Being a resident of Toronto, and a lover of nature, I am incredibly lucky to be able to explore so many conservation and green spots in the surrounding area. Of all of the exciting parts of the outdoors to hike and appreciate are waterfalls near Toronto. There are no waterfalls in the City of Toronto. There is a mini-waterfall in Evergreen Brick Works that is more like a sewer runoff.
You’ll find waterfalls outside Toronto and the suburban areas. Some you can swim at the base of too!
Please do not venture out of your region until Ontario’s Stay At Home Order has been lifted and we are permitted to do so.
Where to Find Waterfalls Near Toronto
All of the waterfalls near Toronto, Ontario that I am recommending are ones I have personally visited and hiked the surrounding area. I will be focusing on two main areas – Grey County and around Hamilton, Ontario. Not on this list is the obvious location of Niagara Falls because there are so many other areas to enjoy!
The waterfalls I am listing in this post and are on the map above are:
Hilton Falls, McGowan Falls, Hoggs Falls, Eugenia Falls, Inglis Falls, Tews Falls, The Devil’s Punchbowl, Sherman Falls, Tiffany Falls and Smokey Hollow Falls.
All of these waterfalls are within two hours of driving from Toronto. You should have your own transportation to reach these locations. It’s fairly impossible to get to all of these waterfalls relying on public transport.
Waterfalls Near Toronto To Hike
Hiking in the area of waterfalls means there is always a chance of getting wet! It is a good idea to pack extra articles of clothing in your vehicle. I always recommend bringing a second pair of shoes and socks in my vehicle when you hike. If you do get wet, you will have dry socks and shoes as a backup. Alway hike safely by letting others know where you are going. Bring a daypack with you that contains sunscreen, bug spray and a small first aid kit.
Hilton Falls, Milton
Hilton Falls is a 10-metre spectacular waterfall view roughly a two-kilometre hike from the parking lot in the conservation area. That’s the feature photo for this post! It’s an amazing place to go on a hot day to cool off, to feel the mist from the water and get amazing Instagram shots. Seriously, search these waterfalls up on Instagram!
The last time I was there with my kids, other families were walking behind the waterfall and kids in bathing suits at the base. These waterfalls have been REALLY busy on nice days and weekends. Plan to go on a weekday and early for fewer crowds. This one has always been a personal favourite of mine as I discovered it back in my Sheridan College days and would make many treks out there to clear my head.
This conservation area is closest to Milton, Ontario. There are entrance fees there for parking and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to reserve your space online in advance of your visit. It’s one of the best hiking areas in the area for families and it a very easy trail for everyone to hike.
McGowan Falls, Durham (Grey County)
I visited McGowan Falls in Durham after a trip out to the area butcher. It was my first time there and was kind of amazed that to access them, I walked up a residential street. How lucky are the people who live there?! Imagine having a waterfall at the end of your street! The locals told me that on a normal summer day, people fish at the base of the falls and kids swim above them.
Although it is only partially natural (the head of the falls is controlled by a man-made gate), I still enjoyed watching the waterfall over the rocks. When I visited, there was minimal water flow. Others have witnessed much more water flow.
There was no fee to park at this conservation area. It’s a great place to bring a picnic basket and blanket on a nice day.
Hoggs Falls, Flesherton (Grey County)
From the parking lot, it’s a short, half a kilometre and gorgeous hike on the Bruce Trail alongside the Boyne River to the waterfall. It will not take you more than 5 minutes.
At the top of the falls, there is no viewing platform or fence. Please hold onto your children and exercise caution when viewing from the rockface overlook. You CAN get to the bottom of the falls two ways. One is climbing down a rope. Or there is a side trail that takes you down to the river. You can if you’re okay with risking getting wet, hike alongside the side trail. I have made the trek to Hogg’s Falls a couple of times and have done the viewing both ways.
If you are feeling ambitious and the trail is open, you can hike all the way over to Eugenia Falls too!
Read more about Hoggs Falls and the history of the area here. No charge for parking here.
Eugenia Falls, Eugenia (Grey County)
If you’re not in the mood to hike the trail or are physically unable to do so, you can drive between Hoggs Falls and Eugenia Falls in under 10 minutes. The loop trail between Hoggs Falls and Eugenia Falls is 12.6 kilometres. You’re more likely to find crowds at Eugenia Falls as it’s stunning and is found just off the main road. Head there early or on a weekday to try to avoid others.
The falls can best be described as majestic, tranquil, spectacular. Eugenia Falls is 30 metres high and is the tallest waterfall in the area.
Eugenia Falls can also be accessed from the Bruce Trail, which is one of the longest marked hiking trails in all of Canada. The trails and area used to be very open for sightseeing, however, there have been many accidents lately. Exercise caution, do not climb the wall for a better look. The area can be slippery when wet. Access to the base of the falls is closed.
Parking here is handled by a private company. The charge is $6.
