Albion Falls was probably one of the prettiest (if not THE prettiest) waterfalls we encountered while waterfalling in and around the City of Hamilton. Ever since someone contributed a photo of this falls on our Facebook page, we eagerly anticipated a visit to this two-tiered waterfall and we weren’t disappointed! It looked to us to be impressively large though the literature seemed to have proclaimed that the falls was about a modest 19m in height and 18m wide. The falls also had plenty of character with its rippling texture over its cascading drop as well as a nice flow even as late as our October 2013 visit (suggesting it should have year-round flow). Indeed, I had spent plenty of time taking photographs of this falls and I still had the urge to spend even more time to take more photos. Add it all up and this could very well have been our favorite waterfall in the Hamilton area.
The photo you see at the top of this page was taken from its base. However, during our visit, it appeared that the trail to get there had been closed since August 2013. Yet that didn’t stop hundreds of people from crossing Mud St then finding ways to go past the barricade to continue down the steps and scramble down the somewhat steep and slippery escarpment slopes to make it to the best seat in the house so-to-speak. How long this access will persist will remain an uncertainty I’m sure, but the high scenic rating we’ve given this waterfall was largely based on our experiences from getting down to its base.
All along the descent, there were intermediate views where I was able to see the falls at more profile angles (even seeing some people taking risks by scramble along the uppermost tier of the falls). There were also attractive frontal views from ledges and openings before finally getting down to the bottom to join the many people enjoying themselves around the plunge pool or taking numerous long exposure tripod shots. The final section of the descent was definitely a bit steep and slippery, but with adequate footwear and a healthy respect for the hazards, I thought it wasn’t bad at all. And for so many people to disregard the closure notice to get down here, I’d imagine the closure was largely driven by the fear of erosion, which made me wonder if they’d be better off building steps to minimize the erosion.
In any case, the base of Albion Falls wasn’t the only way to experience the waterfall. We also did a more sanctioned way of crossing Mud Street, then walking over the bridge crossing Red Hill Creek towards another car park on the opposite side of the creek. There were viewing platforms there to take a more distant view of Albion Falls though it was a little on the disappointing side due to the overgrowth and lack of intimacy with the falls.
A third way to see the falls involved following the Bruce Trail to the right of the stairs leading to the base. I followed this trail around the gorge until I noticed a spur trail to the left leading towards a guard rail as well as an open ledge where I was able to get a frontal birds-eye view of Albion Falls from across the gorge containing the falls. I had to be careful not to get too close to the edge of this ledge considering it was a sheer drop below. But if the trail closure to its base started to be enforced, then I would recommend seeing the falls from this spot as the next best alternative.
All in all, I had spent nearly 90 minutes at the falls. The hiking was short (possibly less than five minutes or so to get to its base slowly) or less than 2 minutes to get to the alternate overlooks. So most of my time spent here was really for enjoying the waterfall, and that further enhanced the experience. See the rest of the photos and videos on this page to get a better sense beauty of Albion Falls. Words could only say so much.
From downtown Hamilton, take Main Street East to Wellington Street and turn right (to go south). Follow Wellington Street onto the Claremont Access, and follow the Claremont Access for about 2km, which would then become Upper James St. Continue south on Upper James St for 3km towards the Lincoln M Alexander Parkway East. Then follow the Lincoln M Alexander Parkway East for about 5.6km towards the exit for Dartnall Rd. Take the exit, then turn left onto Stone Church Rd, turn left Pritchard Rd after about 850m, turn left onto Albion Rd after 750m, and finally drive 350m on Mud St towards Arbour Rd. Turn left onto Arbour Rd where one of the main car parks was on the right.
There was also more parking further along Mud St on the right side a short distance after the bridge over Red Hill Creek (above Albion Falls). That appeared to be the more “official” car park as it was closer to the distant overlooks that it seemed the authorities wanted you to go to (instead of the base of the falls).
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