Rocky with some steep climbs and descents along Grindstone Creek.
Free roadside parking
At the Grindstone Creek (Great) Falls
05 Nov 2008
Trail not wheelchair accessible
Return at any point after 004.
The Great Falls
Much of the trail of this hike is along the rushing water of Grindstone Creek as the water tumbles over the Great Falls and rushes down over a rocky creek bed forming numerous rapids in the creek below.
Grindstone Creek 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 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.
Grindstone Creek was once a powerful and pristine waterway that supported a thriving milling industry in Waterdown, filled with fish and wildlife. Entering Lake Ontario at the western tip, the lower creek and marshes provided one of the most significant Lake Ontario fish nurseries and migratory bird stopovers of the region. Over the years, changes to the Grindstone, including dam building, tree cutting, wetland filling, urbanization and introduced species have all contributed to its decline. At its lowest, the Grindstone lacked enough water to fight a 1922 fire that ravaged Waterdown.
However, overall it remains among the higher quality creeks of Lake Ontario, and with some focused stewardship, guided by Halton Conservation Authority's Grindstone Creek Watershed Plan, the creek can be reinvigorated.
Once you descend the large hill near the start of the hike, the trail leads you along the lower edge of the ravine eventually crossing a bridge over Limestone Creek. As you continue along the creek, the slope gradually rises and the creekbed becomes much more rocky as does the trail. Now the water in the creek is rushing down creating a rapids over rocks until eventually you climb up a set of steps to the top of the falls. After that, the hike is esentially flat -except for the big climb up that early hill in the return leg of the hike.