Hiking NB bloggers James and Vicki Donald share their top picks for waterfall chasing.
Waterfalls have been drawing people for millennia. They’re a break in a river or stream that show the true force of nature as they cut through rock. Waterfalls provide a unique habitat for critters and can be an exciting place to go for a swim. If you sit back and feel the mist wash over your face while listening to the rushing water, you will also find magic.
New Brunswick has many amazing waterfalls and most of them are easy to access. The following are our top 15 waterfalls to visit in the province. We hope they will also become your favourites.
1. PABINEAU FALLS
Pabineau Falls is the point where the Nepisiguit River is forced through a narrow opening in the surrounding rocks. The power of the water has carved out many rounded rocks and holes around the falls. One hole next to the falls is big enough for a person to fit inside. The large flat rocks that surround the falls provide endless viewpoints, but be cautious - this is not a waterfall you want to swim in. The current from the full force of the river is just too strong.
Access this waterfall by driving through Pabineau First Nations, near Bathurst. Continue along the river until you see the parking area near the falls. A more challenging and adventurous way to access the falls is by hiking the 20 km (12 mi.) section of the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail on the opposite side of the river.
2. FALL BROOK FALLS
At 33 m (100 ft.) high, Falls Brook Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in New Brunswick. Walton Glen Falls (below) is higher, but does not flow during the driest part of the summer. Mary Pitcher Falls, in the woods to the south of Sussex, is around the same height but tumbles over many steps to get to the bottom. Fall Brook Falls is a single drop. A deep pool at the bottom of the falls makes an excellent place for a swim. Floating on your back in the pool and looking straight up at the falls is an experience that we have found nowhere else.
Access for this waterfall is a short walk down a road to the Miramichi River, followed by a moderate walk up a short trail along the stream to the falls. An access fee is required at a gatehouse on the way to the falls.
For more information go to Fall Brook Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
3. WALTON GLEN FALLS
Walton Glen Gorge is known as the ‘Grand Canyon of New Brunswick’. The stream cuts a deep ravine through the forest on its way to Little Salmon River and the Bay of Fundy. Walton Glen Gorge Falls is a 42 m (140 ft.) waterfall that flows off one of the cliff faces and into the gorge.
There are two options to view this waterfall. We recommend them both if you have the time and the sense of adventure. The first is from the now easy to access lookout on the edge of Walton Glen Gorge. A short, 1 km (0.6 mi.) trail from the end of the Fundy Trail Parkway (P15 parking area) will take you to the lookout. The second option is to climb down into the gorge to the bottom of the falls. A trail enters the woods at a turnout on the main trail just before the lookout. This trail goes outside of the park boundary so be careful as the terrain is steep, treacherous, and difficult.
If you choose to go down into the gorge, you will pass by another amazing waterfall on the way. This is where the trail is the most difficult. If you continue down through the gorge you will also come to the Eye of the Needle, a place where the stream cuts through a narrow 2 m (6-ft.) wide opening with 61 m (200 ft.) cliffs on either side.
4. THIRD VAULT FALLS
Fundy National Park boasts some of most impressive waterfalls in the province. The highest is Third Vault Falls, with a drop of 16 m (52 ft.). The falls splits near the top with one stream coming straight over the rock and the other at an angle. This gives the falls a unique look. The falls drops into a deep, rocky valley just before the stream emerges into another stream. There are plenty of large rocks to explore below the falls. The valley is deep and well shaded, keeping it always cool.
The trail to the falls is mostly flat until near the falls when it drops down into the stream valley, following the streambed to the falls.
For more information go to the Third Vault Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
5. HAYS FALLS
As you drop down into the valley near Hays Falls you’ll hear the roar of the falls before you can see them. You will soon see the top of the falls through the trees. The full falls comes into view when you come around a rocky outcrop near the stream. This impressive 20 m (65 ft.) waterfall is one of the largest in the province. The sharp rocky face spreads the falls into many streamlets before it reaches the shallow pool at the bottom. It is also one of the easiest to access.
The trail gradually climbs through a beautiful forest over a distance of 2 km (1.2 mi.) before dropping down to the stream.
