gut waterfall ontario

This secret park is home to one of Ontario's nicest waterfalls

While many of the province's finest waterfalls are within an hour's drive of Toronto, they tend to be overrun with crowds out to soak up their natural beauty. Those in search of a more intimate and secluded experience will have to look beyond Hamilton and Niagara.

Fortunately there are some hidden gems out there that offer amazing scenery without the need to battle other people for interesting camera angles or spots to set up a picnic. The Gut Conservation Area is one such place.

gut conservation area

The picturesque trail that leads to the waterfall. Photo by Derek Flack.

The name doesn't exactly conjure images of beautiful scenery, but the Gut refers to the 30 metre deep gorge that cuts across the area and leads the Crowe River to cascade rapidly through a narrow chute as a surprisingly powerful waterfall.

gut conservation area

The top portion of the Gut waterfall, which drops off into a 30 metre gorge. Photo by Colin J. McMechan (cropped).

It's not a terribly tall, but the speed of the water and the ability to get right next to it (please be careful!) makes it a thrilling attraction. When hiking in from the parking lot, the urgent sound of the rapids guides you to the falls.

gut conservation area

Precambrian basalt lava formations. Photo by Dan Delong.

The less adventurous can head a bit up stream and set up a picnic beside the other fascinating geological feature here: an exposed basalt lava ridge, which dates back to the Precambrian period. Here you can wade in the still pools of water outside the rapids.

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This is Ontario's rugged landscape at its finest, and the best part is you're unlikely to see more than a handful of people as you explore the area, which also features hiking trails and a lookout.

gut coservation area

Crowe River rapids below the falls. Photo by Derek Flack.

At one point this section of the Crowe River was referred to by locals as Buttermilk Falls, but when the Crowe Valley Conservation Authority acquired the land a few decades ago, the entire 400 acre area took the name of the Gut.

gut conservation area

The somewhat hard-to-spot sign for the Gut. Photo by Derek Flack.

To get here, take Highway 46 north from Havelock to Lasswade Rd. (which heads northeast at the 504 junction). Follow the road for about five kilometres until you see the sign on the left (here you turn right). Park somewhere before the final hill, which isn't friendly to cars.

Lead photo by

Derek Flack

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