This summer we decided to explore our own backyard, the beautiful Niagara region. Having seen so much of the world, it was a nice change of pace to sit back and enjoy the nature that surrounds us at home (much less time spent in an airplane this way!).
***UPDATE: Since we were here at Decew we have received various verbally harassing messages (on many platforms) claiming the area around the swimming hole is private property. Please be careful not to trespass. We can not recommend you try this hike, as it is irresponsible to recommend that you endanger yourself. Please be safe, and if you feel uneasy, turn back.***
Our first destination is Decew Falls in St. Catharines. The Morningstar mill and Decew Falls are easily accessible from Brock University via a hiking pathway. You can also drive to Morningstar mill and park at the top of the falls. The simplest route would be from the 406. Exit at St. David’s road heading west toward Brock University. Turn left at the lights on Glenridge Ave. and follow the road until the lights at Decew Rd. Turn right on to Decew Road and drive a few km’s until you see the mill on the right (sort of down in a gully).
The Mill it self can be visited during the summer months on alternating days, weekends, holidays and by sheer coincidence at other times (donations encouraged). The mill dates back to 1883 and was used as both a grain mill and a saw mill.
If you walk past the mill and towards the house, you will find the hiking path. There is a section of the Bruce Trail and the Laura Secord Trail that can be accessed from this point.
We followed the path along the top of the gorge, and slowly made our decent, via the pathway, to the swimming hole and stream.
There are many places where people have tried to scale down the gorge using ropes and trees, please stay to the path!! Many people are injured at Decew each summer, and many have to be rescued by paramedics and sometimes helicopter. If you follow the pathway, the hike is pretty manageable.
There are two main falls at Decew Falls. The Lower falls is a 8 metre cascade waterfall. The Upper falls is a much larger 22 metre plunge falls with a nice space for swimming at the base.
If you hike further away from the falls, you will meet up with the Laura Secord Trail. There is quite a bit to explore at Decew falls. We packed a picnic and made a day (actually two days) of it! We filmed the adventure over two days, and made two videos on Youtube which I will link below.
Here is the First Video we made at the Falls.
And here is day 2!