• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources

Cataract FallsCataract Falls

Cataract Falls (Rating=B) is a cascade plunge waterfalls with a crest of 9m that plunges 13 m to the gorge below as the water of the Credit River falls over the escarpment.


Cataract Falls is in the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park which is located on McLaren Road, south of Hwy. 124 about 24 kilometres northwest of Brampton between Brimstone and Cataract. Take Charleston Sideroad from Caledon, then go south on McLaren Road.
Falls Type: cascade plunge   Falls facing: SW
Latitude: N43.82131    Longitude: W80.02238
Height: 13 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.


Difficult with a bit of a hike and steps to climb/descend from the pay parking lot. Not wheelchair accessible. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.


Overall Rating: Cataract Falls = B

Waterflow: A -year-round flow of Credit River except in the hottest and driest of summers.
Falls Size: B - < 15 m
Aesthetics: B -impressive fast flowing water, nice observation platform but difficult angle to see the falls with erosion making it impossible to get closer.

Nearby Falls

Elora Gorge Falls, Hilton Falls

   ROADMAP road
   LOCATOR central region waterfalls


cataract-fallsCataract Falls is where the Credit River spills 21 metres over an edge of the mighty Niagara Escarpment. The Credit River was so-named by 17th-century French traders because they would pay the natives for furs a full season in advance.

The "plunge-class" waterfall, also known as Churches Falls, is now part of Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. There's a signed trail to a large viewing platform over the gorge. Below the gorge sit the ruins of an old power plant.

Above and below the falls, the gorge walls have been reinforced with concrete. Above the falls is the Village of Cataract which was booming in the late 1800s thanks to three quarries employing 400 men to extract stone that was used in several noteworthy structures, including Toronto's Casa Loma, old City Hall, the Provincial Legislature at Queen's Park and some of the buildings of the University of Toronto.

The steep hills in this area are the remnants of gravel deposits (“till”) left behind by the glaciers as they melted away from this area more than 10,000 years ago. Established in 1855, the Village of Cataract had a grist mill, woollen mill, sawmill, broom factory, barrel plant, a brewery and two hotels. One of the hotels is still in business as the Cataract Inn.

For a very small village, there are a lot of No Parking signs in view today.


Bruce Trail, Meadow Trail, Alton ST, Brimstone ST, The Quarryman's ST, Kettle Trail. For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

cataract-fallsLooking down from the crestFrom the Forks parking lot you can head to the right on Meadow Trial passing around Kettle Lake through some open undulating glacial meadows. Formed of glacial till, these small hills allow great views all around the area. The trail eventually leads to the main Bruce Trail where you have the option of one of several side trails as shown in the Trail Map. To view the falls, head to the right (northwest) along the Bruce Trail which traces the top of the Credit River valley. The drop to the valley floor is quite steep in places along the trail but the scenery and cedar bush is interesting to view. Soon you will hear the thunder of the Falls and steps lead a long way down to a bridge where the first of two sets of impressive waterfalls can be seen.

The town of Cataract lies above the falls on the other side of the train tracks on the opposite side of the river valley and there is an access trail to the town. The Bruce Trail now continues southeast along the bottom of the valley alongside the river, passing the ruins of an ancient power station, and leading to another great lookout. There is an observation area with a bench and a plaque detailing the history of the gorge area. The views of the 13 m waterfall below are somewhat obstructed but the sheer drop of the grey sandstone and shale walls across the river is incredible to see. The Bruce Trail continues beside the river bank past grassy meadows and good places for a picnic lunch. There are toilets nearby. The trail reaches the Quarryman's Side Trail which connects from the river to the valley rim above. From here you can take the Meadow Trail back to the parking lot or try the alternate Alton Trail for variety. If you wish to walk further, you can skip the Quarryman's Trail and continue ahead to the Brimstone Side Trail which takes you back to the main Bruce Trail and the parking lot. The total distance of this longer walk is 8.7 km.


warningAs far as I know, there is no safe way to descend to the base of the falls anywhere near the falls. Some of the area around the viewing platform is closed off in order to fight erosion of the gorge walls. You are requested to stay out of this area and you should. You would have to walk back downstream some distance to where you could descend to the Credit River and walk back upstream. I'm not sure how far you would get this way as its very rocky and overgrown.


L14F Forks of the Credit Provincial Park


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