Websters Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Hamilton, Ontario. Technically, you’ll find it in the small town of Dundas, which is part of the city of Hamilton. I grew up in Dundas and Webster’s Falls was always one of my favourite places to visit in town. Although the park surrounding the waterfall has changed over the years, I still recommend that both locals and visitors from afar check out this gorgeous waterfall.
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Visiting Spencer Gorge Conservation Area
Webster’s Falls is one stop at the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area that you don’t want to miss. The wonders of Spencer Gorge include Websters Falls, Tews Falls, and the Dundas Peak. Here’s my guide to visiting the Dundas Peak and Tews Falls. You can easily visit all three places in one trip, but there are a few important things to know before you go.
Limitations and Restrictions in Place
It used to be possible to start your trip at Webster’s Falls, viewing the waterfall from above and below. Then, you could hike from Websters Falls to Tews Falls and the Peak. Unfortunately, there are lots of limitations and restrictions at the conservation area.
First, you can only view Websters Falls from the top of the waterfall. There is no longer a staircase that allows access to the base of the falls. Furthermore, there’s also no access to the hiking trail that used to run from the base of the escarpment to the bottom of Webster Falls. While it’s physically possible to hike to the base of Webster’s Falls, it involves trespassing and you could receive a hefty fine. For this reason, I can’t recommend walking to the bottom of the falls.
Next, you can no longer hike between Webster Falls and Tews Falls. The trail that used to link both waterfalls meandered through private property. The landowners allowed hikers to pass through their property as part of a handshake agreement with the Bruce Trail Conservancy. Unfortunately, visitors to the area were misbehaving to the point that the landowners revoked access to their property, so that trail is closed.
It is still possible to visit Webster Falls and Tews Falls in one visit. You’ll need to either move your car to two different lots to check out each area of the conservation area. Otherwise, you can walk between both sections, but you’ll need to walk on the city streets that connect each site.
Seeing Websters Falls From Above
There are a couple of different vantage points to view Webster’s Falls. First, you can see Webster’s Falls from the railing by the main parking lot off Fallsview Road in Greensville. As you can’t hike to the bottom of Webster Falls any longer, this is likely the best view that you’ll see of the waterfall.
Next, there is a viewing platform right next to the waterfall at the top. This is a great way to get up close to Webster’s Falls. We used to be able to walk to a little cliff on the opposite side of the waterfall that’s now closed. As you can see, there are so many restrictions in place that never used to be there, whether it’s for safety concerns, naturalization of the area, or otherwise. However, you’ll still get a couple of great views of this iconic Dundas waterfall.
Hiking at Webster Falls
The majority of the hiking trails at Spencer Gorge Conservation Area are between Tews Falls and the Dundas Peak. There is one short trail that runs around the parking lot at Fallsview Road, down through the park at Webster Falls, and towards Greensville Optimist Park. You can see a small cemetery for the Webster family on this trail.
If you’re looking for a lengthier hike, it’s possible to hike between Christie Lake Conservation Area and Webster’s Falls. You’ll follow the signs for the Spencer Adventure Route. It takes about 40 minutes to walk from the Christie Lake dam to Websters Falls (one way).
And as for the ultimate hiking adventure for the day? Park your car at Christie Lake Conservation Area. You can explore those hiking trails or relax at the small beach during the summer months. Walk from Christie Lake to Webster’s Falls. Then, you can walk from Webster’s Falls to Short Road and Harvest Road, making your way to Tews Falls and the Dundas Peak. Keep in mind that this will be a lot of walking for the entire day. But, it’s totally worth it for all of the exercise and amazing views. It’s possible to drive between all three places, although you will need to pay for parking each time.
Parking for Websters Falls and Tews Falls
The main parking lot for Webster’s Falls is off Fallsview Road in Greensville. Drive on Fallsview Road and you’ll see the signs for the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area and Webster’s Falls. You can’t miss it. You can also park at the Greensville Optimist Park. There is a parking fee at both parking lots for $10 per car, and parking is free for Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) passholders.
The Tews Falls and Dundas Peak parking lot is at 581 Harvest Road, Greensville. The parking fee at Tews Falls is also $10 per car (and $5 per person, when attendants are collecting that fee).
During the summer months, you can only visit Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls by a shuttle from Christie Lake Conservation Area. This service was suspended in 2020, but I’m sure it will resume again in the future.
Webster’s Falls History and Facts
Why is Webster’s Falls so amazing? There are lots of interesting facts and details about this waterfall and the surrounding park. It’s one of the prettiest and largest waterfalls in Hamilton. But, there are lots of things to learn about this fascinating natural and historic place.
First, Websters Falls is a 72 foot (22 metre) high classic curtain / plunge waterfall. The water source for Webster Falls is the Spencer Creek. Over the years, it’s had numerous different names, such as Spencer Falls, Hart Falls, Fisher Falls, Dr. Hamilton’s Falls, and Flamborough Falls. Personally, I’ve never heard it called by any of those other names. I’ve only ever known it as Webster’s Falls or Webster Falls.
