balls falls conservation area

Ball's Falls Conservation Area in Ontario has waterfalls and breathtaking fall colours

Ball's Falls Conservation Area has everything you need for a worthwhile day trip this fall. 

Located just an hour and a half from the city and nestled on the scenic Niagara Escarpment within the breathtaking Twenty Valley, Ball's Falls is home to beautiful forest trails, two different waterfalls and a small mid-19th century ghost town.

The 200-acres of land is rich in flora and fauna, so expect some stunning autumn colours if you visit this time of year. 

The Cataract Trail is probably the most popular of the five trails throughout the area. The 1.7-kilometre-loop follows Twenty Mile Creek through the forest continuing to the 35-foot-tall (11 metres) Upper Falls.

The hiking trail also passes stone ruins of an old woolen mill. 

To check out the Lower Falls, follow the 1.3-kilometre Village Trail that connects to the Cataract Trail. There's a lookout that offers a pretty view of the 90-foot-tall (27 metres) waterfall and the multi-coloured, carved-out gorge.

Just keep in mind the character of both the Upper and Lower falls may change dramatically with the seasons and can be much drier (or wetter) at times due to rain levels. 

In addition to the waterfalls, there's a historic village you can explore.

The area was once active due to the various mills operated by the Ball family, and the hamlet that sat here included about 20 inhabitants. 

Development in the area below the escarpment due to the arrival of the railways led to people moving elsewhere.

Still standing within the park are the original Ball family home, an operating flour mill, a lime kiln, a restored church, a blacksmith shop and a carriage shed. 

To visit the conservation area by car, you'll need to pay a $13 fee (or $9.75 for students and seniors.) Additional passengers cost $4.50 each ($3.50 for students and seniors) up to a maximum of $26.50.

Off-season entry fees are otherwise $8. The park's hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but make sure to check the website for updates or closures before heading out to the falls.

Also make sure to respect the rules of the conservation area during your visit; alcohol is prohibited, swimming is prohibited, people who feel ill are asked to stay home, and all visitors must wear face masks while visiting indoor spaces like the Centre for Conservation.

Visitors are reminded to maintain physical distancing at all times and aways pick up their trash to leave the area just as beautiful as they found it.

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