Spencer Reservations

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the overwhelming popularity of Dundas Peak & Tew Falls and Webster Falls, HCA has instituted online reservable parking in 2-hour time slots. From Sept. 19 – Nov. 15, 2020, all visitors, including HCA passholders, will be required to make a reservation prior to their visit. This change to a mandatory reservation will manage visitor numbers and will assist with physical distancing and provide a safe and enjoyable visit. It will also allow visitors to travel with the peace of mind, knowing that their parking space is held for them.

No access will be permitted into the area until September 19. Reservations may be be made up to a week prior to your visit.

Reservations are made for 2-hour blocks, starting at 9 AM, 12 PM and 3 PM.  Arrival times will be staggered in 15 minute intervals. This system will be in place seven days a week, both weekdays and weekends, until November 15, 2020.

Tew Waterfall

Dundas Peak and Tew Falls Experience
Parking lot located at 581 Harvest Road, Dundas

Your two-hour hike experience will start at Tew Falls, which at 41 metres is just a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls.

There are two platforms just off the trail that allow visitors to get a spectacular view of the falls and gorge.

Continue on your hike along the Niagara Escarpment to the Dundas Peak, offering a stunning view of the escarpment and Dundas and Hamilton.

A 1.8 km loop trail system allows for physical distancing on narrow trails.

Click image for PDF trail map

Webster Falls
Parking lot is located in Greensville Optimist Park, 277 Brock Road, Dundas

Your two-hour hike experience features a hike along a trail rich in history, as you approach Webster Falls, a 22-metre classical curtain waterfall that is one of Hamilton’s most iconic waterfalls.

Travel across the beautifully restored cobblestone bridge that crosses Spencer Creek, to the accessible Dobson-McKee lookout that offers stunning views of the gorge and vistas.

 

Webster Falls trail map
Click image for PDF trail map

How do I make a reservation?

  • Visit our booking page and click on the "Dundas Peak/Webster Falls" tab.
  • Select either the Dundas Peak or Webster Falls experience.
  • Enter the date you would like to visit, and the number of people in your party
  • PLEASE NOTE: SAME-DAY RESERVATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED. Your reservation can be made up to 8 PM on the day PRIOR to your visit.
  • Select your preferred time slot and click on "Reserve."
  • You will see a number that indicates how many spots are left out of 15 reservable spots (i.e. 12/15)
  • You must enter your vehicle licence plate to reserve your spot.
  • HCA Membership passholders must enter their pass number and bring their pass with them for entry. Passholders receive free entry into the area but must pay the $10 reservation fee to make a booking.
  • After reviewing your reservation and safety pledges and information, click on "Confirm Reservation Details" to hold your reservation.
  • You must create an account, with email and password, to complete the reservation process. HCA staff cannot create an account for you
  • Once you have created your account, you can check out with your preferred payment method. You will receive an emailed reservation booking to the email on your account. Please print your confirmation, showing your reservation booking date and time, and bring it with you.
  • Please note that booking at Dundas Peak/Tew Falls does not give you entry into Webster Falls, and a Webster Falls booking does not give you entry into Dundas Peak/Tew Falls.  Your booking is valid only for the area you have reserved. However, you may bring your reservation to Christie Lake Conservation Area, located at 1000 Highway 5 West and receive admission for the remainder of the day at no additional cost.

Do HCA passholders have to pay a reservation fee?
Yes. Your entry into the conservation area is included in your membership.  However, the $10 reservation fee will apply. The reservation system is in place in these high interest and visitation areas to limit the number of people that can visit the area each day, from September 1 to November 15, 2020. You may access the area as you normally would in the off-season, with no reservation fee, after November 15.

I need help with my reservation, or I have a question.
HCA staff are available to assist you, from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  Please note that we cannot create an account or make your reservation for you, due to privacy concerns. Please email us at reserve@conservationhamilton.ca or call 1-855-227-5267.  If you are having issues with the booking site on your mobile device, please try using a desktop computer or a different browser.

