Hikes Near Toronto: Hiking & Exploring Smokey Hollow Falls in Ontario
Smokey Hollow Falls (also known as Grindstone, Waterdown or Great Falls) is one of many waterfalls located near Hamilton. It’s not the biggest waterfall but it was our favourite in the area because of how well-kept the trail is and how quiet and relaxing it was compared to some of the more popular and crowded falls (Webster, Albion).
Smokey Hollow Falls is about a 1 - 1.5 hr drive from downtown Toronto. If you search ‘Smokey Hollow Falls’ on Google, you will be able to find a free parking lot off Mill Street, slightly west of Mill St S and Mount Brow Rd. The lot is small and only holds around 15 - 20 cars so get there early on the weekends to secure a spot.
The Trail (2 hr loop)
The trail we took started and ended at Smokey Hollow Falls. We decided that we would hike the trail first and end off at the falls.
After getting out of the parking lot, we took a left towards the trail and down a set of wooden stairs. The first portion of our hike was along the creek. The trail was mainly flat and far enough away from the creek that it wasn’t too muddy, unlike DeCew Falls where most of the trail is muddy because of the overlap with the creek.
After walking 15 - 20 minutes, we followed the white markers for the Bruce Trail up away from the creek (see purple line in photo below).
An alternative trail is the 10.3 km Waterdown Trail to Smokey Hollow along the creek (see red line in photo below). Expect to take anywhere between 2.5 hrs - 3.5 hrs.
Hiking by creek was quite serene so if I had to do it again, I would choose to do the trail in red alongside the creek.
Getting to the falls
If you decide to start your hike by getting close to the falls, when you get out of the parking lot and down the set of wooden stairs, take a right at the bottom of the wooden stairs from the parking lot. You’ll have to walk along the creek and across a couple of rocks in the river to get closer to the falls. This was fairly manageable as there are large, non-slippery rocks to step on.
Note: There were some slippery areas / rocks so please be careful!
There is also another fenced-in viewing platform just steps from the parking long, but we opted to get closer to the falls.
Other Useful Information
Best time to go: March to October
Dog friendly - the trails are dog friendly and we brought Mocha with us
What to bring
Hiking / running shoes you don’t mind getting dirty - it’ll be a rocky and slightly muddy walk
Swimming clothes - you can get close to the falls
Water shoes - the rocks by the water can be slippery and the group is full of rocks, branches and mud.
Water - remember to hydrate!