Balls Falls

Jordan, Ontario, Canada

About Balls Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2013-10-12
Date last visited: 2013-10-12

Waterfall Latitude: 43.13444
Waterfall Longitude: -79.38378

Find Nearby Accommodation



Booking.com

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg

Our Balls Falls waterfalling experience could very well have been one of the most unusual and circumstantial visits that we could remember.

After having read the literature in preparation of our upcoming visit, we expected a pretty benign and straightforward self-tour of what should have been a very easy waterfall (or two) to see.

Balls_Falls_066_10122013 - Lower Balls Falls
Lower Balls Falls

Instead, we found ourselves going into what turned out to be a major Thanksgiving weekend festival that was pretty much a throwback to a good old fashioned country fair.

Of course, this strange bit of timing meant our visit to the Balls Falls costed us $6 per adult (it would only cost a small parking fee under normal circumstances).

Strangely enough, given all the build-up in the area, we had a more difficult time finding the waterfalls now that we had to navigate through the maze of tents and displays somewhat obscuring what otherwise would have been obvious trails to take.

So based on our unusual experience, the writeup on this page will probably be atypical and very different from what you can expect on a visit here.

Balls_Falls_006_10122013 - The Balls Falls Festival transformed an otherwise easy waterfall experience into a bit of a confusing waterfalling adventure
The Balls Falls Festival transformed an otherwise easy waterfall experience into a bit of a confusing waterfalling adventure

Nonetheless, we did get to see what turned out to be the Lower Balls Falls from the main viewpoint, and I also managed to get to the base of this 25m waterfall (somewhat) though that wasn’t easy.

As a result, given all the festival commotion, we weren’t able to visit the other waterfall (also known as the Upper Balls Falls) so we can’t say much about what that was like.

How the Balls Falls Visit should have gone

From the main car park for the Lower Balls Falls (see directions below), the main viewing area was a short walk across the bridge then to the left heading downstream along Twenty Mile Creek.

The view from this area was a somewhat angled view where some of the foliage might be in the way depending on where in this typically busy area we were standing (see photo at the top of this page).

Balls_Falls_061_10122013 - View of the Lower Balls Falls from the official lookout
View of the Lower Balls Falls from the official lookout

I’d imagine this would probably be it for a typical visit as most of the falls and the steep gorge were visible from here while the scene was decorated in foliage blooming with Autumn colors.

But given all the festival activities, we didn’t know about this viewing area until much later after I made an attempt to find the way to the base of this waterfall then managed to get lost on the way back out of the gorge.

The difficulty rating also didn’t reflect this scramble to the base of the falls since it ultimately was not necessary.

My Misadventure to the bottom of Lower Balls Falls

For the route to the base of the Lower Balls Falls from the main car park, instead of crossing the bridge, we went straight onto the Bruce Trail on the opposite side of a grassy opening.

Balls_Falls_073_10122013 - It was a very festive atmosphere at the Balls Falls Festival, and it was ultimately where Julie and Tahia retreated to when they realized that my attempt at experiencing Balls Falls itself turned out to be quite the adventure
It was a very festive atmosphere at the Balls Falls Festival, and it was ultimately where Julie and Tahia retreated to when they realized that my attempt at experiencing Balls Falls itself turned out to be quite the adventure

That trail eventually led to a road besides a large agricultural field.

After a few minutes of walking this road, we then saw a more primitive and quiet trail re-entering the bush fronted by trees with white blazes on them.

Those white hashes were in fact markers for the Bruce Trail.

When we realized that this trail was not suitable for our daughter, that was when I went solo while Julie and Tahia went into the festival to do some childrens activities.

After a short stint downhill on the Bruce Trail, I then saw some faint trail junction with some more white hashes on trees.

Balls_Falls_013_10122013 - Looking towards Twenty-Mile Creek, which was the watercourse responsible for both of the Balls Falls
Looking towards Twenty-Mile Creek, which was the watercourse responsible for both of the Balls Falls

However, that detour on the right eventually took me to a very overgrown area where the trail was no longer well-defined.

So when I continued a short distance further on the Bruce Trail, I saw another more obvious path on the right though it wasn’t labeled.

As I followed this trail downhill, I started to notice blue blazes.

Eventually, this trail took me into the base of the gorge, but once again it seemed like the trail disappeared once I reached the bottom.

At that point, I pretty much scrambled alongside the creek.

Balls_Falls_026_10122013 - It didn't take long before my pursuit of the bottom of Lower Balls Falls degenerated into an outright scramble
It didn’t take long before my pursuit of the bottom of Lower Balls Falls degenerated into an outright scramble

The scramble was quite overgrown and rough, and the whole time I was doubting whether I was going the correct way or not.

Eventually, I reached a somewhat satisfactory frontal view of the Lower Balls Falls from its front, but it was so overgrown here that it left more to be desired.

Unfortunately, the scramble got way too rough for me to keep going so I was content with the view before heading back to the Bruce Trail.

In retrospect, I’m sure that if I persisted with the rough scramble, I probably could have improved my views but at what price?

