I have been meaning to make my way out to Hamilton, ON to do some waterfall chasing for years. For those of you who don’t know, the City of Hamilton boasts itself for being the waterfall capital of Canada. This is because it is home to over 100 waterfalls and cascades. That was brand new information to me and I just thought: ” I must see them all”. This is the first of many waterfall adventures and lucky for me I am about a twenty minute drive from most of these cascading beauties. I would recommend doing some research before hitting the trails because you could end up like me and go searching for one waterfall, happen on another, have no idea where you are and where the waterfall you were originally searching for is actually located. Yes, over 100 waterfalls is a lot and planning before setting out is a good idea.
Most of the falls are located on the Bruce Trail so be prepared for a hike. I started my waterfall journey with The Upper and Lower Chedoke falls; spoiler alert I don’t think I found either one of these. I chose these falls because they were located off of the Chedoke Golf Course, which is a huge landmark and therefore easy to find and use as home base for my hike. Also, free parking which isn’t the case for all of the Hamilton waterfalls. When you leave your car there are multiple trails to explore, I decided to go left (if you are facing the mountain) and started on the Chedoke Rail Trial (this trail is split up by the parking lot so there are two access points).
The weather lately has been perfect for hiking and there were many people on the trails taking advantage of the sunshine. The start of the trail is very easy terrain, you can bring your bike and ride around the area with ease. When you reach some natural looking stairs (made out of wood and rock) take these and follow the sound of rushing water; which happens to be from a dam and not the actual waterfall.
The terrain will become rougher and rockier, please take the necessary safety precautions when it comes to your footwear because once you start getting closer to the waterfall, everything is very wet and slippery. Also, I took a scenic but unmarked trail to reach the top of the falls. Once arriving at the waterfall, you will want to take advantage of the rocky terrain and get as close as you can. I did too but I did so in my non-slip hiking boots and still had some trouble. Safety should always be first and if reaching the top of the falls doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can access the lower part by climbing through a hole in the fence by the dam. I am definitely promoting some questionable activity here but I do have to say that the experience was well worth it.
After leaving the waterfall area I decided to continue on the Chedoke Radial Trail, ending at the Dundurn Stairs. Staircases such as this one are located all along the mountain in Hamilton as a travel point for commuters or apparently a good cardio workout for those who would like to run up. I did climb the 329 stairs and felt like the wind was knocked out of me upon completion. If you climb these stairs regularly, you are both bad ass and insane. When you reach the top there is a view of the City that you will be able to appreciate through your gasps for air. In all seriousness bring some water, take rests while climbing and you will be fine.
When I reached the parking lot again I decided to travel in the opposite direction along the same trail in search of the real Chedoke Falls but no such luck. This is a beautiful area with some amazing views and picture opportunities. I spent about two hours here and that was not enough to see everything, so I will be back. This was an amazing hike and whatever waterfall I did end up climbing was beautiful and well worth the effort. Any day setting out to chase about rushing water is probably going to be a good one.