Five picturesque waterfalls in Niagara that aren’t Niagara Falls


Published July 7, 2023 at 2:07 pm

There are two Rockway Falls in Lincoln's Rockway Conservation Area but this is the larger of the pair at 19 metres high.

Okay, sure, Niagara Falls is – and always will be – the big gun when it comes to waterfalls. Even though it’s not listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was majestic and awe-inspiring enough that most in the region dubbed it as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

After all, it’s not like the Great Wall of China is going to sue for muscling in on its Seven Wonder turf.

However, while everyone should view it up-close-and-personal at least once – if not, multiple times – you can always anticipate a crowd there, regardless of the time of year. It seems popular landmark attract crowds, hence the “popular” part.

Still, there are smaller waterfalls in Niagara Region, some a little off the trail well-traveled. Here’s five that you may want to take the time to visit. If nothing else, what they lack in touristy appeal, they make up for in lack of crowd. So that no one is accused of playing favourites (*cough* go see Decew Falls), the five will be presented in alphabetical order.

One further note, the best time to see all of these is in the late spring or just after a rainfall. That’s when they’re at the spectacular best.

Ball’s Falls in Lincoln’s Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, 3292 Sixth Ave (Photo: James Head)

Set within the Twenty Valley, Ball’s Falls offers spectacular scenery and natural beauty. You will see the Niagara escarpment and gorge site, two waterfalls, historical buildings, guided tours, Annual Thanksgiving Festival, perfect storybook wedding setting venues. You can view the upper falls from above or hike to the bottom of the falls. The trail is a bit rocky and has a few obstacles along the way but the view from the bottom is worth the trouble. Alongside the main waterfall, tiny trails of water (upper left in photo) flow down from cracks in the escarpment giving a mini waterfall effect.

Beamer Falls in Grimsby’s Beamer Falls Conservation Area, 28 Quarry Rd (Photo by Mark Harris)

There are two waterfalls – Upper Beamer Falls (shown above) and Lower Beamer Falls, as well as a precipitous gorge here to explore in the conservation area. The trail within the conservation area is a 4.2-km loop trail that will take you past both falls. You can see Upper Beamer Falls by the side of the road and Lower Beamer Falls while hiking below the escarpment. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and snowshoeing, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

Decew Falls in St. Catharines, 2710 Decew Road 

As well as the falls adjacent to it, the Morningstar Mill, shown in the picture, is a pretty interesting exhibit in and of itself. Decew Falls cascades 22 metres (72 feet) into a bowl-shaped amphitheatre just behind the mill. Proceed a few hundred metres along the Bruce Trail toward the east and look for a place to scramble down into the gorge. Although steep, you will be rewarded by a wonderful view of the falls. Bring your best Mountain Goat footware.

Rockway Falls, Rockway Conservation Area, 2021 Pelham Rd, Lincoln.

Part of the Niagara Escarpment, the conservation area also offers two spectacular waterfalls (above photo, top photo) that plunge from heights of 19.5 meters and 12.2 meters. The watercourse continues downriver, surging over a series of rapids. The conservation area itself is 312 acres and boasts some of the best quality and quantity of salt in Ontario with the salt spring dating as far back as 1792. The area also contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna of the Carolinian Forest.

Swayze Falls, Short Hills Provincial Park, 1208 Pelham Rd, St. Catharines (Photo: Mark Harris)

There are several waterfalls in Short Hills Provincial Park as it’s 1,631 acres in size but maps will show you the location of Swayze Falls. A definite see-it-in-spring attraction as it can be dry during the hotter months. That said, it’s the best waterfall the provincial park has to offer. The park is a mix of dense forests, open meadows, creeks and gentle hills that creates a good hiking environment and is the largest provincial park in Niagara Region.

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