Webster’s Falls is one of those places that makes me proud to be from Dundas (Ontario, Canada). Though I don’t live there anymore, I’m always back for regular visits as many of my friends still live in the area. Webster’s Falls is one stop along a hiking trail that winds around the top of the escarpment, allowing for breathtaking views of gorges, other waterfalls, and the entire town. However, this particular waterfall is easily accessible from the main parking lot without barely having to hike at all. The waterfall is one aspect of a large park where there are picnic areas along the river, whether you sit beneath a tree or a shaded pavilion.
I have many memories of visiting Webster’s Falls. In high school once I got my driver’s license, I used to drive a carload of friends up to the falls during our lunch hour. One time, a friend of mine called me over to the river and said there was something that I had to see. He pointed down by the side of the river. I bent over to look and saw a HUGE dock spider right close to my face! Of course, he knew that I was afraid of spiders, and I took off running across the grass.
I’ve spent many afternoons hiking around the area with friends, chatting the day away while enjoying the views and the sounds of the rushing water. When Justin and I first started dating, I remember telling him, “I have to take you to Dundas and bring you to Webster’s!” Sure enough, we spent a day exploring the Spencer Gorge area to see Webster’s Falls, Tew’s Falls, and the Peak. Many of these places are featured in a video that we recently produced about Dundas.
A few facts about the waterfall:
- It is a 72 foot high classic curtain/plunge waterfall
- The stone footbridge crosses over Spencer Creek, which plunges over the edge down below
- The Bruce Trail runs through this area
- During the summer months, you can venture behind the waterfall! Though I’ve never gone swimming here, I’ve seen many people swim around the rocks at the base of the waterfall.
- Webster’s Falls is featured in the 2005 Sci-Fi movie “Descent” where a river of lava pours over the falls, nearly killing the star, Luke Perry. (I didn’t know this until I researched Webster’s Falls online, and that sentence is a bit hilarious to me.)
- The waterfall is named after Joseph Webster who used to own the property around Webster’s Falls in the 1800s. In 1856, his son built a stone flour mill just above the waterfall, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1898. After the fire, one of the first hydro-electric generators in Ontario was built at the base of the waterfall. In 1931, a former Dundas mayor, Colonel W.E.S. Knowles, generously bequeathed monies so that the area could be made into a public park.
- The Webster family manor still stands on Webster’s Falls Road, and their gravestones have been preserved along a section of the Bruce Trail, just beyond Webster’s Falls and on the way to Tew’s Falls.
One of my best friends and I decided to take a trip to see Webster’s Falls in the winter. Here is what we ended up witnessing:
The waterfall was nearly completely frozen, with huge boulders of ice stood where water once gently flowed. We could still hear the slight sounds of water rushing, demonstrating that the creek was not totally frozen. Giant icicles lined the gorge and snow covered the entire landscape. It was an icy winter wonderland on display for anyone who chose to brave the chilly weather. Fortunately for us, it was a sunny day and not as cold as it had been over the past couple of weeks.
It was a treat to see this wintery paradise! Though it is more accessible during the summer months, I’d recommend checking it out in the winter if you get the chance. The contrasting scenes between summer and winter is quite astounding.
Directions to Webster’s Falls:
If you’re in Dundas or Hamilton, take King Street going westbound, and keep driving up the hill towards Greensville. There are signs that point in the direction of Webster’s Falls. You’ll turn right on Harvest Road, and take another right hand turn towards the parking lot. Alternatively, there is a parking lot on King Street itself once you’re up the hill, though it is about a 10 minute hike to get to the falls. If you’re hiking along the Bruce Trail, you can reach Webster’s Falls by hiking about thirty minutes from Tew’s Falls. From Toronto, you can go west on Dundas Street (Highway 5) until you turn south on Brock St, and then turn left on Harvest Rd.