Waterfalls Detail: These waterfalls are on private land owned and managed by the Pabineau First Nation. The area is accessible to the public and people are encouraged to visit these what is best described as a series of very large rapids. The strong water and great open view makes this area a popular site to visit. There is still development being done on the area, such as new trails, garbage cans, and interpretation signs about proper fishing etiquette.
The Nepisiguit River squeeze through a maze of granite boulders as it roars towards the Bay of Chaleur. The Pabineau area is ancient fishing area for the Mi’k Maq Indians, who for centuries made their way down to their summer villages along the Bay of Chaleur. It also became famous among sport fishermen in the 1800’s as Moses Perley, guided many American sports up the Nepisiquit to fish at Pabineau, Chain of Rocks and Grand Falls. The river is the main drainage for the Bathurst Lakes which are nestled in the shadow of Mount Carleton, New Brunswick’s highest mountain at 843 meters.
It is relatively easy to find the falls. Take the exit off of Route 11 to Route 430 and head in a westerly direction toward Rough Waters and Big River and drive approximately 4.5 Km until you come to a Y in the road. Stay to the left and this road heads into the Pabineau First Nation. Continue on for approximately 5.5 Km. Eventually the road turns into a gravel road. Continue on and you will cross over the Pabineau River. You will lose sight of the Nepisiquit River but within a few minutes you will see it on your left and then the access road and parking at the falls.
Visit Information: I arrived at the falls during the spring freshet. The thunder of the Nepisiquit forcing its way through and around the granite rocks was deafening. Ferocious is the best word to describe the cataracts on this particular afternoon. I was impressed by the volume of water, the maze of granite boulders and was totally mesmerized by the un-inhibited power of nature. One false step as I made my way over and around the large flat boulders would be disastrous.
I sat on one of the large flat rocks watching the torrent and could only imagine the mighty Atlantic Salmon struggling as they followed their instinct to return far up river to spawn. As I walked back to the car I saw several orchids.