Sure, Niagara Falls in Ontario might claim to be home to one of the world's most impressive waterfalls, but nearby Hamilton also has a waterfall-themed claim to fame: a collection of well over 100 cascades all within the city limits. They've named themselves the Waterfall Capital of the World, and honestly, I don't see how anyone can beat their numbers, so I'm gonna go with it.
Of course, a city doesn't just randomly happen to have 100+ waterfalls... there's a reason for all this misty beauty. The Niagara Escarpment, a ridge that divides two landmasses of differing heights, cuts right through the city and is why there are so many waterfalls in town. The Niagara Escarpment is also, as you may have guessed based on its name, the reason behind Niagara Falls as well. But, back to Hamilton. Since there are so many in town, and they're all different, visiting all of them would be quite the challenge. Here, though, are ten of our very favorites!
*Note that many of these waterfalls aren't year-round. They're best viewed in the spring, or after rain.
Devil's Punchbowl is a pretty spectacular sight to see. The falls, when they have water, plunge 121 feet. The rocks that make up the cliff are special as well; you can see various stripes of color in the stratified rock. This waterfall was formed after the Ice Age, when a massive wave of water flooded down the creek and eroded out the punchbowl shape we see today.
Albion Falls is one of the more well-known waterfalls in Hamilton. The 62-foot-tall cascade is one of the city's prettiest.
It's also the site of a 19th-century urban legend about a woman, Jane Riley, who was disappointed in love with Joseph Rousseau, and flung herself off the top of the falls, committing suicide. It's popularly considered a Lovers' Leap to this day. Definitely be careful when hiking here, there are lots of precarious cliffs and dangerous older trails.
Chedoke Falls is a year-round stunner with a height of 60 feet. It's best viewed from the top, as hiking into the gorge is pretty undeveloped. Hard to believe that this natural beauty is found smack-dab in the middle of the city!
Upper Princess Falls is one of the smaller waterfalls, as its only about 23 feet tall, and it's a seasonal cascade, but if you catch it at the right time, it's absolutely lovely. If you continue hiking on the Chedoke Radial Trail, you can reach Lower Princess Falls, which is a whopping 130 feet tall, the second largest in Hamilton. It's not possible to see both falls from the same place, but they're both worth exploring.
The water on Sherman Falls comes from a spring-fed creek, so if you're not having much luck finding a waterfall in Hamilton, head here. A little further upstream is another waterfall, right next to the quaint Old Mill Restaurant. It's sometimes called Angel Falls or Fairy Falls, thanks to its delicate and lacy cascades.
Flowing into Spencer Gorge, Webster's Falls is one of two waterfalls in the area, the other being Tew's Falls. It's historically one of the most popular waterfalls in Hamilton, and is frequently found on vintage postcards. There's an adorable stone footbridge upstream of the waterfall that offers great views.
Note: Be prepared to pay to park, or cough up a bit of cash for a shuttle. It's worth it though.
The tallest waterfall in Hamilton is Tew's Falls, at a jaw-dropping 134 feet tall... that's only 30 feet shorter than Niagara Falls! This is one that dries up to a trickle at times, so it's best visited after a rainstorm. The hike to the falls is easy, but offers great scenery, and there are some viewing platforms for different angles of the waterfall.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. -John Lubbock