Hog's Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls)

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

About Hog’s Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls)


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2013-10-09
Date last visited: 2013-10-09

Waterfall Latitude: 45.37116
Waterfall Longitude: -75.69676

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Hogs Back Falls (or Hog’s Back Falls; also called Prince of Wales Falls) was one of two waterfalls we visited within the municipality of Ottawa.

This waterfall was pretty much an urban waterfall as it seemed like there was a dam as well as a lock that held up the Rideau River.

Hogs_Back_064_10092013 - Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls)
Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls)

Just upstream of the waterfall and dam was a small lake flanked by relatively peaceful urban parks.

The dam itself allowed for a road bridge to traverse the river as well as a walkway that allowed us to see the Hogs Back Falls from various angles including the “island” between the river and the Rideau Canal (which the lock was for).

That dam also seemed to make this waterfall able to be turned on or off at will.

The Urban Waterfall Balance at Hogs Back Falls

The manipulations pertaining to the falls definitely took away from the natural beauty of the area and even made us question whether the falls were legitimate or not.

Hogs_Back_012_10092013 - Looking towards the lock on the Rideau Channel from the 'island' nearby the Hogs Back Falls
Looking towards the lock on the Rideau Channel from the ‘island’ nearby the Hogs Back Falls

Even the broken asphalt within the mini-gorge flanking the Rideau River further casted doubt about it in our minds (i.e. were the falls there from the beginning?).

Plus, the river had that familiar smell that urban waterways tended to have suggesting there had to be some degree of sewage and/or pollution in it.

Thus, we were careful trying not to inhale too much of the mist produced by the power of the falls.

Yet having said all that, it seemed like the students, locals, and tourists alike didn’t seem to mind a whole lot as they simply enjoyed the sights and the calming effects that waterfalls tended to bring.

Hogs_Back_045_10092013 - Looking over the brink of Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls) towards the high rises of Ottawa as seen from the bridge and dam controlling the flow of the Rideau River
Looking over the brink of Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls) towards the high rises of Ottawa as seen from the bridge and dam controlling the flow of the Rideau River

We did the same, and it kind of eased us into our brief stay in Canada’s capital city.

Our Experience at Hogs Back Falls

Visiting the Hogs Back Falls was pretty easy, but we did to figure out where we were supposed to park to enjoy this place.

It turned out that we happened to show up at the wrong side of the river before finally identifying our mistake and eventually ending up at the correct car park(see directions below).

So from the correct car park, there was a short path that took us towards some bathrooms and what looked like a snack bar area (though it was closed during our visit).

Hogs_Back_017_10092013 - Lots of geese or ducks pecking away at a city park lawn upstream of the dam holding up the Rideau River at Hogs Back Falls
Lots of geese or ducks pecking away at a city park lawn upstream of the dam holding up the Rideau River at Hogs Back Falls

From there, we took one of several paved walking paths flanked by lawns and trees towards the overlooks from the east side of the Rideau River.

Railings ensured that only the determined, foolhardy souls would fall take measures to risk falling into small but turbulent gorge.

Thus, we pretty much viewed the Hogs Back Falls from choice spots all along the railings here.

Then, we walked towards the footbridge going across the river so we could look downstream over the brink of the falls.

That was where the afternoon sunlight was behind us and we could see a bold bright rainbow in the rising mist.

Hogs_Back_038_10092013 - Context of the Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls) and the turbulent rapids tumbling further downstream
Context of the Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls) and the turbulent rapids tumbling further downstream

Meanwhile some of the high rises within Ottawa’s city limits could be seen further downstream (a rather interesting juxtaposition of urban jungle and waterfall).

Once on the other side of the bridge, we were on an “island” where one side was the turbulent Rideau River and the Hogs Back Falls.

On the other hand, the other side of the “island” was a calm lock that appeared to be there to allow boats to continue going upstream or downstream on the Rideau Canal.

