• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources

Devil's Punch BowlDevil's Punch Bowl

Devil's Punch Bowl (Rating=A) is an amazing ribbon plunge waterfall 35 m in height with a crest of 3 m as Stoney Creek flows over the escarpment. The frozen falls builds up impressive mounds of ice in the winter. A smaller falls is located downstream.


Devil's Punch Bowl is a Hamilton waterfalls located in the Devil's Punchbowl Conservation Area in Stoney Creek, Ontario. A large free parking lot is located on Ridge Road west of Centennial Parkway S.
Upper Falls
Upper Falls Type: ribbon plunge   Falls facing: N
Upper Falls Latitude: N43.21045   Longitude: W79.75594
Height: 35 m    Width: 3 m
Lower Falls
Lower Falls Type: classical plunge   Falls facing: N
Lower Falls Latitude: N43.21167    Longitude: W79.75767    
Height: 5 m    Width: 6 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.


Access is easy from the free parking lot on Ridge Road. The falls is less than 200 m away and is wheelchair accessible. Access to the lower falls is more difficult and is not wheelchair accessible. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.


Overall Ratings: Devil's Punch Bowl = A (Upper); B (Lower)

Upper Falls
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow of Stoney Creek; little water in the dry summer months
Falls Size: A - > 15 m
Aesthetics: A -a very impressive drop and spectacular steep gorge walls with a great viewpoint and vistas Lower Falls:
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow of Stoney Creek as above
Falls Size: C -<15 m, small
Aesthetics: B -surrounded by high gorge walls. Nearby Falls

Felker's Falls, Albion Falls, Buttermilk Falls

  TRAILMAP trailmap
   ROADMAP road
   LOCATOR hamilton region waterfalls


devils-lower_106_0682_32Lower Devil's Punch BowlThe history of the Devil's Punch Bowl dates back at least some 450 million years (the late Ordovician and early Silurian periods) when materials which form the Niagara escarpment were originally deposited in a large inland sea. At this point in history, corals and other organisms inhabited the area until, as the sea bottom deposits slowly changed to rock, these organisms became fossilized.

Approximately 1 million years ago, the area was subjected to four great ice ages. By this time, the inland sea had already retreated and great slabs of ice covered the land. Their effect on the landscape was to either sharpen or expose the escarpment rock face or to bury it with drift material. Following the end of the last ice age there was a period of high water levels. This is what etched the final details into the landscape of the Punch Bowl. The water concentrated into huge streams which had a tremendous capacity to carve out the landscape.

One of these powerful streams plunged right over the escarpment at Stoney Creek and carved out what would later become known as the Devil's Punch Bowl. Eventually, there was less water available in the area to continue the powerful stream, and its capacity has been greatly reduced. It has become a landmark that is famous with geologists worldwide for its exposed rock strata. Here you can view the many different coloured rock layers of the Escarpemnt. Some of the layers include Queenston Formation red shale, Cabot Head grey shale, limestone and shale dolomite.

One dominant feature of Devil’s Punch Bowl is a large, 10 m high steel cross on the lookout platform. This cross was erected on December 18, 1966 by a man named William Sinclair (1925 - 1994). He felt he could bring a little light to the world by building the huge steel monument which has 106 light bulbs along its edges and was originally planned to be lit up for six weeks of each year, during Christmas and Easter. However, since 1991, the cross has lit up every night of the year, being turned on automatically each night thanks to donations made by a Stoney Creek branch of the Knights of Columbus.

There is a spectacular view of Stoney Creek and Hamilton Harbour from the lookout. Many stories circulate about how the name of the falls originated. One rumour has it that it was named for the bootlegged pails of homebrew that at one time could be bought in the woods around the top of the falls. Another story suggest the beauty of the falls itself as the work of God but that God would not want his name to be used this way, so it was decided to name it after the devil instead.


Bruce Trail, Devil's Falls Access Trail, Ridge Road Access Trail, Dofasco Trail. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

devils-punch-bowlFrom the free parking lot on Ridge Road, walk towards the back of the lot and to the right where you will see blue side trail markers heading in a zig-zag pattern down the steep incline. The top half of the descent is quite steep, so if this is too intimidating take the Ridge Road Trail down instead. At the bottom of the escarpment, you will come across the main Bruce Trail. Turn left and follow this trail past the Lower Falls and into the Punch Bowl. This is an interesting area to explore as you look up at the high cliff walls surrounding you. Keep to the main trail as there are side trails that attempt to climb the cliff wall. With effort one of these rises steeply to within 6 feet of the rim. And while I climbed this once, I would not again. The trail descends further aided by a set of steps downwards. When you arrive at an area with rail tracks to your right, turn left and take the blue side trail up a long sloping hill. Near the top keep left and you will emerge on Ridge Road. Turn left and walk along the side between the road and the escarpment. This will take you back towards the parking lot and past the fruit market and bakery. Turn into the observation area and examine the huge cross and the spectacular views. Not only can you see all of Hamilton and Burlington Bay but on a clear day you can see the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Return to the parking lot. The Punch Bowl Fruit Market and Bakery just down the road is worth a visit for some homemade goodies after the walk.


warningYou can walk to the very base of this impressive waterfalls and it isn't too difficult although rocky and slippery in places. The Bruce Trail descends down to meet Stoney Creek just beyond the concrete culvert. From this point you can see the Lower Falls. Here there is a rough trail to the right that leads alongside the right side of Stoney Creek to the base of The Devil’s Punch Bowl Falls. This area is very overgrown in the summer when there is very little water in the creek and may be hard to see. Nevertheless with care you can navigate right up to the bottom of the falls. What an impressive sight to look up and see all the water pummeling down towards you!


L50F Albion Falls to Devil's Punch Bowl


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