Rocky in places with undulating trails
Pay parking kiosk ($1.00 per hour)
None but old outhouse at concrete bunker before (006).
At concrete bunker or old homestead near (006); steps at Snake Rd; along Grindstone Creek
14 Apr 2011, 30 Apr 2011
Not wheelchair accessible
The two waterfalls; rapids in Grindstone Creek; tunnel under Hwy #6, Upper Cascade Falls.
Borer's to Grindstone Creek Falls
The Borer's Falls to Grindstone Creek Falls hike begins at Borer's Falls. The layered nature of sedimentary rocks in the area is immediately noticeable at the falls. The energy of the water falling over the escarpment at this point was used by the Borer family to run a sawmill for over a century. This mill was the lifeblood of the village of Rock Chapel. However land clearing by the early 1900s altered the water flow of the creek to such an extent that the mill was forced to convert to steam power. It seems obvious that a much larger volume of water once flowed over this falls in order to carve out such a large gorge.
The middle part of the hike undulates and winds through mature woodlands near the escarpment edge and passes underneath Hwy #6 through a lighted concrete tunnel. After the tunnel, the trail crosses a bridge over the Upper Quarry Cascade. This is a terraced ribbon cascade with a height of 4 m and a crest of 1.2 m. It shows an impressive flow during seasonal storms and after the winter snow melt. Upper Quarry Cascade is on a Grindstone Creek tributary which originates in the former quarry site east of Clappison Corners.
The last part of the hike takes place along Grindstone Creek which is one of five creeks within the Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay watershed. Shaped by glaciers, its watershed is approximately 90 square kilometers in size. Its headwaters originate near Harpers Corners in north Flamborough, traverses the Niagara Escarpment near Waterdown, winds through Hidden Valley in Burlington before emptying into Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay. It carries about 14% of the natural water that flows into Hamilton Harbour/Burlington Bay. The hike climbs past the rapids to Grindstone Falls.
The Grindstone watershed falls within the northernmost limit of the Carolinian Forest Zone in Southern Ontario. It includes the greatest diversity of wildlife of any Carolinian Forest Zone, including species found nowhere else in Canada.
The three waterfalls are the highlight of this hike but the rolling undulating landscape plays a role as well. The large hill to descend just past Snake Road can be slippery when wet and the area below the hill can be quite muddy if the weather has been wet recently. The hike alongside Grindstone Creek is interesting for the rapid flow of water over the rocks creating quite a set of rapids. It is not too difficult to descend to the waterfalls in some areas.