Chutes Dorwin (Dorwin Falls) was a stopover waterfall for us as we took a detour heading towards the city of Montreal towards the tail end of our long drive west from Quebec City. Since it was only an hour or so (without traffic) north of the city of Montreal in the town of Rawdon, we figured it was probably more of a getaway for people who live in that city to have a pleasant waterfall experience that would contrast from the urban jungle itself.
Even though the park featuring the falls had a pretty extensive network of hiking trails (said to be about 3km of it), we only did what was necessary to experience the waterfall itself. Thus, our visit only took us roughly 40-50 minutes total though it very well could’ve been much shorter than that as the walk from the car park (see directions below) to the upper viewing deck was merely 5 minutes or less. From the large viewing platform, we were able to look down at the dual drop over a combined height of about 60ft (under 20m) as the Riviere Ouareau was channeled into a narrow gorge providing that gushing appearance.
There were some steps descending further down into the gorge from the upper overlook, which ultimately led to a spur path that led me to a lower overlook with a more direct view of the impressive Chutes Dorwin. The picture you see at the top of this page was taken from this very spot.
I noticed that there was a sign here discussing a Native American legend of a sorcerer named Nipissingue who loved and wanted to marry Hiawitha. However, she wanted to be a nun, and upon learning of his intentions to marry, she made love to Nissingue’s rival Arondack. One day Nipissingue spotted Hiawitha picking plants at what was then a gentle stream atop the Dorwin Chasm, and pushed her into the gorge as she was doing this out of anger. When she fell into the chasm, the sorcerer looked over the chasm only to find out that Hiawitha turned the chasm into this waterfall while Nipissingue became stone, thereby explaining the folklore behind the geographic features here.
Our visit happened to be during a weekday under threatening skies so the entrance kiosk and visitor center was closed while the park itself was quiet. That made our visit free, but I’d imagine during busier times, it would have costed us about $5 CAD per person. There were also picnic tables and a restroom facility so it seemed to be made for family outings on the weekends.
From Montreal, follow the AUT-25 north to its end, where it eventually becomes the Route 125. Follow Route 125 for about 18km north to its junction with Route 337. Then turn right onto Route 337 and continue for 4km or so to the entrance for Chutes Dorwin on the right. This 80km drive would take a little over an hour.
Since we were coming from the east by Louiseville (after visiting the Chutes de Sainte Ursule), the GPS had us exit at the Rang de la Riviere Bayonne (Route 158), then drive west on Route 345 through several surface streets to the town of Sainte-Melanie. Once at the rural town, it then had us go south on Route 348 towards the town of Rawdon where we then joined the Route 337 and found the car park for Chutes Dorwin on our left. This 81km drive took us a bit over an hour.
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