The picturesque Darnley Cascade, at 225 metres above sea level, is at the highest elevation of any waterfall in the Hamilton area. But, at 4 metres, it has the smallest drop.
Darnley Cascade is located in Crooks Hollow, founded by James Crooks, a Scottish immigrant who came to the area in 1805. The Hollow had its industrial beginnings in 1801, when Jonathan Morden built a sawmill on Spencer Creek. James Crooks built the area’s first gristmill, completed in 1813, and named it after his hero, Lord Darnley. By 1829, this area contained the Darnley gristmill, a woollen mill, tannery, a distillery, linseed oil mill, cooperage, a general store, clothing factory, foundry, paper mill, agricultural implement factory, log cabins for workers and an inn. The cascade was named after the Darnley Mill, which was gutted by fire in 1934, leaving only the ruins.
As you look upstream from Crooks Hollow Road, with the mill to your left, you will be able to see the cascade, signs of the former James Crooks dam and the mill race. In the background is the present-day Christie Dam and Reservoir.
From the 403, exit onto Highway 6 North. From Highway 6, turn left on Highway 5. Turn left on Brock Road and right onto Harvest Road. This will turn into Crooks Hollow Road. The conservation area and parking will be located on your left. Walk west along Crooks Hollow Road to the bridge where the Darnley Mill Ruins are visible on the north side of the road.