Thursday, June 14, 2012

Borer's Falls, Lower Borer's Falls

Yesterday I visited Borer's Falls with my brother Ryan, and it was an extremely fun hike. We wanted a waterfall that we could bike to, and Borer's Falls seemed close enough, so we headed off! As per usual, the directions to the falls were a bit vague and confusing (and the Google maps ones were completely wrong...) but we were able to find our way. 

The path to Borer's Falls is part of the Bruce Trail, and when we got there we found out that there were some other maintained trails in the area that are part of the Royal Botanical Gardens. There is a parking lot there as well, but you do have to pay the standard RBG fare. There is a walk found on this website that takes you through some of these trails, and also lets you get a different vantage point of the falls than we had (if you're looking for something more easily accessible, I'd recommend taking that route).  As we found out, it's quite the bike ride there, so you might be interested in driving if you're not prepared for a workout on the way there. 

Here is how to get there (keep in mind, if you are doing hike previously linked, the directions are different and are on the website): From Dundas, follow the main street (King St.) up until you reach Sydenham Road, where you'll want to turn right. You'll follow this road all the way up a huge hill, past a sign for Flamborough, and into some farmlands. About halfway up the hill there is the Sydenham Lookout, which provides a great view of the city! You can see all the way to downtown, as well across to the escarpment to the other side. Keep following  Sydenham and eventually you'll get to a crossroad where Sydenham is to your left, and Rock Chapel Road is straight ahead. Follow it through on Rock Chapel and soon on your right you'll see the Rock Chapel parking lot!

I should give a bit of a disclaimer: if you're wanting to see Borer's Falls from the angle we did you'll have to be prepared to get a bit dirty, and be cool with climbing down the escarpment. All of the websites I had read about it bolded and caps locked their warnings regarding how difficult and dangerous it was to get down there...I'm not sure if I'm just getting desensitized to the difficulty of some of these scrambles, but it didn't seem that bad, despite being relatively hard to get to. However, if you're looking just to get a view of the falls, then this walk will probably be best!

In the corner of the parking lot nearest to the road, there is a sign showing the way to the falls! We followed that bit of the Bruce Trail for 300m, and brought us to the top of the falls, but we couldn't get a good view. There was no lookout per se, it just literally brought us to the top - even leaning over more than I was comfortable with, I couldn't see the bottom.

On our way along the path we saw a few offshoots of trails that looked like they might lead to a better lookout, so we backtracked and took the first one that was closest to the falls. It led us a relatively good view! It was a bit hard to see through the trees, but you could still see it. 

Of course...if it looked like you could get closer, I would want to try. And it did, so off I went. After this view though, was a bit of a drop of mud/rock that is about 4 feet high. You can get down it, but please be careful...I don't want anyone's sprained ankle/death on my hands. We also found that some adventurers that had been there before us had left a rope (string?) for future users. How thoughtful.
It looks steeper than it is...I think.
My bum got muddy, but we got to the bottom of the falls! It's really only that 4 foot drop that is the worst bit, so if you get down that you're golden.

We had also heard rumours of Lower Borer's Falls, and figured if we had already come this far we might as well see if we could find it. 

We headed downstream for around 10-15 minutes. You'll want to make sure you're wearing running shoes and have sure footing, as there are a lot of loose stones to navigate and fallen trees to get over.

We had no idea how far down it actually was, but I'm glad we checked it out, the lower falls turned out to be probably one of my favourite mini-falls.

I love all the huge fallen rocks - I'm so glad my brother was down for this little expedition! (I also have to give him credit for some of the photos here! I think he grabbed my camera when I was shuffling over the massive rocks).

We made our way out up and out of the riverbed the same way we came in. Once we were on the main path Ryan stated "yeah...that's pretty inaccessible." So there you have it. We both had an awesome time trying to find our way, but this hike might not be for everyone (or maybe you are the type of person that is spurred on by me saying it's not for everyone and your pride will force you to try for yourself...?) There was evidence that other people had been there - the rope, and also an unopened pepperoni stick that I can only assume was left out of provision for future hikers - so it's certainly not too impossible!


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