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Hike to Decew Falls [Closed]

Thorold, Ontario

based on 2 reviews



1.2 miles

Route Type



Added by Maude Colin

The western stretch of DeCew Road in St Catharines is the perfect place for waterfall lovers to go and explore.

NOTE: This waterfall is Closed with fencing surrounding the entrance and fines given to those who try to access the falls. 

This area is home to two main waterfalls - Upper DeCew Falls, a large 22 metre plunge waterfall, and Lower DeCew Falls, a smaller 25 foot steep cascade waterfall. With its picturesque surroundings including Morningstar Mill (a restored water-powered mill) and the Bruce Trail, it is a great place to go and spend an afternoon.

Upper DeCew Falls is a pretty plunge waterfall, with water flowing from the upper reaches of the Twelve Mile Creek. It can be viewed from above, next to the Morningstar Mill, with the area around the falls protected by a chain fence for your safety, making it suitable for children and the elderly to visit.

At the bottom of the gorge it is also possible to see Lower DeCew Falls. This waterfall is in a more remote setting and is 8 metres in height. It is a steep cascade waterfall with its drop being broken into a series of steps causing the water to cascade down. It is also possible to view the Tunnel Falls from here, a manmade waterfall from the DeCew Falls Generating Station where tunnels have been dug through softer layers of the escarpment, creating a flat ceiling and floor made up of harder layers above and below.

WARNING: The gorge is extremely steep and therefore great caution must be taken. The waterfall can be viewed safely from the top. When hiking in the area, travel in pairs rather than alone, and always stick to the trail. An accidental fall may result in serious injury or death. Be wary that the area around the falls may be slippery and wet. Also be aware of falling rocks from above.

From the Mill, the Bruce Trail follows the north side of the rim. (At this point the trail looks like it heads straight into somebody's house.) You can get into the gorge to get really nice views of the falls. Follow the Bruce Trail until the trail forks. The Bruce trail goes to the right, and the "trail" into the gorge continues straight. This is not a maintained trail, and it is a bit steep, but it is not too hard. Unfortunately it is a long hike back up the gorge, and the "trail" is very difficult in places. One advantage is that you will pass the Lower Decew Falls on the way.

The base of the falls is interesting. The man made Tunnel Falls will be to your left. Water drains out of this tunnel that is part of the Decew Hydroelectric Facility. If you head up the hill to the left of Decew Falls, you can walk around behind the falls. Along the way you will pass another tunnel dug into the escarpment. The tunnel was dug through one of the softer layers of the escarpment, and has a flat ceiling and floor made up of the harder layers above and below.

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Swimming Hole

Hike to Decew Falls [Closed] Reviews

Tried this hike a few weeks ago. It was good, but the slope down the gorge is so steep and muddy I twisted my ankle on the way down. Also, the swimming hole no longer exists and the area at the bottom of the slope has been fenced off because it's private property. If you're gonna do this hike then wear proper shoes and don't expect to find a swimming hole on your way to the falls.

A fun little adventure for the summer. When you follow the trail there’s a swimming hole with a rope which is a lot of fun and the falls are pretty hard to get to so be careful but it can be done.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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