Rocky, undulating, steep hills to climb
Free parking at Rockway Community Centre
At Community Centre (if open)
Balls Falls picnic area
20 Aug 2010
Not wheelchair accessible
Louth Falls, Balls Upper and Lower Falls; Twelve Trail along the rapids
X-country skiing; Snowshoeing
The Site: Louth, Balls (Upper/Lower) Falls, Twenty Trail
The Louth Conservation Area is located along the Sixteen Mile Creek in the Town of Lincoln. The fully forested Louth Conservation Area is most often a very quiet location with few visitors on most visits. The 62 hectares of land that form this Conservation Area preserves sections of the Niagara Escarpment and provides access to the Bruce Trail and the Louth Side Trail. Beautiful scenery can be seen from this trail including two waterfalls, of which the larger lower Louth Falls is particularly worth visiting. The upper falls plunges about 4 m and is almost covered by road construction while the lower falls plummets from a height of just under 9 m. This area is for passive recreational day use only with no amenities available. The terrain is a bit difficult and can be rocky and slippery. The rare walking fern (emblem of the Bruce Trail Club) can be found on some moss-covered rocks.
This small falls is located in a deciduous forest where the landscape develops when exposed limestone is eroded chemically by weak acids in precipitation. The shallow trenches you can see probably began as joints in the bedrock, which over time were enlarged by chemical erosion.
Ball's Falls Conservation Area is a historical park. The discovery and settlement of Ball's Falls resulted indirectly from the American Revolution. The remaining colonies that remained loyal to the British migrated North to Upper Canada in search of new homes. On October 13, 1807, 1200 acres of land was sold to John and George Ball beginning the Ball tenure of these historic lands which lasted for more than a century and a half.
Restored and maintained by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, the site occupies over 80 hectares of the original 480 hectares purchased by the Ball brothers. George Ball constructed grist, saw, and woolen mills, which lead to the growth of one of the first communities in this area. The hamlet was known as Ball's Mills, Louth Mills, Glen Elgin, and finally as Ball's Falls because of the two delightful waterfalls on the property.
In the mid 1800's, however, significant developments such as the railway and the Welland Canal led to the rapid growth of other villages below the escarpment, and by the turn of the century, most of the activity at Balls Falls had ceased.
The site lovingly restored to its early 1800's atmosphere, now features an operating flour mill, a lime kiln, a church, family home, blacksmith shop, carriage shed, and more. In addition to its historical interest, Ball's Falls is also a centre for nature activities, offering a tremendous diversity of flora and fauna as well as excellent exposures of geologic strata.
Ball's Falls Conservation Area is home to 471 species of vascular plants including Wild Sarsaparilla, Green and White Trilliums, Wild Ginger, Wild Geranium, Virginia Bluebells, Canada Yew, Arrowhead, Wild Leak, Asparagus, Wild Yam, Red Mulberry, Wild Columbine, Canada Anemore, Chokecherry, Virginian Creeper, St. John's Wort.
Ball's Falls lies within what is known as the deciduous forest zone. Hardwoods mixed with coniferous trees predominately characterize this area. Species include Eastern Cotton Wood, Butternut, Black Walnut, Shagbark, Hickory, White Oak, Tulip Tree and Slippery Elm.
This is a nice hike from Louth Falls, passsing Eighteen Mile Creek Falls on the way to Balls Falls. The highlight of this hike has to be the long walk along the Twenty Trail high above Twenty Mile Creek below. In the spring, the huge boulders in the creek make for a wild set of rapids. Further along you can get down close the waters' edge to see these amazing rapids. After that, it's a long climb up the steps to see Balls Falls and the restored Heritage Village. Then there's one of my favourite trails along the Creek edge to the Upper Falls that then loops back inland. Here you have a great view of the falls and quite closeup.