Frozen falls make the coolest formations. Take a special winter hike to marvel at the water as it stands still for winter.
Kakabeka Falls, Oliver Paipoonge (west of Thunder Bay)
Prepare to experience awe. At 40 metres high, Kakabeka Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Ontario (the first being Niagara Falls). With year-round access, a stunning natural setting and excellent views from the boardwalk that wraps around the top of the falls, it’s impossible to be disappointed.
Hike level: Easy. The Boardwalk Trail is just 750 metres, linear and wheelchair accessible. It’s also close to the main parking lot.
Fun extras: There are also groomed cross-country ski trails in the winter.
The Falls at Sheila McKee Nature Trail, Dunrobin
Sheila McKee Nature Trail is a 2.4-kilometre loop near Ottawa. The frozen falls are cool, and the long row of frozen ice formations are great for exploring, and for kids (and adults!) to get hands-on with.
Hike level: Easy, with some slippery spots. The stairs down to the beach are more like an ice slide in the winter, so strollers and wheelchairs won’t work on that section of the trail.
Fun extras: The beach is beautiful in winter.
Inglis Falls, Owen Sound
Jeroen Kransen CC by SA 2.5
This 18-metre-high cascade is worth the hike it takes to get there. The Inglis Falls Trail, starting from Harrison Park, is a 6.3-kilometre out-and-back trail. As for the falls, which were formed by the Sydenham River meeting the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, they’re breathtaking.
Hike level: Moderate. Some sections of the trail have roots and rocks, so it's not stroller or wheelchair friendly. It can also be slippery. Those who are looking for a bit of a challenge will enjoy this one.
Fun extras: There are some cool formations, like geological potholes (that kids will love playing in), an old grist mill and some great picnic spots.
Albion Falls, Hamilton
This waterfall cascades over multiple rock “steps” which has a dramatic effect—especially when it freezes. At 19 metres high and 18 metres wide, Albion Falls are almost as wide as they are tall. It’s also very pretty, thanks to the surrounding trees and large rocks. (It’s basically the poster child for waterfalls).
Hike level: Easy. It’s a very short walk to the viewing platforms from the parking lot. Some brave souls make the hike to the bottom, but there is currently no official access.
Devil’s Punch Bowl Falls, Hamilton
What better place to search for frozen falls than in Hamilton, Ontario (aka the waterfall capital of the world)? At 37 metres high, Devil’s Punch Bowl Falls freeze into an icy formation that is a sight to behold. These falls are best viewed from the bottom, where you can see the coloured rock layers of the Escarpment.
Hike level: Short but moderate. It’s not a long hike but it is rugged, so it’s not wheelchair or stroller friendly.
Falls on the Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park
To go on a hike and see lots of little falls along the way (versus one big one) the Track and Tower Trail is the way to do it. This beautiful 7.5-kilometre loop offers so much more than just falls, including a breathtaking lookout over Cache Lake.
Hike level: Moderate. In the winter, crampons might be helpful in icy conditions.
Tiffany Falls, Hamilton
Another can’t-miss Hamilton waterfall is the 21-metre Tiffany Falls. Surrounded by a beautiful natural setting, you’ll love the forest as much as you love the frozen falls.
Hike level: Easy. It’s a 10-to-15-minute walk to the falls. The dirt path that leads there has a few stray roots and stairs up to the viewing platform, so leave the stroller at home.
Fun extras: When the temperatures dip low enough in the winter, you can go ice climbing here. Local business OneAxe Pursuits even offers ice climbing classes.
Tews Falls, Dundas
This stunning ribbon waterfall is the tallest in Hamilton at 41 metres. It’s also the beginning of the popular hike to Dundas Peak, which offers rewarding views in all seasons.
Hike level: Easy. To get to Tews Falls from the parking area, it’s about a five-minute walk. Though if planning to do the longer hike to Dundas Peak, it’s a bit more challenging.
Ragged Falls Provincial Park, Algonquin Highlands
Near Algonquin Provincial Park (which also has quite a few falls to check out) there is the popular Ragged Falls, the most horizontal of the bunch. The falls are 25 metres over a horizontal distance of 200 metres. This is a popular spot for those in search of some scenery and a great photo op.
Hike level: Short walk on a well-maintained trail. Hiking here in the winter is beautiful but might require snowshoes if there’s a fresh snowfall.
Princess Louise Falls, Ottawa
These falls look like they belong in a story book. They cut through the forest, but they’re actually in the middle of the suburb Orleans, not far from the road (or the closet Starbucks).
Hike level: Easy, short (and family friendly).