Current River Falls, Ontario

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.

Directions:

  1. As you’re driving through Thunder Bay, take Highway 17B. (This is worthwhile no matter what because it follows the lake shoreline.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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
Height: ~30′

Current River Falls in April 2012

Where in the World is Current River Falls?

Rainbow Falls, Ontario

I took a short weekend trip to Thunder Bay at the end of April, and one of my goals was to try and hit a number of waterfalls along the Trans-Canada Highway. Many of the interesting waterfalls are found along or near the main highway. Rainbow Falls is some distance west of the Schreiber/Terrace Bay area, and on my initial journey east, I actually passed the park the falls are located in, Rainbow Falls Provincial Park. The signs seemed to indicate that it was a campground entrance, but in reality it was the entrance to the park.

It ended up that I turned and started driving back west the same day. I then turned into the signs I had originally passed. Since it was the end of April, the park was actually “closed”, to my surprise. You could turn onto the main road in the park, and park your car in a small area near the main gate…But the gate was actually closed to prevent anyone from driving further into the park.

In this case, I just decided to start hiking along the main road. Normally, you would be able to drive down this road, and get much closer to the falls. The hike along the main road doesn’t add a considerable amount of time to your journey, and it is relatively enjoyable. Once you get to the parking area designated for the falls, you can begin exploring. There are numerous parts to the falls, though the whole set of drops cannot be photographed easily.

Stairs lead you up and down near the falls. This is very nice, but may also limit your ability to explore portions of the falls. In late April, this specific falls seemed to be flowing pretty well, and so that may have been a very good thing that visitors were unable to deviate. The falls are interesting, but in the end, you may be frustrated by the inability to capture the “whole” falls, or really the complexity of the falls.

Directions:

  1. The falls are relatively easy to find, as they are right off of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 17). They are not too far west of Schreiber, which is a small town. They are a more significant drive from Thunder Bay.
  2. If you are headed west on the Trans-Canada Highway, the entrance to the park will be on your right. As I said, I think the sign also indicates a campground.
  3. Depending on the time of year, the gate to the road leading closer to the falls may or may not be open. There may be a fee to enter, though there was no gate attendant and I don’t remember there being a self-pay station.

(Note:  I support state and provincial parks, and have no problem paying for entry into parks. Ontario, though, often does not have gate agents, and instead has self-pay kiosks. Entry into many of the parks in Ontario is at least $5.50 for an hour or two, and the kiosks I’ve visited only accept coins…Therefore, plan on bringing a lot of change! It’s a slight annoyance, I guess.)

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, stairs!)
Height: ~80′ (don’t quote me on this one)
Hike: 1 mile round-trip (approximately, depends on how far you go along trails)

The lower portion of Rainbow Falls in April 2012, with some barely-visible portions of the falls.

The uppermost portion of the falls.

Where in the World is Rainbow Falls?