Smokey Hollow waterfall

Smokey Hollow trail is a forested hike in Ontario that leads to a waterfall

With no shortage of waterfalls to discover, you could easily spend months exploring Hamilton's 130+ cascades.

Smokey Hollow is another one to add to your list, a hidden gem surrounded by forest with a stunning trail which leads you along the creek through a ravine.

Smokey Hollow Trail

Smokey Hollow Trail will lead you alongside Grindstone Creek through the ravine.

The entrance to the trail is located in a residential area just outside Waterdown. At the very start of the trail is where you'll find Smokey Hollow Waterfall, also known as Grindstone Falls, Waterdown Falls or Great Falls.

This beautiful ribbon waterfall is 10 metres tall, flowing from Grindstone Creek. For the best view, there is an observation that sits right above the falls to watch it flow over the rocks below.

Smokey Hollow Trail

The trail has gorgeous views, with some steep hills and stair climbs.

Surrounded by a section of the extensive Bruce Trail, Smokey Hollow Trail's rugged footpath follows the ravine created by the Niagara Escarpment. Occasionally, you'll see a CN Rail train chugging along in the distance at the top of the ravine.

The falls were once used to power a local sawmill, initially created as part of an effort to remediate the area and improve the local ecosystem. Some of the operations were steam-powered, which caused the valley to fill with industrial smoke. Thus, the area was nicknamed “Smokey Hollow."

Smoke Hollow Trail

The path winds around rock formations, overlooking the flowing creek below.

The mill production ceased around 1912, and today there is barely a trace of its existence. Now, the falls are the feature of the area's rehabilitated park land.

Smokey Hollow Trail is an in-and-back hike with steep hills and many steps, so prepare accordingly with appropriate footwear during the winter season.

The waterfall is located in an environmentally sensitive area, so stay on marked designated trails and obey posted signage to avoid damaging the habitation (and a big fine).

Smokey Hollow Trail

The white trail blazes denote the Bruce Trail, which will lead you all the way to Niagara.

If you plan to visit, there is a small parking lot near the trail's entrance, but it fills up very quickly so arrive early. Alternatively, you can park in Waterdown a short walk away.

Smokey Hollow Trail is free to hike with no reservations or admission fees required. Remember to be respectful of the habitat and leave no trace.

Photos by

Meg Cossmann

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