this was a disadvantage, as when it is so easily accessible it then becomes a busy tourist attraction, and quiet privacy is not possible. I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon, and the place was packed. I’m not a big fan of tourists, so I didn’t stay long. I took a few photos, flew my Drone, Jesse, for a few short minutes to get some video footage, and got out of there.
Sherman falls was amazing. I loved these falls. Despite the fact that they were also only a 5 minute walk from the parking lot, I still had the pleasure of having the place to myself, which, according to some guys I passed on my way down the street to the trail head, is extremely rare. I could have stayed there all day. Zoey and I climbed up to the platform of the second tier of the falls, against the recommendation of the information sign, and were able to get some great shots with the drone. I was also able to climb under the falls at the bottom to have an extremely cold shower, for about 10 seconds. The falls are part of The Bruce Trail and are actually located on private property, so please respect the area when visiting.
Sherman falls was so easy to get to but felt like something you didn’t deserve without having to endure an extensive hike. It was a great way to finish day one of my waterfall adventures.
Tews Falls; Websters Falls
Tews falls started as a beautiful view, then became a huge disappointment, and finally, finished as one of the best waterfalls I’ve ever trekked to see.
Using the instructions from waterfalls.hamiltion.ca and my GPS, I drove to a parking lot and another trail head to a section of the Bruce Trail. The signage for Tews Falls was clear so Zoey and I got out of the car and began what we thought was going to be a decent hike. About 3 minutes from the parking lot, we came around a corner to find a wooden platform that provided a lookout to view Tews Falls from the top. This was a good stop, but I would always prefer to experience a waterfall from the bottom of it. There is no better feeling than the sound of the water rushing down and the feel of the mist coming off the base of the falls. It can feel so powerful. So Zoey and I went to find the trail that took us to the bottom. We followed the signs and took the trail that led us down to not only view Tews Falls but would also take us to Websters Falls!
Until we came to a dead-end.
Sections of the Bruce Trail run through private property. There is no way around it. This guy decided to be the only asshole on the entire Bruce Trail that didn’t want anybody to enjoy it but him. I was gutted. From the pictures I saw online, these two falls were to be the highlight of my trip. I got in my car and started looking for other options. At the time, I found a beautiful blog post from a couple of ladies that explored the same waterfalls and documented a back route to guide you to the base of both Tews and Websters Falls. This route was more time-consuming making it that much more rewarding. I have every intention to credit the Blog and the women that published it, but I can’t seem to find the article again.
I will guide you the way they told me as best I can, but keep following me for updates, as I would love to give the blog post that got me there the credit it truly deserves.
Tews Falls came first. Then Websters Falls. It must be known that reaching the falls was 100% worth the effort.
To find the hidden trail that this anonymous blog led me to you need to drive to King St. W in Hamilton, where it meets Hwy 8. There is an overpass just before this intersection that carries train tracks. The trail head is just before this overpass. I parked on King St. and walked towards the overpass until I saw the trail head. This may sound sketchy, but I assure you there is signage, even if the signs are to discourage you from following the trail. Up the small hill on the trail you will meet railway tracks. Follow them to the right walking on the left side of the tracks until you see a trail that heads left into the forest.
You are on your way. This trail will then take you for approx 15-20 min until you see a fork in the road. This is your choice between Tews and Websters Falls, although there is no signage indicating this. I went right, to see Tews Falls first. Follow right until you get to the river’s edge. Cross it. From this point you simply need to follow the right bank of the river. You will find trails that carry high on the slope of the river bank and ones that take on the river bank directly. One gets your feet wetter than the other, but both take you to the same place. About 30 minutes along you will find a fork in the river. This is where the river breaks between the flow from Tews Falls and Websters Falls. Tews to the right and Websters to the left. You are on the right bank, so it makes sense to continue to Tews Falls first. If you have missed this break, it simply means you followed the high road and you will reach Lower Tews Falls.
Taking the high trail or river bank, you will reach Lower Tews Falls. Follow the trails you see up and around lower Tews Falls and simply follow the river bed until you reach Tews Falls. It is unmistakable.
The water flow at Tews Falls was minimal, but once Zoey and I got in there, it didn’t matter how much water was falling. The absolute beauty we felt from the visual but also from the physical aspect of being in that space all on our own, was worth 10 hours of hiking. And it only took us and hour and a bit to get there.
We didn’t just hike there for the waterfall. We hiked there for the surreal feeling we got from having such a beautiful place all to ourselves even if just for a moment.
Zoey and I spent time enjoying the view. I took some pictures and flew the drone for a few minutes, but we knew that we couldn’t stay long if we wanted to see Websters Falls today as well. We had no idea how much more beautiful it could be after spending time at Tews Falls.
Websters Falls blew my mind.
At this point, we knew that the two falls fed streams that led to the fork in the river that I came to just before Little Tews Falls. So I simply backtracked to the fork and crossed to the other side. There were a few trail options that led you up-stream to the falls, some more difficult than the others. Follow the trail of least resistance and you will do fine. Just stay with the river bed. I would estimate that it was about 20-30 minutes from the fork in the river to Websters Falls.
You will know when you reach the falls, because it is spectacular!
The walk back was very straight forward. If you follow the river back the way you came to Websters Falls, on the same side, you will meet a trail that becomes wide and very easy to follow. This will take you back to the fork you went right at, when first heading to Tews Falls. Stay straight ahead and you will walk right back out to the train tracks.
I hope this guides you to the wonderful day that I was able to have. Enjoy the falls and please leave no trace behind so they can remain beautiful for years to come.