Hiking Spencer Gorge
Hamilton, Ontario is home to a plethora of trails and waterfalls. Hamilton is said to be “The Waterfall Capital of the World”, with over 100 waterfalls. Two popular waterfalls can be found in Webster’s Falls Conservation Area. Also known as Spencer Gorge, it is here you’ll find Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls. The area is also a part of the Niagara Escarpment and a section of the Bruce Trail runs through it.
Last summer I was excited to check out the area and go hiking in Spencer Gorge. A friend and I headed out early and arrived at Webster’s Falls Conservation Area mid-morning. The parking lot is right beside Webster’s Falls. Normally Webster’s Falls is a large waterfall at 78 feet across, but at the time of our visit in late summer it wasn’t as prominent. It had been a relatively dry summer which led to less water being fed to it. Even with that said it was still attractive. Must admit I’ve never seen an ugly waterfall! There is a path over an old cobblestone bridge which leads you t the top of the waterfall, as well as a path around and in front of it giving you a beautiful viewpoint. There are two main trails in the area. One takes you down into the gorge and to the bottom of the falls. The other trail takes you around the top portion of Webster’s Falls, over to Tews Falls, and out to Dundas Peak. This is the trail we chose.
Note: Access to bottom trail is not always available. Please check website before use.
After wandering past Webster’s Falls we continued along the Webster’s Falls Side Trail past the parking lot, and towards Tews Falls. There are a few vantage points to take in Tews Falls. One takes you literally right in front of it, out on a platform. Standing before it you can’t help but be wowed. The gorge curves and this ribbon waterfalls falls 135 feet down ever so gracefully. Tews Falls is the tallest waterfalls in Hamilton and can be compared to the famous Niagara Falls in height. With a height of 165 feet Niagara Falls is only 30 feet higher than Tews Falls.
Another key attraction of Spencer Gorge is Dundas Peak. Dundas Peak offers views over Dundas Valley, Hamilton and the Spencer Gorge. We continued along the trail until we got to the Glen Ferguson Side Trail. This side trail takes you deeper into the forest, along a narrow path. There was much less traffic on this trail and so allowing us to stumble upon some of the wildlife that calls this area home. Song birds sang in the tree tops, chipmunks scurried in the brush, and snakes sunned themselves on the heated rocks. The trail looped back with the Webster’s Falls Side Trail right at Dundas Peak.
Dundas Peak is definitely the wow moment of the trail. With a couple of different lookout ledges we paused to sit and soak in the lush green view over Spencer Gorge and beyond. It felt like I was on top of the world. As though, if I were to stand on the precipice, and reach out my arms, I could fly. I couldn’t help but be in awe, thinking ‘I can’t believe we’re so close to the city and yet it looks like we’re in the middle of the wilds.’
Afterwards we headed back to the car via the Webster’s Falls Side Trail. Even though it wasn’t a long trail, we casually made out way around and were able to enjoy the picturesque area before the afternoon crowds descended.
If you’re going to start exploring Hamilton’s waterfalls hiking Spencer Gorge is a great place to start.
Level of Difficulty – Easy
Time – Less than 2 hours
Parking – $5 per person or $10 per vehicle (cash only)