Home Canada Grey County Waterfalls – A Beautiful Ontario Road Trip

Grey County Waterfalls – A Beautiful Ontario Road Trip

by Valerie Vanr

Visit 8 incredible waterfalls on our relaxing road trip through Ontario’s Grey County. Enjoy the surrounding parkland with trails for more exploring, including the well-known Bruce Trail which follows the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Our road trip is a great day trip or weekend getaway from Toronto, Ontario in any season.

8 Waterfalls in Grey County

Grey County has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ontario. Our road trip visits these eight Grey County Waterfalls. Enjoy them in whatever order works best for you. We explore them from the south to the Owen Sound waterfalls in the north.

Grey County Waterfall Tour Map

Grey County Waterfalls Map
Click on the above Grey County waterfall map for an interactive version.

Holstein Dam

The most southerly of the Grey County waterfalls is in the village of Holstein. Norman Reeves Creek was dammed in 1881 during construction of the railroad. The dam created the lovely pond and 5-metre waterfall visible today.

Grey County Waterfalls Holstein Dam Ontario
The Holstein Dam is about 5 metres high.

The dam powered the local feed mill. The mill owner donated land east of the dam for a park, now Jubilee Park. Walk the multi-use trails around the pond and over the dam. The park includes a children’s playground, picnic area and pavilion, a ball diamond and public washrooms. Bring your canoe or kayak for a quiet paddle on the calm pond.

Millpond playground equipment Jubilee Park Holstein Ontario
Enjoy the mill pond and Jubilee Park’s playground equipment.

McGowan Falls

This lovely, cascade waterfall in the town of Durham is about 3 metres high. The whirlpool below McGowan Falls is a popular spot on hot summer days. From the whirlpool, the Saugeen River winds west through the woods on its way to Lake Huron. The falls can be accessed from both sides of the river.

Water gushing over McGowan Falls
On a hot day, enjoy the whirlpool below lovely McGowan Falls.

The north side of the Saugeen River is in Durham Conservation Area. The 60-hectare conservation area has both day-use and camping options. With easy access to three kilometres of Saugeen riverfront, the conservation area is popular with salmon and trout fishermen. Hike several short, looped trails through the woods and along the limestone bluff.

Picnic shelters are available for day users. There are about two hundred campsites for overnight stays with modern washroom/shower facilities and a sanitary dumping station.

People enjoying Saugeen River McGowan Falls
The Saugeen River is popular with salmon and trout fishermen.

Hoggs Falls

The 7-metre high waterfall on the Boyne River is heard before being seen. Often called one of Grey County’s best-kept secrets, the falls are surrounded by lush, green cedars and ferns. The waterfall is named for William Hogg, an entrepreneur who built a sawmill upstream of the falls in the 1870’s. It was destroyed by fire in 1888 and never rebuilt.

The area is crown land, part of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. The falls are about a 5-minute walk from the parking lot along the main Bruce Trail.

Two people background Hoggs Falls
Hoggs Falls behind us is one of the beautiful waterfalls on the Bruce Trail.
Bruce trail map Hoggs Falls Ontario
This Hoggs Falls trail map shows the main trail and the 2 side trails in the area.

For a longer hike, continue along the main trail and take the Upper Side Trail (follow the blue trail blazes). When it loops back to the main trail, turn right and hike to the Lower Side Trail (more blue blazes). This trail returns to the parking lot, creating a 4.5-kilometre loop.  By walking only the main trail and the Lower Side Trail, the loop back to the parking lot is less than 2 kilometres. We walked the shorter loop.

Eugenia Falls

This is the highest Grey County waterfall. Water plummets 30 metres, over the Niagara Escarpment, into the steep-sided Cuckoo Valley gorge. While definitely an impressive waterfall, thick vegetation and safety barriers make seeing the full waterfall difficult.

Eugenia Falls Grey County Waterfalls
Eugenia Falls is about 30 metres high.

The waterfall is only a 5-minute walk from the parking area in Eugenia Falls Conservation Area. The Bruce Trail follows the edge of the escarpment through the conservation area. The area is day-use only with picnic tables and washroom facilities. (Parking fees apply.)

The falls and gorge were first noticed by settlers in the 1850’s. They found gold while exploring the gorge and the rush was on.  It was short-lived. The “gold” turned out to be worthless pyrite aka Fool’s Gold.

Over the next forty years, a number of local mills were powered by the waterfall. Around 1890, William Hogg built one of Ontario’s earliest hydroelectric plants just above the falls. It powered a local mill and the lights of Eugenia and nearby Flesherton. 

Person powerhouse Eugenia Falls Conservation Area
I was baffled by this building. We learned that it is all that remains of the powerhouse at Eugenia Falls.

By 1912, the newly created Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission had purchased property in the area. They built a dam to the east, upstream, creating Lake Eugenia. The flow of water over the falls decreased putting the Eugenia Falls power plant out of business.

Lake Eugenia is a popular spot for boating and fishing with many cottages along its shores. The public beach is at the end of Canrobert Street in the village.

Now let drive northward and visit the 4 waterfalls near Owen Sound.

Inglis Falls

The Sydenham River falls 18 metres over a series of limestone shelves of the Niagara Escarpment. It is the most impressive of the Grey County waterfalls. Inglis Falls can be seen from the paved walkway or the viewing platform. On a clear day, look down the valley to see Owen Sound and the harbour.

Peter Inglis purchased land adjacent to the falls in 1845. The Inglis family operated at least one mill on site, continuously, for 87 years. There was always a grist mill but the family also owned a sawmill and woollen mill. All that remains of the mills are the two millstones on display near the waterfall.

