Webster’s Falls in the Summer and the Winter

Webster's Falls

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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.

Webster's Falls

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.

Webster's Falls

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:

Webster's Falls

Webster's Falls

Webster's Falls
The waterfall to the left, frozen

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.

Webster's Falls

Webster's Falls
The icy river above Webster’s Falls, viewed from atop the bridge
Webster's Falls
Spencer Creek flowing towards Webster’s Falls

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.

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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.

14 Responses

  1. Julio A. Zayas
    | Reply

    Nicely done. Great pics! Will be up that way first week of June 2020. Would like to approach the falls from down river . Where should I start?

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      It used to be possible to take a staircase down to the base of the falls from up above. Unfortunately, it’s been closed for a while and the trail to the base of the falls is closed / not maintained. I haven’t hiked this in a very long time, but I have heard that you can hike it from the bottom if you follow the river (there might be signs that the trail is closed). Hike at your own risk and wear proper hiking boots, etc. You’ll walk beneath the railroad tracks and enter a forested area. However, there might be a sign to say that the trail is closed. Some people will hike there anyway to see the base of the falls. Hope it all works out for you! I grew up visiting this spot and seeing the waterfall isn’t as accessible as it used to be, sadly.

  2. Holly
    | Reply

    This place is absolutely beautiful! Also the map was super useful. I’m a Brit with no clue on North American / Canadian geography and had no idea it was so close to NY! How long would it take to get to Toronto from there? I’m thinking of going over next year and wouldn’t want to miss Canada if it’s so close!

  3. Canada's Epic Hiking Trail You've Probably Never Heard Of - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] its hundreds of waterfalls, many of which fall along the Bruce Trail. The most scenic waterfall is Webster’s Falls in my hometown of Dundas, Ontario. Towards the end of my hike, I’ll be fortunate enough to […]

  4. Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] For anyone visiting Canada, I highly recommend that you check out Webster’s Falls/Tews Falls in Dundas, Ontario. It’s my hometown and the waterfalls are both beautiful. I wrote all about Webster’s Falls in a past blog post. […]

  5. Lexie
    | Reply

    I absolutely love hiking around Spencer Gorge! Great work capturing the beauty in summer and winter!


  6. Ryan Biddulph
    | Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    LOL! Think that I caught a minute of that SciFi movie a few weeks back ;)

    Stunning images!!


  7. Steve
    | Reply

    Stunning photos of the frozen waterfall.

  8. Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields
    | Reply

    There is something quite magical about frozen waterfalls. Give me a waterfall in winter over one in summer any day. #weekendwanderlust

  9. Gemma
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos. It’s quite amazing how different one place can look between seasons. I bet the falls look impressive in the autumn too, with the colours changing all around it!

  10. Ruth
    | Reply

    Not sure what is more beautiful, the actual waterfall or the frozen version of it. I guess it is a spectacle that have to be witnessed throughout the entire year.

  11. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos! I love waterfalls and this one is just lovely. I love how it looks totally frozen. I’m glad you got the picture from above too. Very neat!

  12. Jolanta
    | Reply

    What a beautiful place, just as gorgeous in the winter as in the summer! I wish I knew of it when we were driving through Niagara to Toronto! Next time we’re in the area, we’ll have to remember to visit this place. Thank you for the tip and all the background information!

  13. Steve
    | Reply

    Love the photos of the river and falls in the winter! A nice reminder that even urban areas have many scenic opportunities.

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