Why do I have to make a reservation?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the overwhelming popularity of Dundas Peak & Tew Falls and Webster Falls, HCA has instituted this reservation system. This change to a mandatory reservation will manage visitor numbers and will assist with physical distancing and provide a safe and enjoyable visit. It will also allow visitors to travel with the peace of mind, knowing that their parking space is held for them.  Space at each area is limited and we cannot accommodate visitors without a reservation. Those that show up without a reservation will be turned away. There are no exceptions to this rule.

What if I want to make a reservation for both hike experiences?
If you want to book both experiences, we recommend booking the Dundas Peak & Tew Falls hike first, then Webster Falls second.  Dundas Peak & Tew Falls is a longer distance hike. Please note, there is no discount for booking both, you will be charged the full fee, including the parking, admission and reservation fee for each booking.

Can I walk into the areas?
You may walk into the areas if you have made a parking reservation prior to your visit.  A parking reservation is required for entry into the area you have booked, even if you are on foot. The reservation system is in place to manage visitor numbers, so your booking will apply against the maximum permitted.  Please note that booking at Dundas Peak/Tew Falls does not give you entry into Webster Falls, and a Webster Falls booking does not give you entry into Dundas Peak/Tew Falls.  Your booking is valid only for the area you have reserved.

What if I want to visit both areas?
You will need a separate booking for each visit.  A reservation at Dundas Peak/Tew Falls does not give you entry into Webster Falls, and a Webster Falls booking does not give you entry into Dundas Peak/Tew Falls.  Your booking is valid only for the area you have reserved.  Please note, there is no discount for booking both, you will be charged the full fee, including the parking, admission and reservation fee for each booking. However, you may bring your reservation to Christie Lake Conservation Area, located at 1000 Highway 5 West and receive admission for the remainder of the day at no additional cost.

What else can I do with my reservation?
After you have finished with your two-hour experience at Dundas Peak or Webster Falls, you may bring your reservation information to Christie Lake Conservation Area and receive admission to the area for the remainder of the day at no additional cost.

I'm having issues making a reservation on my mobile device?
We are experiencing some issues with some mobile browsers. If the reservation site is not working for you on your mobile device, please try a different browser or a desktop computer to complete your booking.

Can I bring my dog?
Yes, but they must be on a leash at all times, and you must clean up after your dog and dispose of the waste properly.

Can I go in the water?
No. It's not safe as water levels can change drastically with no warning. Absolutely no access is permitted to the water, for your safety and the ecological health of the area.

Can I go to the bottom of the falls?
No access is permitted to the base of the Spencer Gorge.  All former trails are closed and accessing those areas is trespassing.  There are heavy fines for trespassing. Also, if you fall or need assistance when off-trail, the only way out is through a rope rescue by local EMS.  Please stay on the trail at all times, for your safety and the ecological health of the area.

Why is there no link between the two areas?
There is no trail linkage between Tew and Webster Falls.

Can I bring my BBQ/picnic?
No, BBQing is not permitted anywhere in Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. There are no picnicking facilities.

