Waterfalls of New Brunswick » Blog Archive » Rat Tail Falls
Waterfalls of New Brunswick
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Waterfalls Detail: Lumsden Road is still used and was once the main road from Lumsden Settlement to the village of Riverside Albert. The land was granted in about 1878 and by 1894 all the original settlers moved away. The settlers remained 16 years. This is rugged country and the early settlers must have experienced hardship when they first homesteaded along these lofty hills. Mining in the area developed around 1901 and eventually buildings and houses were erected in 1913.
Near the road where the brook has its beginnings is an old mine shaft where local folklore has it that gold was mined and that prospectors used the brook to pan for gold. The 1930 Mines Canada Geological Survey Map (Map 243A) indicates a Lumsden Mine near the road. Tailings from the excavation can still be seen as well as the old shaft. A Mineral History Record from Natural Resources reports: Friday May 22, 1903 “For the past few weeks work has been vigorously pushed at the Lumsden Mine situated a distance of about six miles from Albert, A. Co., by the energetic lessee’s, M.D. Fullerton and Alba Anderson. One pure gold nugget of considerable size was taken from the mine during the past week, also valuable leads of copper and silver have been struck, and considerable excitement is being manifested.”
These directions assume access to an ATV. The directions can be used to hike but it will be a hike of considerable distance. I will update direction once I have shorter distances. Park at the Southern New Brunswick Snowmobile Club House @ N 45 50’ 49.1” / W 064 47’ 20.8”. Drive out Provincial Route # 34 a distance of approximately 4 Km or the junction of the route with the Local Route 862/865. Turn right and continue on Route # 34 a further 9 Km heading for N 45 47’ 49.7” / W 064 50’ 07.5”. This will take you up through the Kent Hill Windmill Farm and to the junction with Lumsden Road. (Possible to drive to this location with a car or truck from the road leading to the farm) Turn right and drive about 350 metres and turn left onto the old logging road. Drive down through the clear cut about 1 Km to N 45 47’ 24.6” / W 064 50’ 26.3” and park. There is no trail to the falls but head for the given GPS coordinates.
Visit Detail: Our day started at the Southern New Brunswick Snowmobile Club House parking lot on the Caledonia Mountain Road. With camera equipment secured to the ATV’s we head out on the snowmobile trail system for Rat Tail Falls on the brook of the same name. This particular Rat Tail Brook is located high in the Caledonia Mountains near the beginnings of Crooked Creek just south of the Kent Hills and was once called Lumsden Brook. Our route took us to the Kent Hills Wind Farm and then eventually to Lumsden Road. We could see the wind turbines from a long distance and it appeared to take forever to reach them. These behemoth creatures are 80 metres in height and each blade is 45 metres. The whoosh – whoosh sound is ever present.
The road is near the northern boundary of the Caledonia Gorge Protected Natural Area. There are active logging operations near the boundary of the PNA. Our route leads off the logging road down toward Crooked Creek and the Caledonia Gorge and eventually into the protected area. My friend Terry Gallant has been here before and leads the way down through an old cut and in a few minutes we park near the edge of the gorge. Crooked Creek resonates up from the gorge filling the forest with its sound. In the distance we hear chainsaw’s at work. There is active lumbering happening just outside the PNA but this appears to be close by.
Holding onto trees and branches we hike down to the creek and then to Rat Tail Falls. The gorge is steep and narrow at this location and tough trekking. We are near the beginning of the creek; it is starts several kilometres further up in the plateau. The hike up Rat Tail Brook to the falls is short but we must maneuver over and around large moss laden boulders. It is no wonder early settler gave it this name. The brook twist and turns until it drops over the edge of a fault line that runs along the northern side of the gorge. Our hike out is a more direct route up from the brook near its confluence with Crooked Creek. It is hard work, so we stop twice to catch our breath before continuing back to the ATV’s. We parked about 80 metres from the brook. On the way back we cut from Lumsden Road to indicate the location of the Lumsden Mine.