Natural Habitats & Features
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DeCew Falls (Waterfalls)
The western stretch of DeCew Road in St Catharines is the perfect place for waterfall lovers to go and explore. It is home to two main waterfalls - Upper DeCew falls, a large 22 metre plunge waterfall, and Lower DeCew Falls, a smaller 25 foot steep cascade waterfall in a more wild and remote setting. With its picturesque surroundings including Morningstar Mill (a restored water-powered mill) and the Bruce Trail, it is a great place to go and spend an afternoon.
Upper DeCew Falls is a pretty plunge waterfall, 22 metres high and 5 to 6 metres wide, with water flowing from the upper reaches of the Twelve Mile Creek. It can be viewed from above next to the Morningstar Mill, with the area around the falls protected by a chain fence for your safety, making it suitable for children and the elderly to visit.
At the bottom of the gorge it is also possible to see Lower DeCew Falls. This waterfall is in a more remote setting and is 8 metres in height. It is a steep cascade waterfall with its drop being broken into a series of steps causing the water to cascade down. It is also possible to view the Tunnel Falls from here, a manmade waterfall from the DeCew Falls Generating Station where tunnels have been dug through softer layers of the escarpment, creating a flat ceiling and floor made up of harder layers above and below.
WARNING: The gorge is extremely steep and therefore great caution must be taken. The waterfall can be viewed safely from the top. When hiking in the area, travel in pairs rather than alone, and always stick to the trail. An accidental fall may result in serious injury or death. Be wary that the area around the falls may be slippery and wet. Also be aware of falling rocks from above.
TripClip Audio File
Click to play or download DeCew Falls TripClip (mp3 format).
This destination is also part of the TripClip tour 'Touring the Twelve.'
Click to play or download Waterfall Tour - DeCew Falls Community TripClip (mp3 format).
This destination is also part of the Community TripClip tour Niagara Greenbelt Waterfalls Tour, submitted by Rachel Marsh and Julie King.
Open Year-Round 8:00 am - Dusk
From Toronto: QEW exit 49 to Highway 406 and drive approximately 2.9km
Exit on 4th Louth Avenue/Fourth Avenue
Left (south) on Louth Street and drive approximately 3.1km
Right (west) on Pelham Road and drive about 2km
Left (south) on 1st Louth Street and drive about 0.9km
Continue onto DeCew Road and drive about 0.9km
Left (north) into the Mill's little parking lot beside the Beaverdams Creek mill pond.
The waterfalls formed after the creation of the Niagara Escarpment 450 million years ago. Sediments from a tropical sea bed compressed into the limestone and shale that comprise the Escarpment. Through progressive glacial action, water flow and the elements, the rocks began to weather causing dramatic land formations such as DeCew Falls and the gorge.
As well as natural formations, artificial waterfalls have also been created such as the Tunnel Falls. This was created for the DeCew Falls Generating Station No. 1, which was built in 1898 with the aim of generating power for the region. It is the oldest running plant in the Niagara Region. Tunnels have been dug through softer layers of the escarpment, creating a flat ceiling and floor made up of harder layers above and below.
Hike along the Bruce Trail next to Decew Falls and you may be lucky enough to spot a white- tailed deer. Follow the trail westward into Short Hills Provincial Park - a Carolinian forest where more waterfalls can be viewed including Swayze Falls - a dry falls.
The Niagara Escarpment is home to over 1500 species of vascular plants, with the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) , Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) and green dragon (Arisaema dracontium, a close relative of the Jack-in-the-pulpit) found in the area. White Cedars (Thuja occidentalis) are also commonly found, along with a number of mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Whilst visiting DeCew Falls, make the most of the Bruce Trail, which is a perfect hiking spot. The trail offers great views of the edge of the Escarpment, as well as a chance to see the DeCew Hydroelectric Power Stations (Number 1 and Number 2) at the bottom of the Escarpment.
Visitors to DeCew Falls can walk, hike or jog along the Bruce Trail. You can also pay a visit to Morningstar Mill, which is located next to the Falls.
DeCew House down the road and to the east
St Catharines Water Filtration Plant