Overall, our visit here took a very leisurely 45 minutes, and it very easily could’ve taken far less time if we didn’t linger for as long as we did.

Authorities

Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls) resides in the city of Ottawa in the province of Ontario. It is adminstered by the city of Ottawa. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Hogs_Back_010_10092013 - When we were at the car park on the wrong side of the river, we got this view of the Rideau Canal with the walkway that seemed to be very popular amongst students and locals
Hogs_Back_026_10092013 - Our first look at the Hogs Back Falls from the correct side of the Rideau River
Hogs_Back_027_10092013 - Looking downstream across the Rideau River towards the high rises of downtown Ottawa
Hogs_Back_028_10092013 - Looking upstream at the 8m Hogs Back Falls with dam walls beneath the foot bridge and road bridge
Hogs_Back_032_10092013 - Contextual view looking upstream at part of the Hogs Back Falls and the turbulence of the river further downstream
Hogs_Back_036_10092013 - The lawn and walkway along the Rideau River nearby the best views of the Hogs Back Falls
Hogs_Back_053_10092013 - Looking downstream from the footbridge over the Hogs Back Falls where there was a bright rainbow in the mist from the turbulence of the Rideau River
Hogs_Back_056_10092013 - Another look over the brink of the Hogs Back Falls as seen from the road bridge and dam where I saw a rainbow appearing in the waterfall's mist
Hogs_Back_067_10092013 - Zoomed in upstream look at a pair of smaller cascades of the Hogs Back Falls with parts of the Hogs Back Falls Park in the distance
Hogs_Back_068_10092013 - Part of the Hog's Back Falls with some Autumn colors in the foliage behind it

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According to our Waterfalls of Ontario book, the most straightforward way to reach Hogs Back Falls from downtown Ottawa would be to catch the Hwy 417 and exit at Riverside Dr.

Then, we’d head south on Riverside Dr for about 6km to Hog’s Back Rd.

Hogs_Back_024_10092013 - The main parking lot for the Hogs Back Falls Park
The main parking lot for the Hogs Back Falls Park

Turning right onto Hog’s Back Rd, we’d then drive for about 300m before turning right into the Hog’s Back Park turnoff.

Our Surface Street Approach from downtown Ottawa

When we did this drive, we wound up taking surface streets from downtown Ottawa.

So we made our way towards Colonel By Dr.

Then, we turned right to go south on Colonel By Dr and followed it all the way to Hog’s Back Dr.

Turning left onto Hog’s Back Dr, we then turned left again to get into Hog’s Back Park.

The Wrong Parking Lot for Hogs Back Falls

We actually made the mistake of turning right at Hog’s Back Park, and then turning right again into a small car park next to the lock (by the Rideau Canal on the west side of the river).

Hogs_Back_022_10092013 - The limited parking space behind this building was on the other side of Colonel By Dr, and thus I considered this to be the 'wrong' parking lot for Hogs Back Falls
The limited parking space behind this building was on the other side of Colonel By Dr, and thus I considered this to be the ‘wrong’ parking lot for Hogs Back Falls

Even though there were picnic tables and some historical signs as well as a bike and foot path along the canal, it was still a bit of a walk to get from here to the best views of the Hogs Back Falls (Prince of Wales Falls).

That’s because we still had to go under the road, then walk towards a section of the road that would be safe to cross to get into the Hog’s Back Park.

In the end, we wound up driving out of the mistaken car park and making our way to Hog’s Back Park via a couple of U-turns (it wasn’t easy to make a left out of that small picnic area turnoff).

Finally, for some context, Ottawa was 199km (2 hours drive) west of Montreal and 444km (about 4.5 hours drive) southwest of Quebec City.

Left to right sweep following the flow seen from the lookout closest to the car park


Right to left sweep from the island between the falls and the canal


Looking downstream from the top of the falls showing a rainbow before panning to the right at the bridge

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Tagged with: ottawa, waterfall, ontario, canada, prince of wales, urban waterfall, regulated, rideau canal, lock



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