Published July 2017
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 10 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.
2. FALL BROOK FALLS
At 33 metres (100 feet) 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 in an experience that we have found nowhere else.
Access for this waterfall is a short walk down a road to the river, then 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 Info.
3. WALTON GLEN FALLS
There are two options to view this waterfall and we recommend them both if you have the time and the courage. The first is from the lookout on the edge of Walton Glen Gorge. This gorge is known as the ‘Grand Canyon of New Brunswick’. The stream cuts a deep valley through the forest on its way to Little Salmon River and the Bay of Fundy. The second option is to climb down into the gorge to the bottom of the falls. You will pass by another amazing waterfall on the way. Be careful as the terrain is steep, treacherous, and difficult. The waterfall plunges off a rock-face across from the lookout and is an amazing site to see.
This waterfall is the most difficult on the list to access, which is done through ATV trails in the woods south of Sussex. For more information go to Walton Glen Gorge Trail Info.
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 metres (52 feet). 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 Third Vault Falls Trail Info.
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-metre (65 foot) 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 kilometres before dropping down to the stream. For more information go to Maliseet Trail Info.
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 Info.
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 to the north of Miramichi. It is a 17-kilometre 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. Cross the stream and it will take you to a lookout platform far above the Sheephouse Falls valley. Continue along the same side of the stream and you will come to a lookout at the top of Sheephouse Falls. If you are adventurous and able you can climb down into the valley below the falls. A rocky beach surrounds the large deep pool below the falls. 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.
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 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.
Dry Brook Trail is accessed from Bathurst Lake.
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 a large valve from the dam. A great place to explore, a beautiful place to swim, and a bit of history make this a unique waterfall to visit. This waterfall is also accessible in winter and makes for a beautiful frozen landscape.
For more information go to the Tetagouche Falls Trail page.
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 probably the most visited site in the Fundy Trail Parkway. It has easy access to the lookout platform below 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.
As always, we’ve had a hard time making a Top 10 list. There are so many other waterfalls throughout the province that could be on the list. If you’re 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. They have been attempting to hike every trail in the province for the last 6 years and have almost reached their goal. They share their adventures and trail information on the website, on social media, and on CBC radio.
Or plan your own adventure right now at TourismNewBrunswick.ca