For my 30th birthday I was eager to spend the day doing an epic day hike. If I were in Thunder Bay I know exactly where I would have gone. But I’m not and when it comes to the GTA and the great outdoors I’m a little lost so I turned to the facehive of the tinterwebs and got a whole lot of suggestions within an instant.
The majority of my friends were pointing me towards the Hamilton area, famous for it’s 100 waterfalls. I’ve always planned to do some exploring here so I figured that was a good place to start. After a bit of googling I settled on The Spencer Adventure Trail in Dundas.
This trail starts at Christie Lake and runs along the scenic Spencer Creek all the way to Webster Falls and then continues on to Tews Falls and Dundas Peak. Return it should have been 12 beautiful kilometers along the Niagara Escarpment.
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The section between Webster and Tews Falls is on private land and starting this spring, the owners have revoked their permission for hikers to pass through. And I don’t mean they put up “Private Property – Keep Out Signs.” Nope. They build a gigantic wall and then for good measure they surrounded it by a smaller wire fence.
So, instead of the uninterrupted, all day hike I was hoping for we had to turn around at Webster Falls, pick up our car and drive to Tews. It wasn’t such a big deal – we were going to have to return the way we came regardless – but did take away somewhat from that feeling of being away from it all.
Though, to be fair, the entire trek was pretty much right within the township and for a good portion of the Spencer Adventure Trail you’ve got the road just a very short ways away. So it wasn’t exactly as far removed from civilization as I was dreaming for.
Despite, this, the round trip trek between Christie Lake and Webster Falls was still well worth the walk, in my opinion. The route along the river was really gorgeous. The leaves on the trees were just starting to come out and the forget-me-nots and tulips were in full bloom. This, paired with the gorgeous, uninterrupted blue skies made for a lovely wander.
Webster Falls was pretty, but you cannot climb down to the base of the falls so getting that money-shot picture was a bit difficult, but I certainly tried my best!
It was Tews Falls though that was real the highlight for me. Just a few metres shorter than it’s famous neighbour, Niagara, this ribbon waterfall dances playfully over the edge and drops to into the impressive bowl-shaped basin below. The creek that it feeds from is not deep (a few feet at best) and we’d just had a ton of rain in the area so I’m guessing it was flowing at full force. Not surprisingly, this particular waterfall tends to dry up sometimes in the summer, so we really lucked out!
I found the plummeting water crashing into the boulders below to be mesmerizing and really enjoyed just taking a few moments here to soak it all in.
The walk to Dundas Peak from the falls runs along the edge of Spencer Canyon and is part of Canada’s famous Bruce Trail. The walk itself is a lovely 3 km return journey, though, I found the peak itself to be a bit underwhelming.
On our way back we took an unauthorized trail and found our own private bit of cliff-side to indulge in a bit of sunbathing as we watch the turkey vultures hunting in the thermals.
After our hike we still had a bit of daytime left before we needed to head back to the city so we took a venture into the township of Dundas – which is an incredibly charming place. I highly recommend a stop here! We found a darling cafe for some much needed refreshments and a piece of birthday carrot cake to round off the day.
All in all it was the perfect way to ring in a new decade.
Thanks for reading!
Please comment with your favourite hiking spots. I’d love to hear your recommendations!