Rockway Falls: Hiking to a Hidden Gem in Niagara

The reason we have so many waterfalls in Southern Ontario is mainly thanks to the Niagara Escarpment. While many people flock to Ball’s Falls and the conservation area there, I say hit the Bruce Trail a little further down. Head to the small town of Lincoln, Ontario and you’ll find Rockway Falls, one of the best hikes in Niagara. This area is a great spot year-round to unwind and enjoy nature in the heart of the Niagara Greenbelt.

Within the last year, the Rockway Community Centre was torn down and now a brand new parking lot awaits you where you’ll find the entrance to the Rockway Falls side trail.  This kilometre-long trail will lead you into the Rockway Conservation Area. It links up with the main Bruce Trail about 300m in so you can enjoy both trails on one adventure.

Enjoy the views from the top of the gorge before you make your way down the Niagara Escarpment. It’s good to have a sturdy pair of boots as the trail is fairly rocky and uneven at first. If you’re venturing in the winter, a good set of winter boots is a must. The trail does get easier further in as a flat dirt trail takes over.

Top of the Gorge Near Rockway Falls :: I've Been Bit! A Travel BlogDown the Niagara Escarpment :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Hiking down the Niagara Escarpment :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

The Trail to Rockway Falls

While you may think the Rockway Falls Side Trail would lead you to Rockway Falls itself, it actually doesn’t. You’ll want to follow the white blazes of the main Bruce Trail as you wind down the Niagara Escarpment. About 10 minutes in, you’ll come upon a bridge. If you’d like to continue along the Bruce, you’ll want to cross it. However, I suggest you resist this urge and instead take a left just before the bridge. Time to do a little off-roading as you clamour over the rocks towards the base of Rockway Falls.

Bridge Leading to Rockway Falls :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

How far you can explore will depend on how strong the waterfall’s flow is. If it’s weak like it was when I visited in the autumn months, you’re in for a treat. This will allow you to get up close and personal with Rockway Falls. You’ll first notice a small shelf that forms a mini waterfall. These smaller falls were created over time through water erosion. It’s possible to cross them if the water levels are low, but be extremely careful as the moss makes the terrain very slippery.

Close Up of a Tier Below Rockway Falls :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Walking Across The Rocks :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Keep climbing upwards (carefully!) and you’ll find what you came for. Watch the water of Fifteen Mile Creek plunge 18.3m into a 3m basin. Formed by glacial erosion, you can’t help be notice the beautiful layers of shale and dolomite beneath the flow of this ramp style waterfall. If the water levels are low enough, you can even climb up part of the Escarpment just like Robin did.

While the falls are beautiful to see surrounded by autumn foliage, I highly suggest coming after the winter thaw or a heavy storm. These photos don’t depict how powerful the current can be!

The 18.3m Plunge of Rockway Falls :: I've Been Bit! A Travel BlogClose Up of the Rockway Falls Basin :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Formations Along the Escarpment :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Robin For Scale with the Escarpment :: I've Been Bit! A Travel BlogView From The Base of Rockway Falls :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

Another Waterfall Near Rockway Falls?

Since the hike to the waterfall from the parking lot is quite short, I suggest backtracking to where the main Bruce Trail meets the Rockway Falls Side Trail. Follow the blue blazes in the opposite direction of the parking lot. As you head downhill, you’ll come closer to Fifteen Mile Creek. Admire the beautiful shoreline as you come to the end of the side trail and your reward for the extra legwork – another waterfall!

I’m unsure as to whether this smaller waterfall has a name or not as I tend to refer to it as the Lower Rockway Falls. Nameless or not, this is a gorgeous spot to relax and listen as the water passes you by. After you’ve taken it all in, it’s time to backtrack as this is an out-and-back trail. Head upstream as you return to the parking lot.

Fifteen Mile Creek in Winter :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

End of the Rockway Falls Side Trail :: I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog

More Hikes in Niagara

Looking for even more fun along the Bruce Trail? Never fear, I have you adventurous souls covered! Though chances are you’ll want two cars for these recommendations so you’re not backtracking.

One idea is to hike from Rockway Falls to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area which is about 10 kilometres west of Rockway Falls. Along the way, you’ll pass by Louth Falls approximately 4 kilometres into the hike. While the majority of this route is through the beautiful forests you’ll find on the Niagara Escarpment, there is some road walking so be aware of your surroundings!

Another option is to head east towards Short Hills Provincial Park. Located approximately about 3 kilometres or so east along the Bruce Trail, continue along it within the boundaries of the park to reach Swayze Falls, another fantastic waterfall in Niagara. You can easily make a loop throughout the provincial park for a great day hike. However, there is the option of continuing further to DeCew Falls, though this will require some road walking once again.

If you’re REALLY looking for a waterfall-filled road trip, the Niagara Region is a great place to be. Believe it or not, you can see all 10+ in one day! This epic Niagara waterfall itinerary starts in Grimbsy and ends in Niagara Falls. If you love road trips and waterfalls, you don’t want to miss this one!

Looking for More Top-Notch Hiking in Ontario?
Check Out The Best Hiking Trails in St Catharines
Stretch Your Legs with These Top Hiking Trails in Niagara Falls
Check Out the Epic Trails Along the Niagara River at the Niagara Glen
You Don’t Want to Miss These Top Hiking Trails in Niagara
Chase Some Waterfalls Across the Niagara Region
Hike Through Short Hills Provincial Park, Niagara’s Largest Park
Don’t Miss These Top Hiking Trails in Hamilton
Get Outside with These Awesome Cambridge Hiking Trails
Hit the Trails with The Best Kitchener Hikes
Don’t Miss These Top Hiking Trails in Waterloo
…or check out IBB’s hiking archives!

For More Things to Do in Niagara…
30+ Incredible Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Don’t Miss These FREE Things to Do in Niagara Falls
Insider Tips for Visiting Niagara Falls From a Local
Top 5 Ways to Experience the Niagara Gorge
Indoor Things to Do in Niagara Falls on a Rainy Day
See Where Nature Can Be Enjoyed By All at the Heartland Forest

Enjoy a Glass at The Best Wineries in Niagara
Don’t Miss This Self-Guided Tour of Vineland’s Wineries
Plan a Visit to the Niagara Icewine Festival
Things to Do in Port Colborne, Niagara’s Ship Shape City
Plan a Spring Visit to See the Cherry Blossoms in Niagara

Don’t Miss Exploring Niagara’s Ship Shape Town, Port Colborne

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  1. Susanna

    March 26, 2017

    Looks like autumn is the perfect time to visit here! I love those oranges and reds! Lovely photo journal, this looks like such a unique type of fall! Putting this on my bucketlist!

    • Lindz author

      March 26, 2017

      It sure is!! I love waterfall chasing at any time of the year, but autumn and winter are the best I think!

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