Cascade Falls in September 2014
I couldn’t remember Cascade Falls right away, but once I saw a picture, it began to come back very quickly. I remembered passing by Cascade Falls as I went west through Banff, and yet I didn’t stop. I’m not really sure why…it may have been that I had passed the exit near the falls. So on the way back, I remember seeing it out of the corner of my eye, and I quickly exited the Trans-Canadian Highway and found that there were indeed places where I could pull off and take photos of the falls.
At approximately 1000′ in height, I didn’t feel any need to get closer to the falls. After doing a bit of research, it appears there is a path that will get you closer to the falls. In winter, there are even people that do ice climbing on the falls. In early September, the ice climbing obviously wasn’t an option! And earlier in the year, you’re likely to find more water flowing, which might make hiking to the base a bit more worthwhile. I was honestly just happy to be able to stop and photograph the falls, as there are other instances where cool waterfalls of this sort aren’t so easily captured since there’s no nice place to pull off.
- This is a very easy one to find as it’s right off of Trans-Canadian Highway 1. As you’re heading into Banff, take the exit for Banff/ Minnewanka Loop/ Boucle Minnewanka. From there, head north along Range Road 115B.
- After just a few hundred feet, find a place to pull off and photograph the falls, which will be to your left. If you’re interested in hiking to the base, you’ll have to look for further directions. It sounds like there’s an easy to find trail nearby.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Hike: roadside, though hike possible
Where in the World is Cascade Falls?
Third Vault Falls in May 2016
In addition to finding waterfalls in Nova Scotia, I went looking for waterfalls in New Brunswick. I had a generally easier time finding these waterfalls since there is a Waterfalls of New Brunswick website (and accompanying book). I chose to head to Fundy National Park (which isn’t terribly far from Moncton, where I was staying) to find these falls. The first waterfall I went looking for was Third Vault Falls.
This was a strategic decision on my part. The book and Fundy National Park’s website both list the hike Third Vault Falls as a moderate to strenuous hike. I usually prefer to do those hikes first so that I haven’t already walked some insane distance before getting to another insane hike. I appreciate that they listed it as this difficulty level because some of my least favorite hikes have been due to perception (“It’s an easy hike” when it’s actually not…).
The reason this hike is more strenuous is due to the last 20%. The first 80% of the hike is surprisingly on flat ground. The last 20% is a steep downhill trek on the way to the falls, and a steep uphill climb on the way back! In addition to being a steep downhill trek, the final 5% involves walking on the edge of the river at times. The wet rocks can be very slippery, so wear appropriate shoes! They have done a pretty good job of placing stairs in places where it might become a bit treacherous. I was overall impressed with the hike, even though I was worn out after arriving back at the car!
There are two ways to view the falls. The view you see in my photo is from what is probably the safer perspective, which is by heading right toward the sign that says end of the trail. There are trees that may block the top of the falls, and this could be problematic when they they are in full bloom. If instead of crossing the stream and heading toward the sign I mentioned, you head to the left on a faint trail that climbs uphill, you’ll find the other option that gets you closer to the falls. This one seems a bit more dangerous to do, though I still think it’s manageable. I decided against this because my current shoes don’t seem to grip slippery rocks very well. (Always use common sense…don’t do something just because someone else said it might be possible.)
- Enter Fundy National Park along NB-114. It’s the only road that enters the park from both the northwest and southeast.
- Pay the entrance fee (which was approximately $8 CAD per person).
- Drive to Laverty Road. I was headed northwest, and Laverty Road was to my right.
- Turn right onto Laverty Road and drive about 1 km to the parking area and trail head for Third Vault Falls.
- Start the journey to the falls. (Bring water and some snacks.)
Accessibility: 3/10 (moderate/difficult)
Hike: ~4.5 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Third Vault Falls?
Wentworth Falls in May 2016
I’ve had the chance to explore Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for a few days. I found a few waterfalls in Truro, Nova Scotia on the day I arrived, but I’m going to post about Wentworth Falls because the directions I had were a bit fuzzy.
