If the mass tourism of Niagara Falls does not appeal and you still want to see some amazing waterfalls in the Niagara area of Ontario, head for Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls in Dundas just outside Hamilton and down the highway from Niagara. There are hikes you can go on as well (most notably the Bruce Trail – the longest footpath in Canada); and not a souvenir stand in sight! The day I went was wet as it had rained all morning. As a result, we did not attempt to walk on the hiking paths as they would have been very slippery and muddy.
The falls are around 10,000 years old although the rock that forms the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve is 450 million years old. Spencer Gorge, where the falls are located, was created by glacial meltwater. Webster’s Falls is 22 meters high and 30 meters wide and is referred to as a Classical Plunge. Tews Falls is 41 meters high and 9 meters wide so fits the definition of a Ribbon Overhang. I find Tews Falls the more dramatic of the two. In comparison, Niagara Falls is 50 meters high. There are storyboards by the falls explaining the geology of the area.
Water power from the creek and falls were important during the industrial revolution and Webster’s Falls is named after the owners of one of the mills utilizing the creek – Ashbourne Mills. The former mill’s damn site is still evident in the cobblestone bridge adjacent to the brink of Webster’s Falls. If you visit the falls during the week, you can take a picnic and enjoy the park beyond the bridge.
Upon seeing them, it is certainly understandable why these falls have become so popular.
Note: the road to Webster’s Falls is only accessible during the week, not on the weekend, as it is a residential road and has become too congested on the weekends for safety of the residents and visitors. Parking during the week is $10 plus $5 per person entrance fee. I went with a member of the Hamilton Conservation Area so our fees were covered with membership. During the weekend and on holiday Mondays there is a shuttle bus for Webster’s Falls at Mizener’s Antiques and Fleamarket, located at 367 Highway 5 West in Dundas. The parking lot for Tews Falls is located at 607 Harvest Rd, Dundas, ON L9H 5K7.
Webster Falls has a wheelchair accessible lookout but Tews Falls does not.