Home Canada Grey County Waterfalls Tour – A Beautiful Ontario Road Trip

Grey County Waterfalls Tour – A Beautiful Ontario Road Trip

by Valerie Vanr

Visit 8 Grey County waterfalls on this easy day trip.

Many of these falls tumble over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. All are surrounded by lush parkland with trails for more exploring, including the well-known Bruce Trail.

In any season, this tour is a great day trip or weekend getaway from Toronto, Ontario.

8 Waterfalls in Grey County

This tour visits these eight Grey County Waterfalls:

Enjoy them in whatever order works best for you. We’ve listed them from south to north.

Grey County Waterfalls Map

Grey County Waterfalls Map
Click on the map to access 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 also powered the local feed mill. The mill owner donated his land east of the dam for a park.

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

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 washroom. If you have a canoe or kayak, the pond is a great place to enjoy a quiet paddle.

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.

Water gushing over McGowan Falls
The lovely cascade waterfall is about 3 metres high.

To the west of McGowan Falls, the Saugeen River winds through the woods on its way to Lake Huron. The north side of the falls is in Durham Conservation Area but you can visit the falls from both sides of the river.

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

Durham Conservation Area

The sixty-hectare conservation area has both day use and camping options. With easy access to the three kilometres of the Saugeen River within the conservation area, it 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 and about two hundred campsites for overnight stays.  There are modern washroom/shower facilities and a sanitary dumping station.

Hoggs Falls

You hear the 7-metre high waterfall on the Boyne River before you see it. Often called one of Grey County’s best-kept secrets, it is surrounded by lush green cedars and ferns.

A sawmill, built upstream by William Hogg in the 1870’s, burnt in 1888. It was never rebuilt.

The area is crown land and 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 is one of the beautiful waterfalls on the Bruce Trail.
Bruce trail map Hoggs Falls Ontario
Enjoy a hike at Hoggs Falls. The 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 making about a 4.5-kilometre loop.  By walking only the main trail and the Lower Side Trail, the loop is less than a 2-kilometre hike back to the parking lot.

Eugenia Falls

The highest Grey County waterfall is Eugenia Falls. 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 late 1852. They found gold while exploring the gorge and the rush was on.  It was short-lived when 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 here. It powered a local mill and the lights of Eugenia and nearby Flesherton. 

Person powerhouse Eugenia Falls Conservation Area
This building 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 local power plant out of business.

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

Inglis Falls

The Sydenham River falls 18 metres over a series of limestone shelves of the Niagara Escarpment, making it one 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.

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

Inglis Falls Conservation Area

Hike in the conservation area on its more than seven kilometres of trails. They connect to the Bruce Trail for longer hikes. This area of the Niagara Escarpment is home to many species of ferns. You’ll find picnic facilities and a visitor information centre 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.

The conservation area is some of the land purchased by Peter Inglis in 1845. The Inglis family operated at least one mill here 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.

Weavers Creek Falls

Here you get 2 waterfalls in one; a plunge with a cascade on the side. Weavers Creek Falls is on private property. 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.

Person on log Weavers Creek Falls
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.

Harrison Park

The forty-hectare park of old-growth forest was donated to the city over a century ago. Weavers Creek winds through the park in the heart of Owen Sound. 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. There are basketball and tennis courts, an outdoor pool, children’s playground, and even mini-golf. The park also has a bird sanctuary, duck pond, paddle boats and a full service campground. Harrison Park Inn is open year-round for dining.

Jones Falls

The Pottawatomi River falls about 12 metres in a beautiful cascade over the Niagara Escarpment on its way to Owen Sound Bay. The easiest place to see Jones Falls is above them on the south side of the river.

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.

If you parked at the Owen Sound Transportation Company building on Highway 6, walk about 400 metres and cross the river over the metal Sid Pearce Bridge. If you parked on 10th Street West (Highway 6/21) at the point where the Bruce Trail enters the Pottawatomi Conservation Area, the lookout is just before you cross the bridge, about 100 metres from the road. Parking is limited on 10th Street.

To reach the second viewing spot at the base of the falls, follow the Bruce Trail into the conservation area 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.

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

Water flow is minimal during August and September. You may want to avoid visiting unless there have been heavy rains recently.

Pottawatomi Conservation Area

The conservation area showcases the 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.

Indian Falls

The most northerly waterfall on our Grey County waterfall tour is Indian Falls. 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
It is 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

This is Grey County’s largest community.  Located on the southern shore of Georgian Bay, Owen Sound is a great place to stay to explore the waterfalls. The city sits in a valley below the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. 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 more 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 tour?

All 8 waterfalls can easily be seen in one day.  The waterfall tour is 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 town of Owen Sound.  You’ll have more time to spend at the waterfalls and exploring the trails and nearby parkland.

Grey County Waterfalls Road Trip Map

Person at base of Jones Falls Ontario

Interested in more Itineraries? Sign up here.