Terms and Conditions

  • Parking reservations can be made up to 8 PM the day prior to your visit.  SAME DAY RESERVATIONS ARE NOT PERMITTED.
  • One vehicle per reservation, the registrant must be present. Vehicle licence must match reservation.
  • Maximum of six (6) passengers per reservation and vehicle.
  • Each car needs its own reservation.
  • Visits are 2 hours in length. Arrive and depart at your scheduled time.
  • Gate Attendant will ensure vehicle occupants match reservation/membership type.
  • Please bring your reservation confirmation, showing the date and time of your reservation, with you to show to gate attendant
  • HCA Membership pass holders will be required to present their pass upon arrival.
  • All visitors must have a reservation. No walk-in pedestrian traffic permitted without a reservation. No on-site reservations will be permitted.
  • No refunds are permitted. Changes to reservations are not permitted.
  • Please be aware there are no refunds for unused parking reservations.
  • Late grace period: we understand unexpected circumstances arise. Arrivals up to a maximum of 30 minutes after their scheduled time can be accommodated, however, you will still need to leave within the original 2-hour time slot; your departure time can not be extended.
  • Visitors who stay past their scheduled reservation period could incur fines and/ or vehicle may be towed.
  • Dogs and other pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Please clean up after your animal(s).
  • Picnicking is not permitted. Barbecues are not permitted. Misuse of membership or park reservation system may result in suspension or cancellation of membership, or park access.
  • Entry is subject to the Conservation Authorities Act, Ontario Regulation 109/90
  • Users must not deface, remove or damage any property in the Conservation Area. All Vegetation and wildlife are not to be disturbed in any way.
  • Hamilton Conservation Authority reserves the right to cancel park visits due to severe inclement weather and adverse trail conditions. Trail networks may close completely if safety hazards arise. Should your visit be cancelled, you will be notified by email and any fees will be refunded.
  • The Hamilton Conservation Authority reserves the right to bar entrance or eject any person, or persons whom the Authority deems detrimental to the Operation of the Conservation Area.
  • Hamilton Conservation Authority reserves the right to change these Terms & Conditions at any time, including the introduction of fees or penalties.

safety iconsThere are areas in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area that are fenced off and closed to the public for safety reasons.  Never climb or otherwise bypass this safety fencing.  The slopes and edges of the escarpment can be unstable and pose a fall hazard.  If a user falls in an escarpment area, the only way to assist them out of the area is through a rope rescue by the Hamilton Fire Department, who are trained to carry out these rescues safely.  There have been serious injuries to visitors that have attempted to access the gorge area.

  • The most important safety rule in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area is to stay on the trails at all times.
  • Keep well back from the edge of the gorge and escarpment areas, at least a body length. Adults should keep children and pets well away from these areas.
  • Please note that there is NO access available to the bottom of the falls.
  • No BBQing is permitted
  • Pets are permitted in the area, but must be on leash. Please clean up after your pet
  • Pack out what you pack in. Trash and recycling containers are provided in these areas. Do not litter, or leave garbage outside of the containers.

Please note: there is no trail linkage between Tew Falls and Webster Falls.  You will not be allowed entry into Dundas Peak with a Webster Falls parking reservation, or into Webster Falls with a Dundas Peak reservation.

  • Trails are recreational trails, consisting of packed earth in most areas.
  • Visitors must stay on the trail at all times for their own safety and the ecological health of the conservation area.
  • Good walking or hiking shoes should be worn to explore the trails.
  • Keep an eye out for tree roots, loose rocks and other walking hazards
  • The trails are on rugged terrain; most are not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. There is a staircase on the trail from Tew Falls to Dundas Peak.
  • A wheelchair-accessible lookout and paved trail area are available at Webster Falls.
  • Respect and share the trail with other users.  Follow directional signage on the loop trail at Dundas Peak
  • Respect neighbouring landowners by staying off private property, maintaining privacy for landowners, and avoiding excessive noise.

The Spencer Gorge Natural Area is made up of a southern-facing section of the Niagara Escarpment which overlooks the former town of Dundas. Spencer Creek and Logie’s Creek (also known as East Spencer Creek) flow through this area. Spencer Gorge is the central feature of this area. It is a y-shaped gorge that clearly illustrates the process of waterfall recession, with at least 10 stacked bowl-shaped basins that mark earlier positions of waterfalls along the gorge. The bowls decrease in size as you head upstream, marking reduced water flows. The oldest bowls measure between 190 to over 350 metres and about 60 metres deep, making them comparable to the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls.

On the steep cliffs of the gorge, eastern white cedars grow from crevices in the rock strata. Some of these twisted trees grow slowly because of limited nutrients and water. However, they can attain a great age. Two of them are over 500 years old. They grow almost side-by-side on the cliff beside Webster Falls.

