You probably think I am hitting the pub for some local beers. Well yes, of course but that comes later! In fact, Hamilton is home to the third largest waterfall: the Devil’s Punchbowl – a one hundred metre wide, 37 metre high rock face that exposes 40 million years of geological history.
Off of the QEW, through the Niagara Escarpment and onto Ridge Road you will come up to a platform that overlooks Hamilton. From there, a trail descends down into the gorge. The first half of the hike is quite steep, but the second half evens out and there is a stairway that helps you down further. Travel up a creek and it will lead you directly into the base of the falls.
Water flows after rainfalls and during the winter snow melt, but other times of the year the Punchbowl does dry up fairly often (often a few trickles remain). When the bowl is dried up, you’ll see colourful layers of stratified rock – stone, sand and fossils deposited by ancient seas formed at the end of the last ice age by melted ice.
Tired and ready for a break? My friends and I enjoyed a home packed picnic at the base of the falls while spotting red cardinals, garden snakes, water spiders, dandy long legs, and even a pond full of tadpoles!
If after admiring the magnificent view of the Punchbowl you are still up for more hiking, you can follow the Bruce Trail looping through red oak and white pine forest for about 500 metres until it loops back. The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada – it is 840 km long with over 440 km side trails. After the hike, you’ll no doubt need to recharge, I suggest retracing your steps back to the beginning for some delicious apple pie at the Devil’s Punchbowl Farm Market.
Devil’s Punch Bowl - a perfect day in the Greenbelt for everyone – friends, families or even furry pals!