For more information go to the Maliseet Trail page on Hiking NB.
6. DICKSON FALLS
If you’ve seen pictures of Fundy National Park, you’ve probably seen Dickson Falls. After climbing down many steps, you will reach the valley bottom and emerge onto a boardwalk. The boardwalk climbs slowly up through the deep, mossy ravine, criss-crossing the stream. You will soon begin to hear the roar of the falls and feel the mist on your face. The boardwalk leads to a lookout platform just below the main falls. The waterfall cuts a path through the moss on the rocks. It flows into a small pool before spilling out over some smaller falls into the valley below. Enjoy a close-up view of the falls before climbing back up out of the valley on the many stairs.
For more information go to Dickson Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
7. SHEEPHOUSE FALLS
This is one of the first waterfalls I remember as a child growing up in Miramichi. My father used to take our family there for picnics. This is an amazing waterfall in the middle of the woods northwest of Miramichi. It is a 17 km (11 mi.) drive on a gravel road, but a short hike into the falls.
You will first come to a bridge over the smaller Lamb Brook Falls. Crossing the bridge will take you to a lookout platform far above the Sheephouse Falls valley. If you don’t cross the stream and continue past the bridge, you will soon come to an unobstructed lookout at the top of Sheephouse Falls. Just past this lookout is a long, steep staircase that will take you down below the falls. A rocky beach surrounds the large pool below the falls. The pool is about one metre (three feet) deep so a great place to take a swim. The water falls over a rocky ledge that is cut out underneath. You can walk underneath the falls, but be very careful since the rocks are wet and slippery.
For more information go to the Sheephouse Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
8. DRY BROOK FALLS
If you’ve explored Mount Carleton Provincial Park there’s a good chance you’ve been to Williams Falls. Deeper in the woods and harder to access is Dry Brook Falls on the Dry Brook Trail. As you hike up Dry Brook the deep valley starts to narrow in. You will pass by many beautiful and amazing waterfalls but keep going. At the top of the valley you will find the highest waterfall of them all. The top of the waterfall flows through what looks like a water slide before plunging the rest of the way into a pool below. After enjoying the waterfall, make sure you climb up the cliff face next to the falls and continue on the trail to Mount Carleton Peak.
For more information go to the Dry Brook Trail page on Hiking NB.
9. TETAGOUCHE FALLS
Peer down at the falls below from the lookout. Notice the large, old rusted pipe along the edge of the river above the falls that goes into the cliff beside the falls. This is part of the old dam that used to block the river at this site. A steep climb will take you down to the river’s edge below the falls to get a different view. Coming out of the cliff on the left you will find an old turbine from the dam. It is possible, but difficult to climb up on the flat rock past the turbine to get a good view of the falls. Another option is to wade across to the other side of the shallow stream. Rocks are sharp on the other side so make sure to wear wet shoes (I found this out the hard way).
A great place to explore near Bathurst, a beautiful place to swim, and a bit of history, make this a unique waterfall to visit.
For more information go to the Tetagouche Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
10. FULLER FALLS
The water tumbles to the right only to flow back to the left as it hits the rocks below. This unique waterfall is one of the most visited sites in the Fundy Trail Parkway. It has easy access to the lookout platform overlooking the falls. If you are looking for more adventure make sure to check out lower Fuller Falls. To get there hike down to Melvin Beach and stay left. Follow the stream up to the falls. There you will find bore holes in the rocks which were drilled by the rushing water over thousands of years.
For more information go to the Fuller Falls page on the Fundy Trail Parkway website.
11. WALLACE (QUIDDY) FALLS
Deep in the woods about 30 km (19 mi.) south of Sussex you will find Wallace Falls (sometimes called Quiddy Falls). To get there you will have to drive 9 km (6 mi.) on a gravel road but it is worth it. When you enter the woods, you will be following what was known as the Catamount Trail. At one time this was an extension to the Fundy Footpath that travelled all the way from the Sussex Bluffs to the Fundy Footpath on the coast. The trail fell into disrepair as focus was put on the maintenance of the Fundy Footpath but some sections are still in good shape like this one.
