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Rockway Falls (Upper)Rockway Falls (Upper)

Rockway Falls (Rating=A) is a ribbon cascade waterfall where Fifteen Mile Creek drops 18 m into the gorge below. It is one of four waterfalls in the immediate area and has a crest of 4.5 m. Middle Rockway Falls a bit further downstream is a classical cascade waterfall with a crest of 4.5 m and a drop of 5 m. Further down still is Rockway Lower Falls, a curtain cascade waterfall, with a crest of 4.5 m and a drop of 1.5 m. Located across the road nearby is Martin's Falls.

LOCATION

Rockway Falls is a Niagara Region waterfall located in Rockway Conservation Area in Rockway near St. Catharines. Parking is free in the Rockway Community Centre lot on Pelham Road east of Shorthills PP. Upper Rockway
Falls Type: ribbon cascade   Falls facing: N Falls Latitude: N43.11113    Longitude: W79.3232 Height: 18 m    Width: 4.5 m Middle Rockway
Falls Type: classical cascade   Falls facing: N Falls Latitude: N43.11177    Longitude: W79.32251 Height: 5 m    Width: 4.5 m Lower Rockway
Falls Type: curtain cascade    Falls facing: NE Falls Latitude: N43.11790    Longitude: W79.31753 Height: 1.5 m    Width: 4.5 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

Access is along a trail on the gorge edge. The best viewing spots are not wheelchair accessible. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.

ToHi RATING

Overall Ratings: = A (Upper); B (Middle); B (Lower)

Upper Rockway
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow of Fifteen Mile Creek
Falls Size: A - > 15 m
Aesthetics: A - nice shape and rock formation; deep gorge Middle Rockway
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow of Fifteen Mile Creek
Falls Size: C - < 15 m; small
Aesthetics: B -difficult to view due to vegetation Lower Rockway
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow of Fifteen Mile Creek
Falls Size: C - < 15 m; small
Aesthetics: A -nice quiet area with impressive rapids, mist and churning water; good access Nearby Falls

Martin Falls (N43.12423 W79.35093; Fifteen Mile Creek), Louth Falls (Sixteen Mile Creek)

 
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THE ROCKWAY FALLS AREA:

rockway-middle_115-1527_32Rockway Middle FallsThe Rockway Conservation Area is located along the Fifteen Mile Creek near the City of St. Catharines. This 126 ha site protects a portion of the Niagara Escarpment, the Rockway Falls, and the diverse flora and fauna of the Carolinian Forest.

Rockway Falls encompasses an erosional notch at the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, probably created by solution of major structural elements in the (Silurian) bedrock that were enhanced by glacial erosion through several glacial periods. The falls are 18 m high, with a plunge basin over 3 m deep at the bottom of the falls, eroded into the Irondequoit Formation. Downstream about 90 m, a smaller falls has a height of about 5 m and a plunge basin about 0.6 m deep at the base. The water course then continues to surge over a series of rapids.

Some interesting flora can be witnessed at this location, for example, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Witch Hazel, and Sycamore to name a few. The existence of a salt spring brings some historical significance to the area as it is thought to have been used as far back as 1792. Furthermore, it is said to possess the best quality and quantity of salt in the province.

ROCKWAY FALLS AREA WALKING TRAILS:

Bruce Trail, Rockway Falls Side Trail, local trails. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

rockway-lower_104_0405_32Rockway Lower FallsThe Bruce Trail traverses the southern section of this area and is considered an ideal spot for hiking. Head to the back of the parking lot to see Rockway Upper Falls right before you. This is huge deep gorge and the path is right along the very edge of the gorge . Exercise caution here. Walk along this edge to view the Middle Rockway Falls about 90 m downstream. Continue along this rocky edge for a short distance until you can go no further along the edge and there is a large rock jutting out into the gorge providing a good but precarious view. At this point head away from the edge and you will soon find the white blaze markings of the main Bruce Trail. Follow the Bruce Trail down the rocky descent and descend further into the woods. The Rockway Falls Side Trail soon veers off to the left and traverses along the escarpment edge for a distance. The trail markings have been improved and it is now easy to follow the blue blazes marking the side trail. In time you will hear the roar of Lower Rockway Falls and come upon the trail crossing across the creek which is not passable when the water level is high. This is not a problem since there is no need to cross. [The side trail crosses the creek to rejoin the main trail at 9th St.]

rockway martin falls 0847 32Martin FallsInstead continue straight ahead on a trail near the creek to a wonderful spot. This is one of the prettiest locations anywhere and the Lower Falls, while not very high, casts a huge mist cloud up into the air as the roiling water churns its way past the man made breakwater and tumbles with great speed into the rapids below. This is a great place to spend some time viewing the scene on the convenient rocks which have unfortunately seen their share of graffiti. You can easily descend to the creek bed below the falls for excellent views of the falls and the rapids below. The path continues along the escarpment edge for a while before descending the slope and petering out. A bit before the lower falls the blue markings indicate the trail swings to the left and return along the path you followed to return to the parking lot.

Now walk on Rockway Road to the bridge for a great view of the gorge below. Across the road, on the other side of the bridge, you will see the lovely Martin Falls. There is no trail leading to the falls.



FOR THE ADVENTUROUS ONLY:

You can get down to the base of Upper Rockway Falls but walking to the rear of the parking lot on the east side of the Rockway Community Centre where a trail leads to the left behind the fence close to the gorge edge. This trail leads to a lower level and then eventually down to the gorge. But this can be a challenging trail. Then you need to walk back to the base of the falls.
Recently two young local men told me the best way to get down to the base was to walk NW along the Bruce Trail to the where it descends a rock face and then becomes a much more gradual descent to the creek. Then walk back upstream. But then I later watched them climb up the rock face near the community centre by planting one foot on a tree and the other on the rock face to make their way up the tree and the cliff. Definitely not recommended.

HIKES VISITING THIS FALLS:

L45F DeCew Falls to Rockway Falls and L46F Rockway Falls to Louth Falls
and L48F Rockways Falls to Balls Falls


ROCKWAY FALLS VIDEO:

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