• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources

DeCew FallsDeCew Falls (Upper)

Upper DeCew Falls (Rating=A) is a ribbon plunge waterfall where Beaverdams Creek plunges over the escarpment in a 20 m drop to the gorge below and on to Lower DeCew Falls which is a smaller 8 m steep classical cascade waterfall in a more remote but nearby setting.


DeCew Falls is a Niagara Region waterfall located near St. Catharines, Ontario on DeCew Road near the Merrittville Hwy. Parking is free in the Decew Falls parking lot and in the Morningstar Mill lot.
Upper Falls
Upper Falls Type: ribbon plunge   Falls facing: N
Upper Decew Falls Latitude: N43.11154     Longitude: W79.26626    
Lower Falls
Lower Falls Type: classical cascade   Falls facing: E
Lower Decew Falls Latitude: N43.11073     Longitude: W79.26691
Height: 8 m    Width: 8 m
Click on the Road Map button below for a Google map and directions. The Falls Locator button shows a map of other waterfalls in the area.


From the parking lot right at the Morningstar Mill, it's just 20 m to the falls and it's also wheelchair accessible. The upper falls can be viewed from above at the mill with the area around the top of the falls protected by a chain fence for safety.The view throught the lower level window in the Mill gives a fantastic view of the water plunging over the crest of the falls. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.


Overall Rating: DeCew Falls = A (Upper); B (Lower)

Upper Falls
Waterflow: A -water all season from Beaversams Creek
Falls Size: A - > 15 m
Aesthetics: A -park-like historical site, working mill, deep gorge, steep walls, rock layers
Lower Falls
Waterflow: A
Falls Size: B
Aesthetics: C -very difficult to get a good view due to vegetation and steep slopes Nearby Falls

Terrace Creek Falls, Swayze Falls, Rockway Falls


  TRAILMAP trailmap
   ROADMAP road
   LOCATOR niagara region waterfalls


decew-upper-fallsCrest of Upper DeCew FallsIn addition to the Decew Falls parking lot, further down the road, there is also free parking in the DeCew House lot. This is a good place to park if you want to do the loop hike. This is a great location with its picturesque waterfall and historic mill.

The mill was built of local stone in 1872 on the site of a former blacksmith and carpentry shop. Water was diverted from Beaverdams Creek to power the mill. Over time, several grain millers leased the mill, and in 1883, it was purchased by Wilson Morningstar, after whom it is named. Destroyed by fire in 1895, it was rebuilt and operated until 1933. It then fell into disrepair but has recently been reconstructed and made into a museum.

DeCew House was located nearby. During the war of 1812-14, DeCew House was used as headquarters by Lieutenant Fitzgibbon of the 49th Regiment, and it was here that Laura Secord brought her warning of an impending American attack. John DeCew was made Captain of Militia in the Second Regiment of Lincoln, District of Niagara. Though he was captured, he escaped and continued to allow his home to be used in 1913 and 1914 as a military post.

Provisions were collected here and the mills ground grain for the army, In addition, it was a busy center of military activity. In 1950, it burned and was destroyed. Ontario Hydro was quick to make the stone ruins a historic site.


Bruce Trail, Decew Road, local trails. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

decew-upper-fallsFrom the DeCew House parking lot, you will see the remains of DeCew House which are worth a look. Follow the Bruce Trail westward around Lake Moodie. You will pass the water treatment plant and a large reservoir that supplies Upper DeCew Falls water for the DeCew Hydroelectric Power Station which is one of the oldest in Canada. You are afforded a great view of the Generating Station below from a lookout vantage point.

The trail follows the edge of the escarpment for some distance affording great views of the surrounding countryside and urban areas. Continue along the trail through the quiet countryside and soon you will hear the roar of the Lower Falls. At the T-intersection turn left and continue to follow the main Bruce Trail. If you turn right here, a difficult trail leads down to the creek (more about this trail below.) The Lower Falls can be hard to see through all the tree branches and foliage. On weekends and holiday Mondays, be sure to tour the museums at the crest of the Upper Falls. There is a great view of the falls from a window in the building.


warningThe recommended but longer way to get to the base of the Upper Falls is to turn right at the T-intersection mentioned above and follow the path that heads down to the creek. It is fairly steep but doable. The downside is that it is a long way back to the Upper Falls over some pretty rocky terrain that is challenging in places. However it does take you past the Lower Falls.
A shorter way is to look at the way down about 30 m back from the falls. It's pretty steep but there are reports that a yellow rope can help you down part of the way and then back up. It is not uncommon to see people who have scrambled down into the gorge for a great view of both falls. However the slope is both steep and deep and great caution must be exercised. I don’t recommend this descent. If you do descend, you can follow the creek bed downstream for a great view of the Lower Falls and then return upstream to view the Upper Falls. DeCew Falls cascades 22 metres into a bowl-shaped amphitheatre just behind the mill. If you are daring, you can go behind the falls and feel the cool spray. It is not uncommon for emergency services having to rescue people who have descended the steep gorge but then cannot make it back up.



L45F Decew Falls to Rockway Falls


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