Just off the highway in the town of Grimsby Ontario you’ll find the Beamer Falls Conservation Area. Also known as Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, it features some nice relaxing trails – perfect for an afternoon stroll in any season.
This area was acquired by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in 1964 to preserve the Niagara Escarpment and the Forty-Creek valley system. While this is one of the smaller conservation areas in the Niagara Region, it offers some of the best views from the Niagara Escarpment. If you’re planning to visit in the springtime, it’s known to have the best vantage point in the province for observing hawks during their annual migration. It’s not uncommon to spot bald eagles, turkey vulture and other birds too! You’ll also find one of the most extensive escarpment forests in the Niagara Region and a beautiful example of Carolinian forest.
Hiking Beamer Memorial Conservation Area
When you look at the Beamer Memorial Conservation Area map, many of the trails are interconnected. This makes it the perfect destination for both avid hikers and leisurely wanderers. Chances are if you came here though, you’re either looking for great views or to chase waterfalls. I suggest starting with the Lookout Trail where you’ll find three lookout points as it follows the Niagara Escarpment’s edge. Enjoy the views across Grimsby, Lake Ontario and if you’re there on a very clear day, you might even see the mist from Niagara Falls in the east!
FUN FACT: The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and has the oldest forested ecosystem in eastern North America!
The trail itself is comprised mainly of bedrock with no real change in elevation. This makes it a great hike for families with small children or just those (like Robin) who are looking for a leisurely stroll. There is also a platform where I’ve seen families and friends having picnics in the warmer months! While temperatures have been on the rise of the years, the Lookout Trail is heavily shaded making it a perfect escape from the summer sun.
Once you’ve enjoyed the views, you’ll find the Lookout Trail connects with Ontario’s famous +890km Bruce Trail. If you’re not sure whether you’re on it, just look for the iconic white blazes (painted rectangles) on the trees along the trail. As you head away from the lake along the trail, you’ll come upon a fork. Here you’ll find the Beamer Falls Access Trail… and your waterfall pathway! From this point on you’ll want to follow the blue blazes as this is a Bruce Side Trail. Following the white blazes down the stairs pictured below will take you down into Grimsby – and in the opposite direction you want to go!
Chasing Waterfalls in Beamer Falls
From here the trail winds around and can get a little confusing. If you end up stumbling upon a road, don’t worry as this is where you want to be! This is Ridge Road and you’ll want to follow it to the left until you come upon a bridge…. and Upper Beamer Falls. You can catch a glimpse of her by peeking over the side but depending on the time of the year, you might not see much as the flow can get quite weak. Keep following the road and you’ll see a dirt parking lot with a pathway that leads further into the brush. This is the easier trail to take, however if you’d rather take the path less travelled, take the dirt path just past the bridge. Be careful though as there is a high chance of poison ivy along the trail.
If you see the Grimsby Scouts building then you’re going in the right direction. To the left of it is a small pathway and it will take you to the shoreline. You’ll find a series of small pathways that lead along the edge, but you’ll want to keep heading left. This will take you right down to the riverbed of Forty Mile Creek and the base of Upper Beamer Falls! The trails can be steep so take your time, wear sturdy shoes and watch your step.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: While it might be tempting to park at the Grimsby Scouts building, this is not the Beamer Falls parking area. Parking is just off of Quarry Road within the park.
If it’s been a hot summer in Southern Ontario, chances are Upper Beamer Falls will be weak. You’ll only see trickles along the cascades. If you’d like to see her with some flow, visit shortly after some heavy rain or after the winter thaw. Mind you, a lack of water definitely has its perks since it allows you to explore more of the rock and riverbed. With it being shaded, you’ll enjoy a refreshing breeze as you frolic around the area! Beware though, mosquitoes do lurk in the shadows.
With the layers upon layers of bedrock, I’m sure Upper Beamer Falls would be absolutely incredible experience in the wintertime. Hiking down to the base will be tricky so use extreme caution. I’m sure the views you could see from above would be magnificent though! I’ll have to plan a winter visit so I can give you the full details.
If you want to see the falls from above, head to the parking lot on Ridge Road. Just take a left when exiting the main lot and then another left from Quarry Road onto Ridge Road. The parking lot will also be on the left just a minute or two down the road. Then follow the road back towards the bridge to enjoy the views from above.
Now you may have been wondering Lindsay… if there’s an Upper Beamer Falls, is there another? Your deductions are certainly correct! Once you’ve had your fun at Upper Beamer Falls, it’s time to make your way to Lower Beamer Falls. Now there are two ways you can do this and it’s dependent on the water levels. One route is to make your way downstream along the riverbed. However, this can be tricky with loose rocks and uneven ground. The second route isn’t much easier in terms of the trail, but it’s easier to navigate. This is the route I took so I suggest following in my footsteps!
Head back up to the Bruce Trail and follow it back towards the parking lot. Here you’ll find washrooms, a picnic area and a trail that leads down to the Forty Mile Creek riverbed. Once you reach the water, there are no trail markers so follow the shoreline upstream and you’ll come upon the other waterfall. If the water levels are high, this can be tricky so use extreme caution. I’d personally recommend coming back another time when the levels are calmer. It’s a bit of a trek but Lower Beamer Falls is worth it!
Ready to Visit Beamer Falls Conservation Area?
Have I convinced you to experience Beamer Falls for yourself? Whether you’re looking for places to visit near Toronto or are hunting for waterfalls in the area, you’ll have a fabulous time hiking the Beamer Falls Conservation Area’s trails. If you’d like to extend your stay in the area, enjoy some more waterfall action by hiking to Rockway Falls. It’s just a 30 minute drive down the road towards St Catharines. Also if you’re heading to Niagara Falls, both Beamer Falls and Rockway Falls make perfect pit stops along the way.