It ends up there are a lot of waterfalls in Nova Scotia. Check out The Nova Scotia Waterfalls Blog for far more waterfalls than I was able to visit in the short time I was in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is approximately 350 miles in length, and driving across it is longer still. So that means you’re unlikely to be able to stop at the many falls unless you have a while to explore. I ended up visiting three waterfalls in two locations, and could possibly have visited more. It seems, though, that waterfalls in Nova Scotia are a bit less developed than you might expect (and in some ways that’s ok). I read of many falls that required ropes to climb down to the base, and I didn’t want to risk that being by myself. Other falls didn’t have very clear directions so this made locating them more of a struggle.
Wentworth Falls is a good example of this. It’s actually a very easy waterfall to get to once you find where to go! Directions had mentioned hostels, which were a few miles north, throwing me off. The hotel near the falls may have been renamed a few times, and was definitely closed. Luckily, I followed my instinct when I saw a truck and trailer parked across the road from the beginning of the trail, and parked in front of the trailhead (though I wasn’t sure I was at the trailhead at the time). Check my directions below to see where to park.
Once you park, the hike is wildly short and easy to manage. Even little kids should have no problem, since we’re talking about 0.1 miles one-way at most. And if there weren’t swarms of mosquitoes there when I visited, I would say it would be a fun place to frolic in the water (unless that’s frowned upon 🙂 ).
- Head south along NS-4 through the town of Wentworth. Along the way, you will pass Ski Wentworth on your left. Keep going a bit. You will come to an old (and at this time abandoned) hotel/motel on your right.
- Some directions say to stop at the hotel, but I just kept driving for a few hundred yards/meters. I pulled off on the side of the road in front of a trail that had five or six large rocks blocking the trail in between pine trees. (These rocks are just meant to prevent you from driving up.)
- I walked past the rocks and up the clear trail to the falls. (If you had parked at the closed hotel, you can walk a few hundred yards/meters south of the hotel along NS-4 and you’ll find other trails that also lead to the falls.)
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Hike: ~0.2 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Wentworth Falls?
Lower Ball’s Falls in July 2015
I live in Michigan, and this past weekend drove to Niagara Falls. You may not necessarily realize it, but along the way, there are a significant number of other waterfalls, especially in the Hamilton area. Now, none of them are even remotely as big as Niagara Falls, but they are nowhere near as busy. If you’re looking for a peaceful, relaxing waterfall, then one of these might be more of your cup of tea.
I only stopped at one waterfall, Lower Ball’s Falls, along my way. There is also an Upper Ball’s Falls, but it required a hike, and was on a tight schedule. (It isn’t a long hike, though.) The hike to Lower Ball’s Falls seemed much shorter than the advertised distance, even accounting for the conversion from kilometers to miles. The actual trail may be more extensive, leading to a longer listed hiking length.
Obviously, it is better to visit waterfalls in Spring and early Summer because of the higher water flow, but in this case, there may be another reason too. The water was actually flowing fairly well for mid-July…But the trees and greenery were in full bloom. This made it rather difficult to see the whole falls. In the spring, before any leaves and plants are out, you’ll likely be able to see the whole falls better.
- From the QEW, take exit 57 heading south onto Victoria Rd.
- Pass ON-81 and ON-73. Shortly after passing ON-73, you’ll see Sixth Avenue to your left (assuming you’re headed south).
- Turn left onto Sixth Avenue. Drive a short distance to the entrance (at 3292 Sixth Avenue), where you’ll find Ball’s Falls Centre. Park here. There is a $5 per person entrance fee. (There is another parking area that seemed to be “reserved” for certain situations…at least that’s what a sign said. There was a wedding being held there that day.)
- Follow the signs to Lower or Upper Ball’s Falls. It was relatively straight-forward.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.6 miles round trip
Where in the World is Lower Ball’s Falls?
Silverton Falls in late August 2014
I’m in Canada and visiting Banff and Yoho National Parks this weekend. It’s Labour Day weekend here in Canada, so it’s a popular weekend to visit the parks. I started by going to Johnston Canyon, which I’ll post about some other time, and it was insanely busy. 100+ cars were parked on the roads outside of the regular parking area, and I probably passed 200-300 people along my 1.5 mile (one way journey).
