• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources

Borer's FallsBorer's Falls

Borer's Falls (Rating=A) is an attractive 15 m high ribbon plunge waterfall with a 9 m crest as Borer's Creek flows over the escarpment. While there is a year-round flow of water, this flow is greatly diminished in the hot dry summer months. This falls is sometimes called Rock Chapel Falls. Incredible ice formations in the winter months make this an ice-climbing destination.


Borer's Falls is located in the Borer's Falls Conservation Area in Dundas (Hamilton) Ontario. Park in the lot with the pay parking machine located off Rock Chapel Road near Clappison's Corners (Hamilton).
Falls Type: ribbon plunge   Falls facing: S
Latitude: N43.29382     Longitude: W79.93677
Height: 15 m    Width: 9 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.


The distance to the observation platform is 450 m on an easy but narrow trail over a dry creek. There is wheelchair access to the Bruce south trail. This is a popular area for dog walkers. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.


Overall Rating: Borers Falls = A

Waterflow: B -seasonal flow from Borer's Creek
Falls Size: A -just makes the 15 m cutoff, medium size
Aesthetics: A -impressive gorge and rock strata, scenic setting, but viewpoints can be overgrown.

Nearby Falls

Webster's Falls, Tews Falls, Grindstone Creek Falls, Sherman Falls

  TRAILMAP trailmap
   ROADMAP road
   LOCATOR hamilton region waterfalls


borers-fallsThe crest of Borer's FallsThis area supports a number of important species including the largest single population in Canada of Red Mulberry which is an endangered tree species. Eastern white cedar also grow along the cliff edge. The layered nature of sedimentary rocks 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.


Bruce Trail, Armstrong ST, Ray Lowes ST, informal trails. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

The waterfall is not visible from the parking lot but it's only a 5 minute walk to a viewing area. From the parking lot, an informal trail heads north back to the bridge on Rock Chapel Road over Borer’s Creek. Be careful as cars are known to whiz around the curve in the road. From the bridge you can get a great view of the water flowing over the crest of the falls along with a fantastic view of the gorge area that runs down into the conservation area and out to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). After crossing Borer’s Creek over the bridge, the trail turns sharply right and follows along the edge of the gorge. Soon a viewing area between two stone pillars gives a good view of the Falls, although an over-abundance of vegetation can partially block the view at times of the year. Some judicious pruning would be in order here.

f you wish to go further past the viewing area, the white-blazed main Bruce Trail continues along the escarpment edge affording numerous lookout points. Where the trail curves around the escarpment you will find a welcome bench for a rest or to enjoy the view down into the conservation area. The view is to the west end of Cootes Paradise with downtown Hamilton to the left and Dundas to the right. Looking towards the field on your left, a kestrel nesting box can be seen in a cultivated field. As you continue along the trail, again Cootes Paradise and the City of Hamilton come into view from lookout points. Soon the trail makes a sharp turn right and descends down the steep escarpment. Fortunately we do not need to go down this slope but I'd suggest turning back along an alternate unmarked path along the edge of the cultivated fields. This path rejoins the main trail and takes you back to the parking lot.

From the parking lot head south along the trails through an open regeneration field keeping away from the tree line and to yourborers_102_0269_23Borer's Falls in winter right. Eventually the trail does curve into the tree line and meets the main Bruce Trail. Turn left onto the trail and walk through the maple and oak forest. Look left to examine the maple sugar shack that supposedly contains an impressive display of the syrup making process. However, I have never seen this open. It is reported in some current Toronto hiking books that each year in March, when the sap begins to run with warmer sunny days and cool evenings, the staff of the RBG taps a number of trees in this sugar bush. A tasty pancake and maple sugar breakfast is served here each Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. However a few locals have told me that this has not been done for years and years and there was no evidence of such a breakfast on a very warm sunny day after a long cold winter (March 16 ,2003). Across from the sugar shack is another fine area to view the City of Hamilton and the Burlington Skyway. Leave this wooden viewing platform and turn right following the main trail again. Soon you will come to the Armstrong Side Trail on your right. Keep to the right on this trail and ignore the paths leading in other directions. The trail leads to an impressive geology display that allows you to get a close view of the different layers (strata) that make up the escarpment. Display boards explain how each layer was created by ancient seas and glacier action. Climb up the metal stairs to the top of the display and follow the blue blazes back to the main trail. Walk past the sugar shack again and continue back to the parking lot.


warningIt is possible to reach the base of the falls, but this is not an easy task and there is no recognizable trail. You would need to descend the Bruce Trail on the north side of the falls to where it meets the Ray Lowes side trail and follow this side trail to the creek. At this point you would need to walk upstream to the falls. This is a very difficult challenging walk as there is no trail and you will have to scramble over numerous steep hills, logs, rocks and large boulders to reach the base of the falls in about an hour. Not recommended unless you are very adventurous and fit. On the way there, you would pass Lower Borer's Falls which is a complex curtain cascade 3 m high and 5 m wide located about 200 m downstream for Borer's Falls. Keep an eye out for poison ivy in the area.


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