Inglis Falls Ontario
The Sydenham River at Inglis Falls powered mills operated by the Inglis family for over 85 years.

Inglis Falls Conservation Area is some of the Inglis land. Enjoy a hike on the more than seven kilometres of trails which connect to the Bruce Trail for longer hikes. This area of the Niagara Escarpment is home to many species of ferns. Picnic facilities and a visitor information centre are by the parking area. (Parking fees apply.)

Two millstones Inglis Falls Ontario
These millstones are all that remain of the water-powered mills at Inglis Falls.

Weavers Creek Falls

This Grey County waterfall is a bit off the beaten path. The only way to get to it is through Harrison Park. Walk the public boardwalk starting at the swimming pool in the north end of the park. The falls are about 300 metres away. They are actually two waterfalls in one; a plunge with a cascade on the side. Weavers Creek Falls is on private property.

Person on log Weavers Creek Falls
Andy found a dry way to get a picture of Weavers Creek Falls
Walk boardwalk Weavers Creek Falls
Walk the boardwalk beside Weavers Creek to get to the pretty waterfall.

Forty-hectare Harrison Park is a stand of old-growth forest donated Owen Sound over a century ago. Weavers Creek winds through the park in the heart of the city. Trout and salmon are often seen in the spring attempting their upstream migration to spawn.

Local hiking trails and the Bruce Trail run through the park. Find basketball and tennis courts, an outdoor pool, children’s playground, and even mini-golf. The park has so many thing to do. There is a bird sanctuary, duck pond, paddle boats and a full service campground as well. Harrison Park Inn is open year-round for dining.

Jones Falls

The water of Jones Falls, a beautiful cascade waterfall, drops 12 metres over the Niagara Escarpment, on its way to Owen Sound Bay. The waterfall is within the Pottawatomi Conservation Area with the characteristic high cliffs and steep slopes of the Niagara Escarpment. There are a number of hiking paths including the Bruce Trail and several of its side trails.

Upper view Jones Falls Ontario
View from the upper viewpoint at Jones Falls
Sid Pearce Bridge Jones Falls Ontario
Sid Pearce Bridge on the Bruce Trail just above Jones Falls.

The easiest place to see the waterfall is from the lookout on the south side of the Pottawatomi River above the waterfall. There are two parking areas close to the lookout. Park at the Owen Sound Transportation Company building on Highway 6. From the trailhead, walk about 400 metres and cross the river over the metal Sid Pearce Bridge. There is also parking on 10th Street West (Highway 6/21) at the point where the Bruce Trail enters the Pottawatomi Conservation Area. The lookout is just before the bridge, about 100 metres from the road. Parking is limited on 10th Street.

The second viewing spot is at the base of the falls deeper into the conservation area. From the upper lookout, follow the Bruce Trail for about 250 metres. A trail marked with a blue blaze (the Memorial Forest Side Trail) veers sharply right through a crevice. Walk down the steep hill and over loose rock to the falls.

Be aware that this waterfall, like several of the Grey County waterfalls, has very low water flow during the months of August and September without heavy rainfall.

Person beside Jones Falls Grey County Waterfalls
Jones Falls is about 12 metres high. Andy is about 1.8 metres.

Indian Falls

This is the most northerly Grey County waterfall on our road trip. It is a beautiful 15-metre, horseshoe-shaped, bridal-veil waterfall. The soft shale beneath the hard limestone of the Niagara Escarpment is being eroded back, like Niagara Falls, but on a much smaller scale. The flow in the summer and early fall is only a trickle but that’s when the rock layers can really be seen.

Indian Falls Grey County Waterfalls
Indian Falls is a bridal-veil waterfall.

From the parking lot in the village of Balmy Beach, the trail follows the Indian River and climbs the side of the gorge. The terrain can be rocky, wet and rough. There is a staircase to help with the climb up the gorge. Once at the top, follow the well-worn path to the falls. It is about 700 metres to the falls. Sturdy footwear is also a help. The trail is closed during winter months.

Base of Indian Falls Ontario
The waterfall is eroding the rock layers of the Niagara Escarpment just as it does at Niagara Falls.
Climbing up crevice Indian Falls Ontario
Andy found the spot where it was possible to descend through an opening in the upper part of the escarpment and work your way to the base of the waterfall.

Owen Sound

Grey County’s largest community, Owen Sound is located on the southern shore of Georgian Bay, in a valley below the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. This is a great place to stay to explore the waterfalls. It offers access to many different outdoor activities. Enjoy boating and fishing in nearby Georgian Bay, hike the Bruce Trail, or cycle on area rail trails. In the winter, enjoy the snowmobile trails, cross-country and downhill skiing areas. There are many restaurants, museums and galleries.

Visitor Center Owen Sound Ontario
The Owen Sound Visitor Centre has info about the many things to do in the area.

Know Before You Go

What is the Best Time to visit Grey County waterfalls?

The best time to see the falls is spring and early summer, when heavier water flow creates more dramatic waterfalls.  Visit in autumn to enjoy the fall colours.  In winter, the ice-draped falls give a different perspective.

How long does it take to complete the Grey County Waterfalls road trip?

All 8 Grey County waterfalls can easily be seen in one day.  This a great day trip from Toronto.  The first waterfall is located just 2 hours from Toronto.

Better yet, turn this into a weekend trip.  Stay overnight in the pretty Owen Sound.  Enjoy more time at the waterfalls and exploring the trails and nearby parkland.

Person at base of Jones Falls Ontario

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