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What are the best waterfalls to visit in Ottawa? We’ll show you!

What are the best waterfalls to visit in Ottawa We’ll show you!

Don’t go chasing waterfalls… unless they’re in Ottawa! Okay, so TLC might need to update their lyrics because we’re here to show you some hidden gems that would make them trade in their baggy pants for some hiking boots.

Believe it or not, there’s a whole other world of natural beauty hidden within this city, and we’re about to dive headfirst into the best waterfalls in and around Ottawa. Think cascading waters, mist-filled trails, and the kind of serenity you won’t find downtown. 

Waterfalls in Ottawa

Prince of Wales Falls

Media credit to frankielourenco

Location: 303 Park Rd, Chelsea, QC J9B 1T8, Canada


The Prince of Wales Falls (more commonly known as Hog’s Back Falls) might not be the most majestic cascade in the country, but they sure have a unique appeal that makes them an Ottawa must-see.

These falls are entirely human-made! Back in the 1800s, during the construction of the Rideau Canal, engineers built a dam to control the flow of the Rideau River. The result?  A set of cascading falls that weren’t there before. Talk about accidentally creating a tourist spot!

What makes this place worth visiting is the blend of history and nature. Imagine picnicking beside a waterfall that’s part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Plus, there are walking trails to explore and even the remains of the old rapids are visible when water levels are low.

Princess Louise Falls

Media credit to patrickviau

Location: St Joseph Blvd, Ottawa, ON K1C 1T1, Canada


This waterfall feels far from its urban surroundings. There’s even a hint of royalty in the air: legend has it that Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, was so drawn to the falls she may have even sketched their beauty (though, sadly, no such sketches have been found).

The journey to Princess Louise Falls adds to the allure. A quick drive from Ottawa brings you to its hidden location off St. Joseph Boulevard. Just be prepared for a short hike, and perhaps a slightly daring descent down a small rock face to reach the base (watch your step, especially when wet!). 

And if you’re a photographer, this is your haven! The falls’ shaded spot creates beautiful, even light, perfect for capturing the silky flow of the water in your shots.

Rideau Falls

Media credit to ottawatourism

Location: 50 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON K1M 2K1, Canada 


Rideau Falls holds a unique place in Ottawa’s story.  The very name ‘Rideau’ (French for ‘curtain’) reflects their appearance. Plus, these falls were a major reason why the Rideau Canal was built in the first place – engineers needed a way to tame the waters for safe navigation. 

Accessibility is their other superpower. You can admire these falls in multiple ways: from Major’s Hill Park, overlooking them with Parliament Hill as a backdrop, or up-close from boat tours on the Ottawa River. There’s even a pub with a patio (Tavern on the Falls), offering a front-row seat to the watery spectacle. 

Want a truly unique experience? The falls freeze in winter, creating a fantastical ice sculpture!

Chaudière Falls

Media credit to ottawatourism

Location: 100 Laurier Ave, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1, Canada


There’s no doubt that Chaudière Falls is Ottawa’s hidden powerhouse. It’s a place where untamed natural beauty intertwines with industrial might and deep cultural significance. Its name, “Chaudière” (French for “cauldron”), perfectly describes the falls’ energetic descent. 

For centuries, Chaudière Falls has been a sacred site for the Algonquin Anishinaabe people, known as Akikodijwan, or “kettle falls”. Its strategic location made it a hub for trade and travel. 

Then came the industrial era, and the falls were harnessed for power, fueling everything from sawmills to hydroelectricity plants. Today, you can still spot remnants of this industrial past surrounding the falls.

Keeley Falls

Media credit to davecathyo

Location: 952J+FV, Ottawa, ON, Canada


You see, Keeley Falls is entirely man-made. It was created by Tom Keeley, a beloved figure in Nepean’s Parks and Recreation department. He didn’t just design the falls, he played a pivotal role in shaping the beautiful Andrew Haydon Park where they reside. 

