Sixteen Mile Creek and the Niagara Escarpment
Two tributaries of the Sixteen Mile Creek wind their
way through the wooded and rocky landscape of
Hilton Falls. One creek cascades over the escarpment
forming a beautiful 10 metre waterfall while
the other creek flows through a series of beaver
ponds into a 35 acre reservoir that was built in 1971
for flood control and stream flow augmentation. The
heavily forested park is situated on Ontario's Niagara
Escarpment, which winds 725 km from Queenston
to the islands off the Bruce Peninsula.
The Niagara Escarpment was formed 450 million
years ago along the shore of a shallow tropical sea
that covered a vast area of Ontario and Michigan.
Skeletons of primitive sea creatures and debris from
ancient mountains were compressed into massive
layers of reef and sedimentary rock. These ancient
coral reefs formed a layer of amabel dolostone to
create the cap of the escarpment. Beneath this
layer are soft, easily eroded shales. Over
succeeding millions of years, erosion, glaciers,
ancient rivers and lakes, and the elements shaped
the escarpment into its distinctive craggy cliffs and
rugged slopes that can be seen today.
completes its loop down a steep hill and across
the Hilton Falls dam back to the start of trails.
The Sawmills of Hilton Falls
On the brow of Hilton Falls the remains of three
19th Century sawmills can still be found.
The first mill was constructed by Edward Hilton in
1835 and supplied Nassagaweya Township with
lumber. Unfortunately, Hilton supported William
MacKenzieís abortive rebellion in 1837 and had to
flee to the United States and leave his mill to fall
It wasn't until 1856, when George Park acquired
the property that Hilton Falls once again became the site of an active mill. The substantial stone
ruins that exist today, indicate that a well-built mill
building and dam were constructed by the Ancaster
doctor. Records indicate that an immense 40 foot
diameter water wheel powered the mill. Park sold
his operation in 1857 and it burned down in 1860.
Virtually nothing is known about the third and last
mill constructed by John Richards. It began operation
in 1863 and continued until it burned in 1867.
After the final mill burned, the water power of Hilton
Falls was no longer used.