Inglis Falls, Owen Sound (Grey County)
There are a handful of waterfalls around Owen Sound and Inglis Falls is the most impressive! Inglis Falls is an 18-metre cascade waterfall. The hike from the parking lot is roughly ten feet to see this waterfall at the top. However, the hike in the conservation area to see the falls from other angles is worth it.
Inglis Falls is very powerful, beautiful, rugged and spectacular. When I was there, rough paths to the gorge’s bottom were closed off. I would guess that they would be very risky to attempt, so stick to the marked and accessible trails.
As with other waterfalls, the falls were initially a mill, fallen into disrepair now a conservation area. Parking at Inglis Falls is handled by a private company (MacKay). The charge is $6 through the app or online.
Tews Falls, Hamilton
Tews Falls are gorgeous! This is a must-do hike in the fall for the gorgeous colours. This trail is only a kilometre between the falls and the Dundas Peak lookout, it’s a breathtaking vantage point.
There are areas where railings/barriers are in place so that visitors do not fall. This means do not try to climb around them. Safety first! Stay on the marked trail at all times. Due to the popularity of the location on the day we visited, instead of taking the main trail to Tews Falls from the lookout, we took a side trail for 0.8km. Then, we joined up with the main trail for the remainder of the hike to Tews Falls.
This is a pretty epic hike and one of the best ones I like to take my kids on. Check out more photos here for Tews Falls and Dundas Peak.
The parking lot for the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area is open from the end of May until the end of October. Your spot must be reserved in advance. The parking fee for each vehicle is $10.50 and there is a reservation fee of $10. There is also a per-person admission fee of $5 for each visitor aged 5 and up.
The Devil’s Punchbowl, Hamilton
Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area in Hamilton’s east end, is on the Bruce Trail and offers up two separate waterfalls: Upper Falls is a 33.8-metre ribbon waterfall and Lower falls, is a 5.5-metre classical waterfall.
The Devil’s Punchbowl Falls can be a trickle when it hasn’t rained in a while. The photo above best illustrates that! And it’s what you will see in the video here. The steep gorge with colourful layers of rock encircles the falls. The formation of the Devil’s Punch Bowl occurred 1 million years ago after one of the four great ice ages.
It’s a bit of a tough hike for younger kids and it’s a very steep incline both up and down, but manageable with the right attitude and shoes. Best accessed from the Dofasco 2000 trail.
If you park at the conservation area at top of the Devil’s Punchbowl, the cost for parking at the lot is $6 for the day.
Sherman Falls, Hamilton
The first thing you need to know is that Sherman Falls is on private property and the owners can close the area off at any time. It is not your right to hike here, it is a privilege.
Sherman Falls is a 17 metre-high curtain waterfall that is between two other local waterfalls, Tiffany Falls and Canterbury Falls. The water flow here is good at all times of the year. The trail is easy to navigate. This is an extremely popular place to come for romantic walks and photos and you can walk quite close to the base of the falls. Other nicknames for this waterfall are Angel Falls or Fairy Falls.
There is a paid parking lot approximately 400 metres away from the waterfalls. The daily charge is $5. It’s a moderate-level hike from Sherman Falls to Tiffany Falls on the Bruce Trail and takes roughly thirty minutes.
Tiffany Falls, Hamilton
Tiffany Falls is a lovely 21-metre cascade waterfall. From the parking area, you hike approximately 10 minutes into the woods along a dirt pathway that crosses Tiffany Creek a couple of times. It’s an easy hike for most family members, but as with most of these areas, it’s not wheelchair accessible or easy to get to for the mobility impaired.
This waterfall can be accessed all year long. In the winter when the falls are iced over, you can climb them with a climbing company from the area. To get your photos, it is strongly recommended that you utilize the wooden platform that gives you a great view of the falls and stay out of the water.
Parking is in high demand. The cost is $5 and is limited. On busy days, a by-law officer will ticket vehicles that are not parked in proper spots or did not pay for parking.
Smokey Hollow Falls
At only 10 metres tall, this isn’t the biggest waterfall around, but this powerful waterfall is on an amazing section of the Bruce Trail. It’s a steep hill and there are a lot of steps on this portion of the hike, so it’s a good glute workout!
Parking here is free. Be cautious of staying ON the trail. Venturing off the trail is dangerous and could get you a trespassing citation.
In case you have not figured it out, one of my favourite Canadian winter activities is waterfall chasing! Some people might think that the only time to be viewing waterfalls, or be anywhere near the base of them is summertime. There is something truly majestic and absolutely beautiful about chasing waterfalls in winter and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I took my kids on a tour of some of the above-mentioned waterfalls. Check out the video below!
I’m so grateful to live in this part of Ontario where all of this beauty is a short car ride away. Hope you feel inspired to check some of these waterfalls close to Toronto in the future.
Please plan on packing out any trash and litter that you bring in. Respect the trails and the people who maintain them. Waterfalls are located in environmentally sensitive areas – please stay on marked designated trails and obey closure signs.