Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tew's Falls (and Lower Tew's Falls)

I have seen Tews Falls quite a few times from going on hikes to the Dundas Peak, but it has always been from the lookout. I found out recently that you can access it from the bottom but that it was a bit hard to get to. This hike has been something my friends and I have been wanting to do for a long time, and we finally got to do it! The results were well worth it, and it was a gorgeous hike in.

There are a couple of ways to get there. You can start at the bottom of Webster's Falls, follow the stream until it forks, and head down the left-hand fork. We went a bit of a different way. These are going to be some very indirect directions: We parked on a sidestreet near the train tracks that run under Dundas peak.

Following the tracks to the left, after a few minutes there is a trail that opens up to the right, by a marked tree. It leads down to the stream, and you'll know you're on the right one if you see an outhouse/shack looking thing (I should probably get the gps coordinates for this trailhead...but then there would be no adventure!) This trail took us down by the stream, and for the most part, the trail is pretty clear. There are some areas where it is a bit muddy or there are a lot of roots, and I would definitely recommend wearing running/hiking shoes. There are a few times when you might need to go in the water, so I just went barefoot for part of it!

Eventually you'll get to a fork in the stream! If you followed the stream from the bottom of Webster's, you'll want to take the lefthand fork. If you went the way I did, you want to go on the right! It's pretty picturesque in this area - LOTS of big fallen rocks and some mini-falls.

I was surprised at the amount of people in this area - I guess this riverbed path isn't so secret as I thought? Maybe I am just behind on the times.

There is a path following the fork, but you'll need to climb up a bit to get to it - again, you might get wet!

Lower Tew's Falls is just following the fork, so I got to check that off my list as well! I was trying to get really close to it, and ended up thigh-deep in water. There have been so many times where I've wished these waterfalls were in a more tropical climate so I could just jump right in.

At this point the trail gets a bit more difficult, but again, not too challenging. And soon you'll be rewarded with a stunning view!

My friend being daring, crossing a fallen log - we yelled at him to stop so we could get a good photo, but I guess he was more focussed on getting across safely. Whatever.

Tews from the bottom is SO much more beautiful from this angle! I've seen it so many times from the lookout, it has become pretty unremarkable to me. But this, I just loved. You really get a sense of its height! It's the tallest of the Hamilton Waterfalls, and only beaten by Niagara Falls by a few metres!

Look how little I am!

My trip to this falls also included my first 'behind the falls' experience - again, I wish it was warmer so badly! Someday I'll visit a tropical waterfall and get to live out my dream of swimming around in the pool underneath.

This is a great hike if you're looking for something a bit more adventurous, but not too intense. It was also a good feeling seeing the people seeing the falls from the lookout and knowing that you are more hardcore than they are :P

Hike Intensity: 6.5/10 (my friend in flip-flops may disagree...)

Time to Hike: Overall, it took around 2.5/3 hours round trip. We went at a pretty leisurely pace, and spent some time chilling at the base of the falls. It's definitely something you should book an afternoon off for though, because there are a lot of different areas to explore, and some people might find the trail a bit more challenging.

View of Falls: Very worth it! Tew's Falls is a Hamilton classic for a reason, and the hike leading up to it is gorgeous as well!

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