Experience the Wonder of Autumn

Discover Cedar Falls Conservation Area

It is a perfect blue sky, golden tree autumn afternoon the day I drive to Cedar Falls Conservation Area. Tucked away in the shadow of the mighty Kakabeka Falls, Cedar Falls is not a well-known spot, but it is one of the many conservation areas maintained in the Thunder Bay area by the Lakehead Regional Conservation Authorityand it is definitely worth discovering.

cedar falls sign

It might not be well-known, but it is clearly well-loved, I realize when I pull into the parking area and step from the car onto a manicured lawn within a wide ring of towering poplar trees, white trunks blazing against fiery yellow crowns.

Located at the very end of Broome Road, Cedar Falls is reached by driving past Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park and turning left onto Highway 590. Two more lefts, first on to Garbutt Road and then Broome Road, lead directly to this spring-through-fall conservation area.

Trail with leaves

I plunk my $2 parking fee into the metal box at the trailhead before setting out. The trail is wide and welcoming, meandering easily through patches of glowing yellow trees and disappearing around corners into dark, cool tunnels created by the intertwining arms of evergreens. The air is filled with the warm familiar smells of autumn, mixed with the tingling scent of pine.


As the trail descends into the narrow valley through which the Cedar River runs, sounds of rushing water filter enticingly up through the trees. I come upon a set of well-maintained, wide wooden stairs with a metal railing on each side that makes quick work of the steep slope. The trail continues through the trees, leading to another set of stairs not too far along, and before I know it, I am at the river. It took less than 20 minutes to reach these stairs that deliver me directly to the riverbank, where the falls tumble down a short drop and cut a fast-moving channel through angular rock.

water fall

It is a peaceful setting, and at the top of this second set of stairs, there is a bench encouraging hikers to sit a while. Just beyond that, a narrow footpath descends to the water again and follows its rocky bank for a short distance downstream as it makes its way to join the Whitefish River.

water and rocks

About Heather Peden

Heather Peden is a writer, blogger and photographer living in Neebing, Ontario, a rural neighbouring municipality south of Thunder Bay. Heather has a passion for what she calls “life in the wilds of Northwest Ontario”, and it's reflective in her blog, “Three Dogs and a Couch,” and photoblog “Light Sifting.”

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