• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources

Grindstone (Great) FallsGrindstone (Great) Falls

Grindstone Creek (Great) Falls (Rating=A) is an attractive terraced ribbon falls 6 m high with a crest of 4.5 m carrying the water of Grindstone Creek over the escarpment.


The Great Falls is located on the Grindstone Creek in the Waterdown section of Hamilton just off Mill Street. There is a free parking lot at the site.
Falls Type: terraced ribbon   Falls facing: S
Falls Latitude: N43.33044    Longitude: W79.88708
Height: 6 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.


The falls is nearby (50 m). It is wheelchair accessible along the side. The observation platform has steps and provides a good view. Click on the Trail Map button below for area walking trails.


Overall Rating: Grindstone Creek Falls = A

Waterflow: A -year round flow of Grindstone Creek
Falls Size: B - < 15 m
Aesthetics: A -nice shape, good rock formation, scenic area, nice view into the gorge, park setting

Nearby Falls

Borer's falls, Tews Falls, Webster's Falls, Tiffany Falls

  TRAILMAP trailmap
   ROADMAP road
   LOCATOR hamilton region waterfalls


grindstone-fallsView from the crest at Grindstone FallsSmokey Hollow Park is located off Mill Street in Waterdown. Great Falls is also known as Grindstone Falls and is a few steps from the parking lot.

The area around the falls is known as Smokey Hollow which was once heavily industrial. Soot and air pollution were a sign of a prosperous community at the time. Grindstone Creek was a source of power for a sawmill at the base of Great Falls. Other mills were also located nearby over the years.

However by 1912 the mills had all shut down. A big fire had ended the life of the last mill but the railroad deciding to bypass the town was the final blow. There is almost nothing left to show what was once there -all of the mill building stone was pilfered for other uses.

From the time of the mills, the base flow in the creek has declined over the years due to development of the watershed lands. Still, Grindstone Creek provides some 14% of the total flow of water into Hamilton Harbour. A restoration and beautification program begun by local Waterdown residents resulted in a small pleasant park. An observation platform provides a wonderful view of the falls as well as interpretive information on the falls and local history.


Bruce Trail, Smokey Hollow Access Trail, Waterdown Road Side Trail, McNally Side Trail, Waterdown Woods Side Trail (unmarked). For a map of area trails, click on the Trail Map icon above.

grindstone-creek-rapidsThe rapids below the fallsAfter viewing the falls you can head left along the Bruce Trail heading downstream to the rapids. There is a wooden staircase to aid your descent. The rapids are impressive and strewn with large boulders but it's a nice walk down to the Bridge over the creek and back for a 4 km walk.

Another nice walk is possible due to the opening of a new side trail in 2009 to make a loop with the Waterdown Road Side trail, the McNally Side Trail, and the Bruce Trail. However this features a steep climb or descent by switchbacks depending on the direction of your route. The loop is about 3.2 km in length. The trail map shows other trails that you can use to make longer loops or to connect trails or you can combine the two route suggestions above.


warningThe staircase takes you down half the way to the base of the falls. From there you will notice the slope of the gorge moderates and it is not too difficult to angle down the rest of the way to the rocky base. You will see many people do this to get photos. You can make your way very close to the base along the rapids.


L33F Grindstone Creek to Waterdown Woods


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