Onaping High Falls

May 28, 2007

Province: Ontario

Location: Dowling

Height: 150+?

Crest: 25

Water Source: Onaping River

Waypoint: 46.59091N 81.38048W

Summary: Onaping High Falls is one of the biggest and most interesting waterfalls in Ontario. It is easy to visit, and well worth the time.

Onaping High Falls, also known as Onaping Falls, or just High Falls, is located in Onaping Falls Ontario, just west of Dowling and about 35 km west of Sudbury. This is easily one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Lake Huron watershed, and one of the best waterfalls in all of Ontario. It is also very easy to visit.

The Onaping River drops over 150 feet here in a series of drops, the largest of which is the 30 or so foot final drop. Each of the individual drops is interesting and many would qualify as named waterfalls all by themselves elsewhere. A trail climbs up across the rock alongside the falls allowing you plenty of opportunities and vantage points to view different parts of the falls. It also provides the locals with easy opportunities to write graffiti on the rocks.

In addition to the falls, there are some fascinating rock formations to look at. The falls is located at the edge of the Sudbury Basin, a 2 billion year old impact crater. The whole area is geologically significant. Even if you do not know anything about rocks, you will probably find it interesting.

The falls are located just off of Hwy 144, about 35 km west of Sudbury, and 15 km north of Hwy 17. There is a small roadside park which offers some nice views of the falls, and is also the trailhead for the trail to the falls. There is a pedestrian bridge across the top of the falls, which leads to a nature trail through the woods on the far side of the falls. The park also has different types of rock on display, plus some old mining equipment.

You can easily spend hours here, exploring all the different parts of the falls. Plunge waterfalls are nice, but they do not offer the same sort of opportunity to explore that long cascades like this do. You can also take a lot of pictures.

[Lake Huron] Nearby Falls

Onaping Falls is somewhat isolated. There is a small cascade on the Vermillion River just a few km east of Onaping Falls. Chutes in Massey is about 110 km to the west. Bridalveil Falls on Manitoulin Island is about 160 km to the west. Duchesnay Falls is 160 km to the east. According to Geographical Names of Canada there are other waterfalls in the area, but I do not know how visitable they are.

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