Unfortunately, that was when the scramble to regain the blue-blazed trail eluded me for nearly an hour.

Balls_Falls_038_10122013 - This was as far as I got to the bottom of the Lower Balls Falls after a rather difficult scramble that probably wasn't necessary
This was as far as I got to the bottom of the Lower Balls Falls after a rather difficult scramble that probably wasn’t necessary

The return hike was even more difficult as it took me a very long time to recover the way that I came down.

Eventually after some searching and backtracking, I managed to scramble sideways along a slope until I finally found the blue-blazed trail again.

At that point, it was smooth sailing back to the Balls Falls Festival.

But given my tired and sweaty state along with the fact that it was getting late in the afternoon with a few more waterfalls to see in Hamilton, I decided not to pursue the Upper Balls Falls.

In the end, I feel like this was another one of those waterfalls that we’re due for a return trip to experience it the way it was meant to be done.

Authorities

Balls Falls resides in the Balls Falls Conservation Area near Lincoln in the province of Ontario. It is administered by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Balls_Falls_005_10122013 - The ticket booth and entrance for the Balls Falls Festival, which would typically not be here for the rest of the year
Balls_Falls_007_10122013 - Context of lots of tents of the Balls Falls Festival set up in the normal parking lot for Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_009_10122013 - An interesting-looking church near the Balls Falls viewing area
Balls_Falls_017_10122013 - The narrow Bruce Trail as it was headed towards the agricultural field in pursuit of an improved view of the Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_019_10122013 - Walking along the road next to the agricultural field in an attempt to improve the view of Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_021_10122013 - White-blazed trees marking the continuation of the Bruce Trail, but I was still unsure about whether it would lead to a better view of Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_024_10122013 - At first, we thought it would be an easy trail to the base of Lower Balls Falls for our daughter, but then we eventually figured out that it wasn't
Balls_Falls_025_10122013 - Tahia at a trail junction by a white blaze as we were pursuing the base of the Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_028_10122013 - Following a faint and pretty overgrown trail in pursuit of the base of the Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_029_10122013 - Following along a trail with blue blazes on trees in pursuit of the Lower Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_036_10122013 - This was the hard-earned view of Balls Falls from within the gorge after some very rough scrambling to get down here
Balls_Falls_039_10122013 - Even though there was this blue-blazed tree at the bottom of the gorge, I still had trouble finding the right trail to get back up
Balls_Falls_044_10122013 - This was the walkway that we were supposed to have taken in the first place to get to the official lookout for Balls Falls
Balls_Falls_045_10122013 - More Balls Falls Festival exhibits near the official lookout
Balls_Falls_052_10122013 - Finally at the official lookout for Balls Falls

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


To drive to Balls Falls we’ll describe a couple of approaches.

Driving from DeCew Falls to Balls Falls

From DeCew Falls in St Catharines (where we started), we headed east on Decew Rd towards the Merritville Hwy.

Then, we turned left onto Merritville Hwy, then turned right onto St Davids Rd.

We then took St Davids Rd to the on ramp for Hwy 56 / 406 north.

Next, we followed Hwy 406 north for about 6km towards the 4th Ave exit in St Catharines.

After over 8km on 4th Ave, we turned left onto Jordan Rd.

Then, we turned right onto King St (after 1.2km), left onto St Johns Dr (400m), then a left onto 19th St and a quick right onto Glen Rd.

Balls_Falls_001_10122013 - We were actually directed to a grassy clearing for the Balls Falls Festival so I'd imagine our driving route would be very different from how you'd actually do it under more normal circumstances
We were actually directed to a grassy clearing for the Balls Falls Festival so I’d imagine our driving route would be very different from how you’d actually do it under more normal circumstances

After about 1.3km, turn right off of Glen Rd into the Balls Falls Conservation Area on 6th Ave.

The car park would be near the bridge upstream from Balls Falls.

Driving from Niagara Falls to Balls Falls

If you’re coming from Niagara Falls, take Stanley Ave north onto Hwy 420 west.

After 2km on the Hwy 420, take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) north and follow it for 27km to the off-ramp at the town of Lincoln.

Turn left from the off ramp, then make another left to go onto Victoria Ave.

Balls_Falls_003_10122013 - Another look at the Balls Falls Festival parking situation, which I'd imagine would not be the norm
Another look at the Balls Falls Festival parking situation, which I’d imagine would not be the norm

Follow Victoria Ave for about 6km to 6th Ave and the entrance to the Balls Falls Conservation Area on the left.

Follow 6th Ave to the car park near the bridge above the falls.

For context, St Catharines was 21km (under 30 minutes drive) northwest of Niagara Falls, 57km (45 minutes drive) east of Hamilton, and 112km (over an hour drive) south of Toronto.

Left to right sweep of the falls from the official lookout above the gorge. The train horn was from the Balls Falls Thanksgiving Festival, which we happened to stumble into during the day of our visit


Right to left sweep from the falls at its base towards the foliage that was the awkward scramble and bushwhack to even get down here

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: niagara, jordan, ontario, waterfall, canada, twenty mile creek, thanksgiving, bruce trail, ball falls festival, st catharines, saint catharines



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls