Natural Habitats & Features
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Swayze Falls is located in Short Hills Provincial Park near St Catharines. At fifty feet high, the waterfall is dry for most of the year, and can also be known as “Dry Falls”, with just a trickle of water running down into the gorge. However, in early spring or after heavy rains, visitors will be treated to the waterfall in all its glory. Swayze Falls in the wintertime is also a must-see, with the waterfall freezing over leading to a spectacular view.
For easiest access to Swayze Falls, park at the Roland Road entrance and follow the Paleozoic Trail. A platform is provided to allow the easiest and best views of the waterfall.
WARNING: Please be careful when exploring the waterfall. The drop into the gorge is steep. Therefore take care when viewing the falls from above or stick to the viewing platform. If exploring the falls from below, be aware that it may be slippery and wet. A fall may result in serious injury or death.
Open Year-Round 8:00 am - Dusk
Directions to Roland Road entrance:
QEW exit 49 to Hwy 406 and drive approximately 13 km
Take Beaverdams Road exit toward County Road-67
Right (South) on Beaverdams Road
Left (west) on Merittville Highway
Third right (west) on Holland Road
Continue onto Roland Road.
On the right hand side you will see a car park with a Short Hills Provincial Park sign
Cross over the Peace Bridge
QEW exit 27 for McLeod Road toward County Road 49
Left (west) at McLeod Road
First right (north) on Montrose Road
Left (west) on Lundy's Lane
Continue onto Kings Highway 20/Kings Highway 58/Regional Road 20 and drive for 3.9 km
Right (north) on Merriteville Highway
Left (west) on Holland Road
Continue onto Roland Road until you see a car park with a Short Hills Provincial Park sign.
Directions to Pelham Road entrance:
QEW exit 51 for Seventh Street/County Road-34 R
Right (south) on 7th Louth Street
Left (east) on St. Paul Street West
First right (south) on 5th Louth Street
Left (east) on Pelham Road
Right (south) on Pelham Street North
Cross over the Peace Bridge
QEW exit 48 for Martindale Road toward County Road 38
Right (south) on Martindale Road and continue onto Louth Street
Right (west) on Pelham Road
Left (south) on Pelham Street North.
The falls were created 12,500 years ago after the Niagara Escarpment became free from a continental glacier, which caused the park area to be moulded into steep hills. The waterfall was originally 100 metres east of its current location, however it has retreated through erosion due to its combination of sedimentary rocks. Water seeps into cracks within the waterfall, freezing in winter where it expands and shatters the rock. This causes further erosion.
A number of fossils have been found at the site including dalmonites, dimercrinites and trimerus.
Due to its location in the Carolinian Zone of forests in Southern Ontario, 50% of the species in Short Hills Park are exotic. Rare plant species that can be found include the sassafras and black gum trees. Coyotes, white tailed deer, red fox, chipmunks and Meadow voles may be spotted, as well as the great horned owl, indigo bunting, bobolink and the scarlet tanager. The leopard frog, the eastern milksnake and the red-backed salamander are also found within the area, as are the swallow-tailed butterfly, orange sulphur and the great spangled fritillary.
Whilst in the park why not take advantage of the scenery and other trails on offer and go hiking, cycling, horseback riding or fishing. As well as the Paleozoic Trail, hikers can follow the Terrace Creek, Scarlet Tanager and Hemlock Valley trails. Cyclists and horseback riders may want to try out the Swayze Falls, Very Berry and Black Walnut Trails which have been designated for shared use. A number of smaller waterfalls can be found within the park as well as a wide range of plant and animal species.
Short Hills Provincial Park is also a great place to go fishing due to its inclusion in the Twelve Mile Creek watershed, with fish including Brown trout, Carp and Rock Bass amongst others.
Located within Short Hills Provinicial Park
Accessible Niagara lists Swayze Falls in their Outdoor activities/sports page.
Go Waterfalling Minor Waterfalls
Ontario Parks Short Hills Provincial Park
Toronto Hiking DeCew Falls, Swayze Falls & Rockway Falls
Waterfalls of Ontario Golden Horseshoe Index
This page was prepared by Rachel Marsh in December 2009.