About Webster’s Falls
Websters Falls (or Webster’s Falls) could very well be the city of Hamilton’s most famous and most visited waterfall.
Webster’s Falls was said to be 22m high and about 24m wide at its crest.
Thus, as you can see from the photo above, we can totally understand why this waterfall would be popular.
Experiencing Webster’s Falls
Our experience with this waterfall was a mixed bag.
On the one hand, we got to see most of the falls from what was left of the official lookouts that remained accessible to the public (especially the Dobson-McKee Lookout yielding the photo above).
However, as a result of numerous closures at the best viewing spots, we were misled into thinking that we could’ve experienced at least as much of the Webster’s Falls as what was circulated in the literature.
Some of the literature and photos circulating about were from the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s own publishings as well as on the web in general.
Among the waterfalling experiences that this waterfall no longer offered during our October 2013 visit, this included an across-the-gorge view of both Websters Falls and the bridge above it (i.e. the Dobson-McKee Lookout).
It also included the famous stairway trail that would have led to the base of the Websters Falls.
In both instances these views were widely circulated about in the literature, and yet we didn’t get to experience them given the very limited accessibility during our visit.
It was for that reason that what should have been a waterfall that would easily rate as high as Albion Falls didn’t.
That said, there was a bit of rebelliousness at that other waterfall as many people ignored the closure of the trail to its base.
However, in the case of Websters Falls, there was a Hamilton cop who was patrolling the area to make sure no one hopped the barricades and went to the now-forbidden areas of the falls.
Overabundance of caution?
While I can appreciate the conservation efforts pertaining to the waterfalls in and around Hamilton, we’ve learned from our experiences at other waterfalls around the world that authorities need to balance a satisfactory experience with conservation.
It felt to us like with Webster’s Falls (as well as most of Hamilton’s other waterfalls) the authorities took the more conservative approach.
By this, they pretty much made just about all the best viewing spots off limits with the alternatives being far less than what drew us here in the first place.
If more money would need to be collected to ensure that this balance would be struck, then so be it.
But paying $10 for a very limited and subpar viewing experience left a little bit of a sour taste.
At least this fee also worked with the nearby Tews Falls because they share the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area.
So if you already paid the fees for one of the waterfalls, you don’t have to pay again for the other.
Detailed Description of our Limited Webster’s Falls Walk
So what we were able to experience of Webster’s Falls was basically from the aforementioned Dobson-McKee Lookout as well as the brink of the falls at the entrance to the now-closed stairway trail.
From the car park (see directions below), we basically followed a well-established paved path flanking a large lawn area to the left of the bridge over Spencer Creek, which was just above the falls.
This lawn area seemed to be an ideal place for a picnic or family outing under warmer and sunnier weather than what we experienced.
Beyond the end of the pavement, it looked like the trail kept going further down the rim of the gorge.
This was where we saw where the best cross-gorge view of the falls would have been except there was a tall metal fence erected to ensure access to that outcrop would not be possible.
Going towards the bridge over Spencer Creek, we then crossed over it into the Websters Falls Park.
Further upstream were more bridges and trails as well as remnants of the industrial past of this area throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Spencer Creek Bridge held some historical significance in that it was built back in the 1930s.
Then, it became unusable and had to be closed to the public until a local community group (the Optimist Club of Greenville) undertook the restoration efforts of the bridge eventually re-opening it to the public on Canada Day in 2000.
We were able to experience the Websters Falls up close from its brink on the lookout on the other side of the bridge.
We could also look downstream across the gorge towards the people checking out the falls from the Dobson-McKee Lookout.
This general viewing area was also where the access to the closed-off Stairway Trail started.
However, with this option denied to us, that was pretty much it for our visit to the falls.
Websters Falls resides in the Spencer Gorge / Webster’s Falls Conservation Area in the City of Hamilton in the province of Ontario, Canada. It is administered by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The first driving route from Hamilton to Dundas
The first way would be to take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) along the shores of Lake Ontario towards its junction with Hwy 403 west.
This would bypass the City of Hamilton on its east side.
Once on the Hwy 403 East, we’d continue for about 7km then take the Hwy 6 north exit.
The second driving route from Hamilton to Dundas
The other way would be to take the Hwy 6 north from western downtown Hamilton from one of its many onramps.
Then, we’d continue towards the Hwy 6 north exit, leaving the highway’s transition into becoming Hwy 403 east.
Continuing to the Webster’s Falls Parking Area
The Hwy 6 north exit leaves the freeway, which continues north for just under 3km towards its intersection with Hwy 5.
We turned left onto Hwy 5 and continued for about 7km towards Brock Rd.
Then, we turned left onto Brock Rd and continued for about 1.5km turning left onto Harvest Rd.
After about 400m on Harvest Rd, we turned right onto Short Rd, then we followed Short Rd for about 1km (becoming Fallsview Rd when the road bends) before arriving at the Websters Falls car park on the right.
We also could have come to the car park from Tews Falls, which was merely another 400m east of the intersection of Harvest Rd and Short Rd.
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