So it was a nice surprise to find another trail that was much calmer. If you visit Banff National Park during the summer, and you feel like you need a break from the crowd, Silverton Falls is the right place for you. I passed maybe 10 people the whole time. And while it’s not advertised very well, Silverton Falls is a very pretty waterfall. It’s a pretty short hike also, though on the second half of the hike, it does climb up switchbacks. At 150’+, it’s also a pretty impressive waterfall. The are two main drops, and one smaller drop at the top.
Now getting to the falls isn’t really difficult, but there’s one piece you need to pay attention to. The sharp left turn isn’t extremely obvious when you’re hiking in, but on the way back, it became much clearer. Check the directions below.
- From Trans-Canada Highway 1, exit at the junction of AB-93 South/AB-1A.
- Turn right to head toward Alberta-1A, the Bow Valley Parkway.
- Take another right onto the Bow Valley Parkway heading east.
- After maybe 500 feet or so (a VERY short distance), you’ll see a sign for the Rock Bound Lake Trail. Turn left into this parking area for the trail.
- Start along the trail. I’ve seen directions that indicated it is an unsigned trail, but the trail is now marked for Silverton Falls. It’s only about 0.6 miles (0.9 km) one way.
- After a few hundred feet, you should see a sign indicating to take the right path to Silverton Falls. If you have any doubt, it’s easy just to stay close to the creek that’s to the right of the parking area.
- After maybe 0.3-0.4 miles, pay attention for a fork that veers sharply left. It’s a 90 degree turn. You’re going to want to take this turn.
- You’ll start climbing up switchbacks along this trail. It’s a short distance along these switchbacks, though they are steep. It could be very easy to slip along the trail, so exercise caution as you approach the falls.
- The falls just appear! Again, exercise caution. There might be a way to get close to the falls, but I really felt like it wasn’t the best idea. You can get a pretty good view of the falls from about halfway between the base and crest.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Silverton Falls?
Keefer Falls in October 2010
This one needs a disclaimer: Keefer Falls is on private property. Don’t visit it.
Alrighty? A little under 4 years ago, my dad and I visited Keefer Falls, one of the many waterfalls in the Owen Sound area. The book I was using, “Waterfalls of Ontario” by Mark Harris, had updates that a few waterfalls were now on private land, but Keefer Falls wasn’t one of them at that time. We got to the area where Keefer Falls was, and there were no private property signs that I can remember, so we found the falls, went to the base, and then wandered back to our car. Along the way, we found remnants of old homesteads and farming equipment.
It wasn’t until researching later that I found out that Keefer Falls was on private property. Whether that was a recent occurrence or not, I don’t know. Keefer Falls is a pretty 25′ waterfall, and yet you and I shouldn’t visit it. It’s just that simple. If you’re desperate for other waterfalls, check out Indian Falls, Jones Falls, Weaver’s Creek Falls, Inglis Falls, or Walters Falls, all of which are within driving distance.
Directions: It’s on private property.
Accessibility: It’s on private property. (0/10)
Length of Hike: Who Knows?
Where in the World is Keefer Falls?: It’s in Ontario.
Shannon Falls in August 2010
Shannon Falls just goes to show how deceiving waterfalls can be. Looking at pictures of the falls, it doesn’t look like an extremely tall waterfall, and yet Shannon Falls is actually one of the tallest waterfalls in British Columbia. At approximately 820′ tall, it’s a wildly impressive waterfall. Only when you’re standing near it do you begin to realize how small you are compared to this falls.
It’s a complex waterfall, and because of that, it can be somewhat difficult to photograph the whole falls. That is what likely makes it seem “shorter.” The lower portion of the falls is completely lost from view in the picture to the right. To get a better view of the lower portion of the falls, you sacrifice views of the upper portion. There are multiple different places to view the falls. A number of paths form what seemed like a loop that leads away from the falls and then comes back around near the base. The base of the falls allows for some exploring. Wedding photography was taking place near the falls when I visited, and I can’t deny that it was a really spectacular place to visit.