So, why visit? This waterfall offers a relaxing nature escape without venturing too far from the city core. It’s perfect for picnics, quiet strolls along the water’s edge, and soaking in that small-town-waterfall vibe. You might even spot locals fishing nearby! 

Waterfalls near Ottawa

Cumberland Falls

Media credit to destined2roam_tv

Location: 3200 Old Chelsea Rd, Chelsea, QC J9B 1G4, Canada


While not technically within Ottawa’s borders, this waterfall is well worth the short drive for its beauty, accessibility, and the bonus charm of a quaint village setting.

Sometimes referred to as the “Little Niagara” or the “Niagara of the South”, Cumberland Falls features water tumbling over limestone ledges in a multi-tiered formation. It’s a visually appealing sight surrounded by greenery, offering easy access and multiple viewpoints via trails.

The nearby village of Cumberland adds to the experience. It boasts antique shops, cozy cafés, and a friendly small-town atmosphere. 

Wilson Carbide Ruins

Media credit to ourcrazyrv

Location: Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada


Wilson Carbide Ruins doesn’t boast a classic, thundering waterfall (hence the name, ruins). However, it DOES rank high on our list of enchanting spots near Ottawa. 

Think crumbling industrial remains juxtaposed with a gentle cascade falling into a beautiful pool – it’s a photographer’s dream with a dose of history thrown in!

Here’s the backstory: back in the early 1900s, inventor Thomas “Carbide” Willson built a fertilizer plant tucked away in the woods by Meech Lake (now part of Gatineau Park). Sadly, the venture failed, leaving behind the ruins of a factory and a dam that created a small but charming waterfall.

Luskville Falls

Media credit to outdoor.happens

Location: Luskville, Quebec J0X 2G0, Canada


The adventure to this fall kicks off with a moderately challenging 4.3 km uphill hike. The rocky trail leads you through the forest and climbs 300m in elevation, rewarding you with panoramic views of the Eardley Escarpment and the Ottawa Valley. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter two main lookout points – Pontiac Lookout and the aptly named Lusk Lookout. Then, finally, you’ll reach Luskville Falls, cascading down the escarpment.

Luskville Falls offers that satisfying feeling of discovering a hidden treasure, a slice of true wilderness nestled within the park. Plus, the views from the top are seriously breathtaking.

Almonte River Walk

Media credit to jeongyun.l

Location: Mississippi Mills, ON, Canada


Now, technically, the Almonte River Walk features a series of cascades, not a true waterfall. But who’s splitting hairs when you have this much natural beauty?  

Nestled in the historic town of Almonte (about a 45-minute drive from Ottawa’s core), the river walk is perfect for a nature fix with a side of small-town vibes.

Since you’re in Almonte, treat yourself! The town’s got adorable shops, delicious eats, and even a museum (Mississippi Valley Textile Museum!)  if you crave some history with your nature.

Quinn Creek Falls

Media credit to cornett

Location: Regional County Municipality, Quebec J0W 1N0, Canada


Tucked away in Montcerf-Lytton (which, let’s face it, sounds like a place straight out of a fairytale), this waterfall is about a 1.5-hour drive from Ottawa. But don’t let the distance fool you: Quinn Creek packs a big personality.

Although this waterfall isn’t huge, it still has beautiful multi-tiered cascades with a good volume of water (especially in spring or after rainfall). It’s the kind of waterfall you want to linger near.

At night, Quinn Creek gets LIT… literally. Coloured lights illuminate the falls, adding an almost otherworldly vibe. Love it or find it a bit cheesy, it’s undeniably unique.

Plaisance Falls

Media credit to cornett

Location: 200 chemin Malo #168, Plaisance, Québec, Canada


Nestled in Plaisance National Park, (a quick jaunt across the border from Ottawa), this waterfall is a force to be reckoned with. With a drop of over 63 meters (over 200 feet!), it’s one of the tallest in the region. 

On top of this, Plaisance Falls offers trails that take you right up close, giving you incredible views from every angle. Bring a picnic and make a day of it – this is the kind of place you’ll want to savour.