the sound of water


Waterfalls & Water features

Unlike the falls around the Golden Horseshoe, most waterfalls in Cottage Country are not vertical. Some are just steep whitewater. But with over 600 lakes in the area, there’s always lots of water to keep them flowing year round, and they are just as fun to explore. While there is no shortage of easily accessible falls, there are also lots that are only accessible after a modest canoe or boat ride.

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Easy to find Waterfalls

We love wild water, and with good reason. The combination of rock, elevation, and water creates beautiful spaces to rest and explore: artists, photographers, fishers, and paddlers are drawn to these places. As well, solid research shows that spending time next to running water is a proven way to relieve stress. The air just feels different next to a cascading stream; a little more energized, a little cleaner. The sound of running water helps us find a space of our own, where the sounds of a busy world disappear and we can sit in contemplation.

Below we have the most recommended places to visit.

Buttermilk Falls
Even though it has been partially modified by a concrete sluiceway, this is an interesting site to explore. The falls is located along a short river that drains Halls Lake towards Boshkung Lake, 18 m below. The upper portion of the channel has been diverted into the sluiceway, about 3 to 4 metres wide. The concrete base of the channel allows the water to really pick up speed. When the water leaves the sluiceway, it blasts out on to the bedrock channel below, continuing its descent at about a 30 degree angle. The water finds its way downstream by bumping and sliding over the jagged gneiss bedrock. At higher flow the spray can be pretty good!Imagine a calm pristine lake and you are the only person fishing on it.
Furnace Falls

The falls are visible from the bridge as you cross the Irondale river. The passive park surrounding the site is a great place for a rest stop and the falls, while small, are picturesque. I’m not sure of the water depth downstream of the falls, but I remember the flows being safe enough in summer for children to wade just to the right of the above photo. This makes them quite accessible and easy to enjoy, if not producing the greatest of photos.

Gull River - Minden White Water Preserve

A natural canoeing and kayaking whitewater park in Minden, Ontario. Hiking Trails & Preserve borders on 600m of world class whitewater.

Hawk Lake Log Chute

In the late 1800s there were thousands of wooden chutes around the province and dozens in the county of Haliburton, but they’re all gone now.

There’s been a log chute on this site since 1861 and this chute is now the only one of its kind in Ontario.

This historic site is a testament to the tenacity and perseverance of the tens of thousands of men who made their living in the logging industry, and whose courage helped forged the communities of rural Ontario.

High Falls

High Falls of the North York River is another of the many “High” Falls in Ontario. This one is a 6m high slide located in Algonquin Provincial park. Below the main slide is a stretch of smaller, scenic drops. This is a wild waterfall with no signs, fences or viewing platforms. The only downside of this is that it is hard to get a unobstructed head on view of the falls.

Pack a picnic and spend the day slipping & sliding down the polished granite stone.  This popular swimming hole should be enjoyed with caution as the waters can be dangerous at certain times of the year. 

Ragged Falls

A rather large waterfall just before you enter Algonquin Park. There is a dedicated parking lot and lots of trails. There isn’t one big vertical falls for a photograph, but rather a long steep run.

Ritchie Falls

There are several small falls in this little passive park. The largest is right under the one-lane road bridge for Ritchie Falls Rd, while at least two others are found just downstream. These are small, but pleasant and quiet to visit. If you cross the bridge and walk a little further you will meet the Haliburton Rail Trail.



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