- I want to say that this is a pretty hard waterfall to miss, though you might only be able to see it from BC-99 at certain angles. That doesn’t change the fact that it is found right off of BC-99, approximately 58 km from Vancouver. If you’re headed to Whistler, you’ll be passing by! Heading north, the parking area for the falls will be on the right. There is a $1 entrance fee for 1 hour (if I remember correctly), which was more than enough time to visit the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip (to viewpoint)
Where in the World is Shannon Falls?
There are a number of waterfalls in Grey County, Ontario near Owen Sound. One of the more widely visited falls is Eugenia Falls. But there’s another waterfall very close by: Hogg’s Falls.
While not as tall as Eugenia Falls, I found it to be more interesting in a number of ways. First off, it wasn’t nearly as crowded. There were a few others along the trail, but not enough to make it seem crazy. There was also more water flowing over it (though Eugenia Falls seemed to be at very low flow). Even the scenery around the falls was beautiful. I visited the falls in fall when the colors were changing, and the colors around the falls really just popped!
- From the intersection of Highway 4 and Grey County Road 13, head west on Highway 4 for a short distance.
- After that short distance, turn right onto East Back Line Road.
- After another short distance, turn right onto Lower Valley Road.
- Head to the parking area on the right along Lower Valley Road. The trail is across the road on the left. It’s a short distance to the falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate, though a bit fuzzy)
Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip
Hoggs Falls in October 2010
Where in the World is Hoggs Falls?
I should first of all say that I’m not really sure what to call this waterfall. I believe it is on the Current River that flows through Thunder Bay. Trowbridge Falls seems to be on the same river, though I feel that specific portion may be further upstream. This drop is downstream from the Boulevard Lake Dam, so I could even imagine it being called Boulevard Lake Falls.
Whatever its name, it doesn’t matter significantly. It is not the tallest or most impressive waterfall in the region, but it is probably one of the easiest to find if you are visiting Thunder Bay for a day. It is in the downtown area, and you may pass it by without noticing. There is a dam upstream, which might make you think twice before stopping, but this does seem to be a natural drop. The area does have a somewhat less private feel, as there are numerous buildings to the north of the falls.
- As you’re driving through Thunder Bay, take Highway 17B. (This is worthwhile no matter what because it follows the lake shoreline.)
- The name along the road changes several times. As you’re heading north, it changes from Water Street to Cumberland Street. You will find the falls along the stretch that is Cumberland Street.
- Just before the road turns into Hodder Avenue, Highway 17B crosses over the Current River, and if you look to the left (if heading north), you will see a park next to the river, with the dam in view. You can stop there and walk the short distance to the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: roadside
Current River Falls in April 2012
Where in the World is Current River Falls?
McDonald Falls in August 2010
About 2 hours outside of downtown Vancouver, you can find Cascade Falls Regional Park. For mid-August, this park was relatively popular, though it does take some time to get to. The drive is really beautiful, though. If you’re looking for another waterfall that is relatively easy to visit, and yet has far fewer visitors, search for McDonald Falls. It’s only 2 miles or so from Cascade Falls.
After following the directions below, you’ll end up very close to the falls. You will have to hike downhill, and if I recall, there wasn’t an extremely clear, defined path. It was still not that difficult. I think there may have been two separate drops, and one of the drops was partially blocked by trees next to the creek. The other drop was far more visible. The photo next door may look different than what you experience, at least somewhat…I had a 55-200 mm lens that made it far more difficult to photograph the whole falls, and I had no wish to hike back up the hill, get the other lens, and repeat the process over again! It does require some effort!
- If you’re coming from Transcanadian Highway 1, you’ll want to exit toward Mission onto BC-7.
- Drive east of Mission on BC-7 for about 6.5 km to Sylvester Rd.
- Turn left on Sylvester Rd. Head 13 km down Sylvester Rd.
- After a distance, you’ll see a sign for Cascade Falls. Keep heading down that road a short distance, where Lost Creek Forest Service Road starts. It’s a dirt road, so it’s pretty difficult to miss. McDonald Falls is about 1.3 miles down that road past the bridge over Munro Creek.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip
Where in the World is McDonald Falls?