The gorge is a distinctive landform and shows a near-complete section of the bedrock formations of the southern Niagara Escarpment. The vegetation in the area provides habitat for many rare and uncommon species. Over 500 different plants have been found by botanists, including several significant species: Canada Milk-vetch, Downy Fox Glove, Bearded Shorthusk, Kalm’s Brome, Tall Brome Grass, Canada Brome, Low Bindweed, American Chestnut, Hackberry, Slender Cliff-brake, Spotted Spurge, Naked-flowered Tick-trefoil, Goldie’s Wood Fern, Canada Wild-rye, River Bank Wild-rye, Black Huckleberry, Wandlike Bush-clover, Tulip Tree, Red Mulberry, Slender Satin Grass, Broadleaf Panic Grass, Switch Grass, Smooth Cliff-brake, Whorled Milkwort, Jack Aspen, Hairy Buttercup, Willow-leaved Dock, Little Bluestem, Sharp-leaved Goldenrod, Indian Grass, Tall Cord Grass, Rue-anemone and Perfoliate Bellwort.

Monarch butterflies have been recorded here as well as Eastern Milk Snakes, the Louisiana Waterthrush and the Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Spencer Gorge Conservation Area is a popular spot for viewing fall colour due to the wide array of plant and tree species in the area.

Tew Falls  (Alternative names: Hopkin’s Falls & Tunis Falls)
Type: Ribbon/Plunge
Height: 41 metres/125 feet
Width: 9 metres/27.4 feet
Source: Logie’s Creek

Logie's Creek tumbles 41 metres over the escarpment to form Tew Falls, just a few metres less in height than Niagara Falls. Though the flow of Logie's is substantially less that the main branch of Spencer Creek, the sheer height of the falls is what makes it such a stunning sight. There are two platforms just off the Bruce Trail that allow visitors to get a spectacular view of the falls and gorge below.

Tew Falls got its name from the Tew family. Johnson Tew came to Canada in the year 1874. He purchased Lot 12, Concession 2 in Flamborough Township included his land, the falls and ravine. He was elected a Municipal Councilor in 1905 and was Reeve of the Township of Flamborough for seven years between 1913 and 1926. He was elected Warden of Wentworth County of Wentworth for the year 1924. Johnson died on March 12th, 1948. The Spencer Creek Conservation Authority - forerunner of the HCA - bought the land from the family in the 1960’s.

Webster Falls (Alternative names: Spencer Falls, Hatt’s Falls, Flamborough Falls)
Type: Curtain/Plunge
Height: 22 metres/72 feet
Width: 30 metres/98 feet

One of the most stunning waterfalls in the Hamilton area, Webster Falls is formed by the main branch of Spencer Creek. One of two waterfalls within the Spencer Gorge, it is a beautiful, classical waterfall. With a crest of 30 metres it is also the largest in the region. The main falls has two overhanging drops with a short break in between.

The Webster family purchased the waterfalls and surrounding land in 1819. Their manor still stands on Webster's Falls Road, accessible only by foot from this area. Family gravestones have been preserved in a small area just off the parking lot. The cobblestone bridge crossing Spencer Creek just before the waterfall was built in 1936. The bridge became in serious need of costly repairs and was slated for demolition. The Greensville Optimists raised the necessary funds and reopened the bridge to the public July 1st, 2000.

There are several stories about Webster Falls in local folklore. One tells of the sad fate of an princess and her lover before Europeans arrived in the area. The princess daughter of an Attiwendaron chieftan lived with her father near present-day Westover. She was promised in marriage to a young chief of the Erie Nation. She, however, had fallen in love with a high-ranking man from the Seneca Nation. The girl's father threatened to imprison her unless she agreed to marry the chosen man, so the legend has it that the young lovers, seeing the hopelessness of their situation, decided that life without each other was impossible. Locked in each other's arms, they jumped over the precipice to meet their death in the rock pool below. When the water level is high and the air is filled with a silvery mist from the full moon, legend has it that the princess and her lover can be seen to rise to the edge of the precipice, where they again pledge their endless love.