Hays Falls

Waterfall Details: Hays Falls is found on the Maliseet Trail which is off of Route 2, the old TCH, between near the town of Woodstock. There is a large white signed marked “Maliseet Trail” marking the trailhead. A horse-pasture is located down over a hill opposite the trailhead. Hays Brook is named after A.R. Hay who owned the property in the 1890’s. The mouth of the brook, prior to 1967, when the Mactaquac Dam was built, was at the Maliseet village, Medoctec, which means “End of Route”

The hiking trail is well developed, marked with blue metal blazes with white diagonal bars and maintained by the province. The hike in is 1.7 km. The falls drops 20 meters and is a good example of a veil falls, where the water spreads across the exposed bedrock as it falls. Hiking trails give access to both the top and the bottom of the waterfall.

The history of the 200 km trail encompasses several thousand years. Over the last century, this ancient pathway drew the attention and interest of historians such as William Francis Ganong who were intrigued with its importance to the semi-nomadic peoples we now call the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot First Nations. Reports of portage trails led to speculation in the 1800s that the trail was the earliest evidence of man in Eastern North America. The Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Trail is part of the historic portage and canoe transportation route linking the St. John River system with the Penobscot River in Maine.

Trip Details: My last visit to Hays Falls was in November 2007. There was no snow on the ground but never the less the trail was frozen and crunchy underfoot. The air was very crisp and refreshing as I walked up the trail to the falls. At this time of year not much sunlight reaches the bottom of the gorge and the trail down to the base was slippery. The waterfall was already starting to freeze along the edges and the only sunlight reaching the face of the gorge was reflected by the ice and water. I sat at the edge of the falls for about ½ hour enjoying hot tea and a sandwich. The Maliseet Trail and Hays Falls are one of my favorite locations to hike and visit.

My son Eammon and I visited the falls today, Victoria Day, 2008. We met several people leaving when we arrived. Our visit lasted 20 minutes until a fast moving thunder storm moved in and chased us out. This storm had 1/8 inch hail that pelted us as we made our way to the trailhead.