6 Hamilton-Area Waterfall Hikes To Do With Your Family

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Smokey Hollow Falls (Joe deSousa/FlickrCC)

What’s even better than a family hike? Why, a family hike to see a waterfall, of course! And the neat thing about waterfalls is that they come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own hint of wonder.

The Hamilton area has more than its fair share of cascading water, and that’s where these hikes are located. So pack the camera, lots of snacks and some good footwear and hit the trail for a hearty dose of fresh air and… you know… go chasing waterfalls.

A Word of Caution

There is some risk involved in hiking around waterfalls and in escarpment areas. Be sure you discuss safety rules with kids before you go. Always stay on the trails and within fenced areas, and heed all posted signs. Keep children and pets away from the edges of gorges and escarpments; even adults should stay at least a body length away.

Beware of slippery rocks around near the bottom of waterfalls. Grippy shoes like hiking boots or water shoes are recommended. Finally, be sure to check current conditions on the trails before you go. The information here is accurate as of this writing but may change due to season or weather.

 

Smokey Hollow Falls (Sandy Bell/Hamilton Conservation Authority)

Smokey Hollow Falls

We love the fast-moving waterfall at Smokey Hollow for lots of reasons. It makes for great photos, has a convenient viewing platform, and is surrounded by the Bruce Trail. Parking is on Mill Street, not far from Highway 5 in Waterdown.

The nearby Great Falls loop is 3.5 km, but is quite steep, so best suited for slightly older kids who won’t ask to be carried.

Tiffany Falls (Hamilton Conservation Authority)

Tiffany, Sherman, and Canterbury Falls

Tiffany Falls is a lovely 21-metre-high waterfall that tumbles into interesting rock formations. For younger kids, it works to park on Wilson Street East and then walk the 10 to 15 minutes to the falls. If you’re after a longer hike (about 30 minutes one way), make your way across Wilson Street to pick up the Bruce Trail and head over to Sherman Falls and Canterbury Falls. Or, you can park on Artaban Road ($10) for a short and easy trail walk to Sherman Falls.

 

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Felker’s Falls

Felker’s Falls Conservation Area is easily accessible by wheelchairs and strollers on the Peter Street trail. There’s a viewing platform to take in the sight of the 22-metre-tall waterfall. Free parking.

Close by is Eramosa Karst Conservation Area with mini underground caves. Make it a whole day of wonder!

Albion Falls (Jason Miles/FlickrCC)

Albion Falls

Super pretty waterfall here, as the Red Hill Creek tumbles over steps and shelves carved out of the rock over time. There are lots of ways to see Albion Falls and get in a short or long hike, and two different viewing platforms. There is no below-falls access. Free parking.

Tew Falls - Hamilton, Ontario
Tew Falls (Joe de Sousa/Flickr CC)

Webster’s Falls and Tew Falls

Webster’s Falls is not the tallest, but is the largest falls around, and is super, super pretty! The scenery is enhanced by the bridge over Spencer’s Creek right before the cascade of water. The 41-metre-tall Tew Falls is just a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls. You can find this spot—perfect for picnics—at Dundas’s Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. Parking is $10 per vehicle and admission to the conservation area is $5 per person.

Devil's Punchbowl waterfall in Hamilton, Ontario
Devil’s Punchbowl (Hamilton Conservation Authority)

Devil’s Punchbowl

If not one but two waterfalls weren’t enough, the multi-coloured rock layers at Devil’s Punchbowl provide great examples of cool geological formations. Great views for miles around from the lookout! Parking is $5 per vehicle.

Remember to follow safety precautions and stay on the trail. And, enjoy!

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  • Laurie MacLeod

    It is somewhat irresonsible for somany travelblogs to keeppromoting these waterfalls. The end result of this overuse id]s that these will eventually become very restricted. There is insufficient parking, this means a $250 ticket people! Traffic jams and the almost predictable rope rescue of some poor fool who thought it was cute or funny to try to clammer up the side of a rock wall. NOT cute, NOT funny. THese places are no longer the pleasant stroll that they once were, people picknicking on privante lawns, leaving dirty diapers and litter along trails and the side of the road. There is just no way these rural streets can handle the chaos. Please don’t go to the waterfalls, you can enjoy traffic and crowds just as easily in the city.

  • Mélissa

    Albion is closed! Huge fences, it’s policed by the actual “Water police.” You get fined. Maybe research first?

    1. Shannon Kelly Listing Owner

      Thanks for your comment. I’m the managing editor at Help! We’ve Got Kids. I’ve confirmed with the Hamilton Conservation Authority that Albion Falls is, in fact, open and is a recommended hike for families, as long as you stick to the clearly marked trails. There are fences in certain areas for safety, and hikers are not permitted to go beyond fenced areas — all trails leading to the bottom of the falls are closed. We have added a cautionary note to the post, as there is always some risk involved in hiking around gorges and waterfalls, especially with young children. From a Hamilton Conservation Authority representative: “Ultimately, you should review each location in advance to make your own determination of expectations and risk when using these areas, supervising young children at all times.”