After a short distance, you will turn left and leave the main trail. This side trail descends to the Quiddy River valley below. There are steep stairs there to help you get down into the valley but they are old so be cautious. Once down in the valley you will hear the falls. As you walk up through the valley you will start to see the falls. The river narrows in to the falls and plunges 7 m (20 ft.) into a large, deep pool. The pool is surrounded by a nice gravel beach, which makes it the perfect place to go for a swim.
For more information go to the Wallace Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
12. WELSFORD FALLS
Welsford Falls, as with most waterfalls, changes with the seasons. The waterfall flows out over a rock face that spreads out the water into a curtain. In the spring it is a rushing torrent that covers the rock face while in the summer it divides into many small trickles of water that are spread out over the cliff. In the winter months the bushes in the valley get covered with a thick coating of ice making it otherworldly. The falls is only 400 m (0.25 mi.) from the road. In the winter however, you will need to add a 1.4 km (1 mi.) snowshoe each way on the access road.
Because the water slows down as it spreads out over the rock face there is not much of a pool at the bottom of the falls, but rock formations and smaller falls in the valley below are fun to explore.
For more information go to the Welsford Falls Trail page on Hiking NB.
13. SOUTH BRANCH OROMOCTO FALLS
When we first walked out on the viewing platform and looked down at South Branch Oromocto Falls we were surprised that we had never heard about this place before. The falls is a place where the river narrows in and funnels down through channels in the rocks.
The old road that leads to the falls is lined with what looks like fairy art. These colourfully painted, carved stumps would get any kids (or kids at heart) excited. Once you are done taking in the view of the falls you can read about the sad history of this site where a young man lost his life many years ago trying to get a log jam unjammed. You can almost picture what this valley would have been like filled with logs.
To get a different view of the falls take the trail down to the beach below. Here you can see the height of the falls and the deep river below.
For more information go to the Kirkpatrick Family Trail page on Hiking NB.
14. FALLS BROOK FALLS
This waterfall excursion will take you deep into the woods in the northwest corner of the province next to the Quebec border. Follow St. Joseph Road north of Edmundston. Then from Moulin-Morneault continue north for 16 more kilometres on Chemin Iroquois. Here you will find the short trail to Falls Brook Falls (not to be confused with Fall Brook Falls in Boiestown). Falls Brook Falls is a large waterfall that tumbles down over a cliff face. In the spring the water bounces off the rocks on the way down, filling the air with mist. On a sunny day the air around the falls is full of rainbows.
For more information go to the Falls Brook Falls Trail page.
15. EEL BROOK FALLS
Eel Brook Falls is the largest waterfall on Grand Manan Island. It tumbles down over a rough, rocky slope on its way to the gravel shore at Eel Brook Beach. The falls is part of the Lighthouse trail that travels for 40 km (25 mi.) around the coast of Grand Manan. The falls is nestled between Ashburton Head and the Seven Days Work rock formation. Ashburton Head is a rocky point that has been cleared by a fire and now provides spectacular views along the coast. Seven Days work is a beachside cliff that has seven different rock strata visible.
This waterfall is best to visit in the spring. On our last visit in July the waterfall was completely dried up and was just a strange rocky outcrop in the middle of the woods. If you get to the falls and it’s dry, make sure you continue down to Eel Brook Beach as a plan B.
For more information go to the Lighthouse Trail page on Hiking NB.
We had a hard time choosing our list of fifteen waterfalls when we wrote this post. There are still so many other waterfalls throughout the province that could be on the list. If you are looking for information on other waterfalls throughout New Brunswick, visit the Hiking NB trail list and search for waterfalls. You can also look for the waterfall symbol on any of the region or park maps.
If you visit any of the waterfalls promise me that you will take a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the sights and sounds, and feel the magic of these places. Think of the people who have visited this same place over thousands of years. If you have young kids you probably won’t get a couple of minutes to just sit, but you can find the magic through them if you look for it.
James and Vicki Donald are the creators of the Hiking NB website and Explore Everywhere Podcast. They are attempting to hike every trail in the province and have almost reached their goal. They share their adventures and trail information on the website, on the podcast, on social media, on radio and in magazines.