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 the waterfall itself by the main parking lot.
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’ve never seen the movie for myself, but it sounds pretty hilarious (although I’m sure that wasn’t the intent!).
Historic Cobblestone Bridge at the Park
I remember when I was in high school, there was a massive fundraising campaign to save the historic cobblestone bridge at the Webster’s Falls park. The Greensville Optimist Club raised $375,000 to rebuild the bridge. The Webster’s Falls Bridge was originally built in 1938 to replace a 1905 dam for the mills in the area. The stone footbridge deteriorated over the years, but was reconstructed and reopened on July 1st, 2000, with a big celebration at the park.
They’ve also raised an additional $125,000 over the years to establish a trail that links Webster’s to Christie Lake, as well as develop Optimist Park. We owe a lot of the restorations and accessibility of the area to the Greensville Optimist Club and their efforts.
Webster’s Falls in the Winter
While the best times of year to visit Webster’s Falls are the spring (for the best flow of the waterfall) and the fall (for the fall colours), it’s equally as beautiful in the winter. The waterfall nearly completely freezes over in the winter.
The water freezes into massive boulders of ice that tower where the water once gently flowed. You can still hear the water of Spencer Creek flowing over the edge of the cliff. Giant icicles line the gorge and snow blankets the entire landscape. It’s an icy winter wonderland for anyone brave enough to face the chilly weather.
It is a treat to view this snowy paradise in the winter, and you might even have the entire place to yourself. If you love seeing frozen waterfalls, you’ll want to check out the best Hamilton waterfalls to see in the winter.
Where to Stay in Hamilton
If you want to visit all of the best waterfalls in Hamilton, I suggest staying the night and making an overnight trip of it. There are many more hiking trails in Hamilton beyond the waterfalls. Plus, you should spend the day in Dundas, Ontario, one of the most charming towns in southern Ontario. Here are my top choices for hotels in Hamilton, from luxury to budget and everything in between.
Best Hotel in Hamilton: The Barracks Inn (Ancaster)
The Barracks Inn is one of the most delightful places to stay in Hamilton, technically in the town of Ancaster. It’s a great location if you’re planning to visit Tiffany Falls, Sherman Falls, and Canterbury Falls. The Barracks Inn is a gorgeous property that will truly make you feel like you’re away on a holiday.
The rooms are bright, spacious, and modern. There’s a beautiful terrace where you can relax, and you can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the accommodation. It’s my top pick if you want a luxury vacation in Hamilton (and it won’t break the bank). Here’s where you can read more reviews by trusted travelers who have stayed the night.
Best Hostel in Hamilton: Guesthouse at the Pring
Hamilton Guesthouse at the Pring is a picturesque and cozy dorm in the historic William Pring home. It’s located in the middle of downtown Hamilton close to all the action, and you’re perfectly in the middle of most Hamilton waterfalls hikes. It’s also very close to the bus and train station.
There are shared and private rooms, as well as a women’s only semi-private room. Also, there are common areas with games and books, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a shared kitchen. You can get a tour of the home upon arrival. This is a really highly rated hostel, and I invite you to read more reviews by travelers who have stayed there.
Hamilton Airbnb Accommodations
There are lots of Hamilton Airbnbs for every budget and taste. You can stay in a shared home, an apartment, have an entire home to yourself or find a unique place to stay.
If you’re looking for a really unique Airbnb, check out this Hamilton Country Caboose farm stay. Yes, you’ll be able to spend the night inside a renovated train caboose! You’ll also enjoy gorgeous views of the 200 year old vineyard and the escarpment, plus you can go for a stroll through the orchards.
Want to do some browsing? Here are all Hamilton Airbnb accommodations that you can book, as viewable on a map.
Websters Falls Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have any additional questions about visiting Webster Falls? I’ll try my best to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Feel free to ask more in the comments section below and I might add them to this blog post.
There isn’t much of a hike any more because you can’t walk between Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls. There’s only a short trail through the park nowadays, and it’s a quick walk from the parking lot to the falls.
You used to be able to swim at the base of Webster’s Falls and even venture behind the waterfall! Unfortunately, access to the base of Webster Falls is closed and there is no way to get to the bottom without illegally trespassing. This means that you’re no longer allowed to swim at Websters Falls, sadly.
Unfortunately, there is no way to hike to the bottom of Webster’s Falls without trespassing or hopping fences. You can receive a hefty fine for doing either. To get to the old trails to the base of Webster’s Falls, you have to cross CN Rail tracks, which is illegal and prohibited. You can only view Webster Falls from up above.
The main parking lot is on Fallsview Road in Greensville. You can park there from November through to May. In the summer season, you’ll need to park at Christie Lake Conservation Area and take the shuttle bus to Webster’s Falls, Tews Falls, and the Dundas Peak.