Swayze Falls (Rating=A) is a ramp waterfall with a crest of 6 m and a drop of 14 m located in Shorthills Provincial Park. The tributary of Twelve Mile Creek is dry most of the year except after a heavy rainfall or during the Spring melt. The winter freeze gives a spectacular view.
Swayze Falls is a Niagara Region waterfall located in the Southwest corner of Shorthills Provincial Park in Pelham, St. Catharines. The southern lot off Roland Road just east of Effingham St is the best place to park and parking is free.
Falls Type: terraced ribbon Falls facing: S
Falls Latitude: N43.09283 Longitude: W79.30326
Height: 14 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 good. A 400 m trail leads from the parking lot to the falls; the trail is wheelchair accessible. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.ToHi RATING
Overall Rating: Swayze Falls = A
Waterflow: B -seasonal flow; dry in summers
Falls Size: B - < 15 m; medium size
Aesthetics: A -nice observation platform with bench, scenic quiet area, deep gorge, good rock layers.
Terrace Creek Falls, DeCew Falls, Rockway Falls, Louth Falls
THE SWAYZE FALLS AREA:
Swayze Falls is located in the Short Hills Provincial Park, near St. Catharines. This is an unregulated provincial park where there are no facilities (except for a toilet at the entrance), and no entrance fee. A 19 km network of hiking, skiing, and snowmobile trails criss-cross each other through various habitats in this 688 ha park.
See the hike section for detailed hiking directions on the marked trails in the park. The park is important as it protects significant Niagara Escarpment features along with the Carolinian forest that is a home to wildlife. Animals living here include white-tailed deer, coyote, and wild turkey. Paw Paw and sweet chestnut trees are among the southern plants.
The landscape in the Short Hills is unlike other areas in Niagara. It has been moulded into a large number of small but steep hills and valleys by the last ice age. Sedimentary deposits and glacial till once filled this valley, until Twelve Mile Creek made its way through, forming the "Short Hills." With its varied topography and wildlife, interesting and varied woods and vegetation, along with winding trails, Short Hills is a delightful area for hiking.
The creek watershed is quite small and flows can be very low during drier seasons. Mid-winter and spring melts are typically the best time to visit this falls for photography.
SWAYZE FALLS AREA WALKING TRAILS:
Bruce Trail, Paleozoic Trail, Swayze Trail. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.
The path from the parking lot to the falls is a relatively short and moderately easy walk on a gravel surface. For direct access to the falls, stay to the right at the fork in the gravel path. There is a good viewing platform overlooking the falls and gorge. If you follow the trail to the left of the platform you will connect with a short dirt trail through the forest that will take you to the crest of the waterfall. Use caution here! The drop off is almost 90 degrees and the gorge is deeper than it seems.
If you walk upstream from the crest of the falls, there is an interesting rock creek-bed for 200-300 m upstream. Make an effort not to trample on sensitive aquatic habitat. During dry seasons, there are some isolated pools in the stream bed that may exhibit signs of aquatic life, including fish, crayfish, mollusks, etc.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS ONLY:If you turn right at the viewing platform and follow the path down the lip of the gorge, you can access the gorge bottom. The gorge bottom is moderately easy to access downstream, although there are no trails and you should use caution. You may return to the parking lot by an alternate loop to your right as shown on the trail map.
HIKES VISITING THIS FALLS:
SWAYZE FALLS VIDEO: