It is rare for this waterfall to be flowing with an impressive rage, that so many other falls we have visited.  Most of the time, it is barely a trickle.  Yet it is one of those places that grabbed me and held me tight when I arrived.

Hamilton calls itself the World Capital of Waterfalls.  It is rightly earned since this city is located on the Niagara Escarpment, and there are about one hundred named falls (and many more unnamed ones) in this area, and Devil’s Punchbowl is one of them.

If you go to the parking lot at the top, it offers a mediocre view of this waterfall. The problem is too many trees, and new growth obscures the view. I understand that keeping things in a natural setting is ideal, but it is okay to take a tree or two down to see sights in this situation.  

Even though the view of the falls could be better from the parking lot, the view of the city and of Lake Ontario is open to see.  There is a large cross that overlooks the city, and I presume it is to keep the devil in its place.

The best view is from inside the punchbowl.

On a visit to the top, I noticed that there were people inside the bowl. For us, seeing a waterfall from as many angles as possible is ideal. Seeing it in front, on the top, bottom, or even on the falls is something we do. We like to experience a destination as much as possible before moving on.

Checking my Google Maps, I see street parking in a residential area, and if I don’t mind walking a few blocks, there is easy access at the base of the conservation area.

Finding a parking spot was easy.

Walking to the lower entrance was easy.

Getting inside the punchbowl was not.

But the intensity of the experience is one that I never had at a waterfall or anywhere else.

The trails are just pathways that dozens, if not hundreds of people had walked before us.  I noticed no real, official trail system that would lead to the base of the Devil. It was more of a challenge than I initially expected.  Hiking on a steep slope at times that had very narrow pathways, sometimes just as wide as our foot, and damp.  Thankfully it was not muddy when we went, but I could see this place being on the side of dangerous after rain or in the spring thaw.  It is also a waterfall that I would not visit in the winter because of the steepness of the terrain.

We did find a safe path, like so many other people there at the time, exploring and discovering.  We discovered a lower fall that was not visible from up top or even from the street level below.  It was something that was worth exploring in its own right.

But the prize was getting inside the punchbowl.

I climbed/slid down a ledge.  Carefully traverse some wet rocks.  Hopped over a fallen tree and looked up.

I gasped.

I had entered the bowl.  Its size immediately overwhelmed me, and I felt small in the vastness of its shape.  The air was instantly cooler.  I stood there in awe.  

I was surrounded by colourful layered rock.  The only sound was that of the water; everything else was gone.  No sound of traffic.  No sound of people talking.  Just the water splashing on the rocks.  

I stood there for an unknown time before I forced my arms upward to take a picture.

Charlene and I have visited so many sites, many of them waterfalls and none of them compared to this moment.  I was small, insignificant, in this prominent beautiful geological feature, and I felt alone but also at one with the surroundings.  It was intense.

It was worth getting my hands and pants dirty for this spot.

  • There is paid parking at the top of the falls – it is rather expensive for a quick stop.
  • Street parking below is limited.
  • Getting to the base of the falls can be challenging, so be prepared with good hiking shoes and getting a little dirty.
  • Take your time!  Be sure you know where you are stepping.
  • Enjoy the scenery – there is no other place like this one.
  • Check out the location of this and all the other places I have travelled on Featured Maps for directions getting here.


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