Southern Ontario was finally graced with the beauty of some good weather and I took full advantage of it on Sunday, despite feeling under the weather. The best cure for mild nausea? Fresh air!
We parked at the Crooks Hollow Conservation Area parking lot where it’s $2 per hour and set off along the Crooks Hollow Historical Trail… or at least what I thought it was. Due to my brain being a little foggy I actually ended up heading in the complete opposite direction, following the Spencer River and misinterpreting the part of the river pictured below for the Darnley Cascade. Instead I wandered upon what used to be the Crooks Hollow Dam. Previously, the dam was used to bring fresh water into the towns of Dundas and Greensville. However it was no longer needed once the municipal water systems were installed. In 2008, the dam’s fate was sealed with demolition beginning in 2012. Now a beautiful bridge connects both sides of the Spencer River in its place.
I crossed the river and climbed up past a small lookout point, which actually leads to a neighbourhood along Kirby Avenue. Judging by the wear in the grass, I wasn’t the only one to make this mistake as I followed it across a field and onto the second half of Kirby Avenue which intersects with Brock Road in Dundas. Don’t cross here, and instead turn left. There’s a path just on the other side of the road barrier that leads down to the Optimist Trail. Following along the river, you’ll pass by the Greensville Optimist Park and – if it’s beautiful like it was on Sunday – plenty of people picnicking and enjoying the sunshine. The trail leads to a bridge which connects with Hamilton’s Fallsview Road and the Websters Falls Side Trail. As I’ve only seen Websters Falls in the winter, I made my way over to it. As I looped around to the other side of the falls, I spotted this little garden snake. I’ve never seen one with such bright markings! You know spring has arrived when the critters are out!
Unfortunately most of Websters Falls is surrounded by a huge metal fence, however there are a few ways to bypass it. Now I don’t support hopping it (even though I admit that I have) as it can be very dangerous if you’re not careful. However, there is one spot where the fence ends past the lookout point where you can carefully squeeze between the fence and a nearby tree, but probably not for long as the foliage quickly grows. Following back along the inside the fence by tightly gripping it (and taking small steps), you’ll reach a spot where there’s a path made by tree roots. Carefully follow them down to where the hill flattens out, and you’ll get to witness a tree-free angle of Websters Falls.
Retracing my steps, I made my way back to the Optimist Trail to complete it to its full extent. The trail is quite easy and very peaceful as you cross some small bridges to avoid walking through sections of marsh parallel to the river. You’ll also come across yet another of Hamilton’s beautiful waterfalls, the quaint East Greensville Falls (pictured on the left below). It’s fed by Greensville Creek, a part of the Spencer Watershed. A gem in a somewhat-barren landscape right now, I can imagine how beautiful it’ll be once the greenery grows back fully! You’ll also find a smaller waterfall (pictured on the right) that runs alongside a household’s patio – a must have for my future dream home!
The entire trek took me about 2 hours, but you can easily spend more time in the area. As the weather gets nicer I’d suggest checking it out as it’s the perfect place to picnic! Take some time to enjoy the flowers as they begin to bloom, and the views as the sun begins to set. Be sure to check out my map of Hamilton’s waterfalls, and let me know of your adventures!