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DeCew Falls (Waterfalls)

Upper DeCew Falls from the gorge below Morningstar Mill turbine shed
( ©2012 David McBride – Photographer - http://www.dmphotographer.ca )

Left: Upper DeCew Falls up close (Rachel Marsh); Upper right: Upper DeCew Falls (Rachel Marsh); Lower right: Morningstar Turbine Shed (Rachel Marsh)
General Information

The western stretch of DeCew Road in St Catharines is the perfect place for waterfall lovers to go and explore. It is home to two main waterfalls - Upper DeCew falls, a large 22 metre plunge waterfall, and Lower DeCew Falls, a smaller 25 foot steep cascade waterfall in a more wild and remote setting. With its picturesque surroundings including Morningstar Mill (a restored water-powered mill) and the Bruce Trail, it is a great place to go and spend an afternoon.


Upper DeCew Falls is a pretty plunge waterfall, 22 metres high and 5 to 6 metres wide, with water flowing from the upper reaches of the Twelve Mile Creek. It can be viewed from above next to the Morningstar Mill, with the area around the falls protected by a chain fence for your safety, making it suitable for children and the elderly to visit. 


At the bottom of the gorge it is also possible to see Lower DeCew Falls. This waterfall is in a more remote setting and is 8 metres in height. It is a steep cascade waterfall with its drop being broken into a series of steps causing the water to cascade down. It is also possible to view the Tunnel Falls from here, a manmade waterfall from the DeCew Falls Generating Station where tunnels have been dug through softer layers of the escarpment, creating a flat ceiling and floor made up of harder layers above and below.


WARNING: The gorge is extremely steep and therefore great caution must be taken. The waterfall can be viewed safely from the top. When hiking in the area, travel in pairs rather than alone, and always stick to the trail. An accidental fall may result in serious injury or death. Be wary that the area around the falls may be slippery and wet. Also be aware of falling rocks from above.



TripClip Audio File

(more about TripClips...)








Click to play or download DeCew Falls TripClip (mp3 format).

This destination is also part of the TripClip tour 'Touring the Twelve.'


Other tripclips submitted by community partners



Click to play or download Waterfall Tour - DeCew Falls Community TripClip (mp3 format).
This destination is also part of the Community TripClip tour
Niagara Greenbelt Waterfalls Tour, submitted by Rachel Marsh and Julie King.

Hours of Operation

Open Year-Round    8:00 am - Dusk



From Toronto: QEW exit 49 to Highway 406 and drive approximately 2.9km


Exit on 4th Louth Avenue/Fourth Avenue

Left (south) on Louth Street and drive approximately 3.1km

Right (west) on Pelham Road and drive about 2km

Left (south) on 1st Louth Street and drive about 0.9km

Continue onto DeCew Road and drive about 0.9km

Left (north) into the Mill's little parking lot beside the Beaverdams Creek mill pond.



The waterfalls formed after the creation of the Niagara Escarpment 450 million years ago. Sediments from a tropical sea bed compressed into the limestone and shale that comprise the Escarpment. Through progressive glacial action, water flow and the elements, the rocks began to weather causing dramatic land formations such as DeCew Falls and the gorge.


As well as natural formations, artificial waterfalls have also been created such as the Tunnel Falls. This was created for the DeCew Falls Generating Station No. 1, which was built in 1898 with the aim of generating power for the region. It is the oldest running plant in the Niagara Region. Tunnels have been dug through softer layers of the escarpment, creating a flat ceiling and floor made up of harder layers above and below.



Hike along the Bruce Trail next to Decew Falls and you may be lucky enough to spot a white- tailed deer. Follow the trail westward into Short Hills Provincial Park - a Carolinian forest where more waterfalls can be viewed including Swayze Falls - a dry falls.


The Niagara Escarpment is home to over 1500 species of vascular plants, with the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) , Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) and green dragon (Arisaema dracontium, a close relative of the Jack-in-the-pulpit) found in the area. White Cedars (Thuja occidentalis) are also commonly found, along with a number of mammals, amphibians and reptiles.


Whilst visiting DeCew Falls, make the most of the Bruce Trail, which is a perfect hiking spot. The trail offers great views of the edge of the Escarpment, as well as a chance to see the DeCew Hydroelectric Power Stations (Number 1 and Number 2) at the bottom of the Escarpment.


Visitors to DeCew Falls can walk, hike or jog along the Bruce Trail. You can also pay a visit to Morningstar Mill, which is located next to the Falls.

Adjacent Land Uses

DeCew House down the road and to the east


St Catharines Water Filtration Plant


Morningstar Mill


Further Information

Go Waterfalling DeCew Falls


Toronto Hiking DeCew Falls, Swayze Falls & Rockway Falls


Travel Niagara DeCew Falls and Morningstar Mill


Waterfalls of Ontario DeCew Falls



This page was prepared by Rachel Marsh in December 2009. 



Free Parking Public Washrooms


Partially accessible


DeCew Falls
2710 DeCew Road
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2R 6P7

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude 43.10974
Longitude -79.264383
UTM easting 641217
UTM northing 4774494

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