The Falls of Big Rody Brook

Waterfall Detail: New Brunswick’s Fundy Coastline pounds the senses with its intoxicating beauty. Much of this section of the Bay of Fundy from St. Martins to Alma is inaccessible wilderness. It is outlined by varied geological landscape of breathtaking cliffs, eroded sandstone sculptures and dramatic mud flats. The giant tides continually erode the towering sea cliffs and wash the shores exposing interesting rocks and fossils. Inland the many rivers etch away at the rock revealing fascinating geology dating back hundreds of millions of years.

“The diversity of geology along the Bay of Fundy could stand on its own as a ‘must see’. The cross section of geological time exposed by the tides highlights the formation and subsequent break up of Pangaea, and the evolution of the Bay, over the last 400 million years, into the structure we know today. Examples of a wide variety of geological and paleontological processes can be found along Fundy shores. Continental drift and plate tectonics, igneous intrusions and volcanic eruptions, changing climates, ancient environments, the development of the plant and animal life, the world’s oldest reptiles and Canada’s earliest dinosaurs, the list goes on…”– Ken Adams, Director/Curator, Fundy Geological Museum, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, 2006

Once called Foundes Brook, the Big Rody is a tributary of the Big Salmon River located just north of the Fundy Parkway and east of St. Martins. With meager beginnings at Rody Lake the brook quickly changes in character to a turbulent watercourse as it drops over 500 feet in 5 km through the Caledonia Highlands to the Big Salmon River. These majestic highlands are carved by numerous rivers, brooks and stream all heading for the Bay of Fundy. In its rowdy run it has several waterfalls of which two are simply outstanding. The gorge contains sheer cliffs that rise well over 100’ encasing both, making access tenuous and exciting. This part of the parkway is undeveloped and has few visitors except for individuals searching for a private location to fish or waterfall enthusiast.

Drive out to St. Martins and continue through the village heading east towards the Fundy Trail Parkway. Approximately 2 Km before the entrance to the Parkway lookout for Little Beach Road on the left (There is a house on the opposite side). Turn and drive out this road 2.4 Km and take the Big Salmon River Road on the right and drive out this road 3.3 Km. There will be woods road on the left. You will need a 4×4, ATV, mountain bike or walk from this point. Follow this old cut road until N45 25’ 44.76” / W065 27’ 14.23” or 1.2 Km. Hike down over the bank to the brook. Mark this location on you GPS or with marking tape. Hike downstream 1.5 Km to the first of many waterfalls.

On our trip we returned by hiking from the last waterfall photographed to the top of the plateau and then following the ridgeline back to where we hiked down to the brook. I suggest working your way back up the brook.

Visit Detail: Everything is drenched and we are soaked as we weave our way through black spruce clinging to the cliffs above the rushing waters of the Big Rody. Terry Gallant and I are working our way down into the gorge above what we believe is a couple of kilometers above the first waterfall. We decided to take a run at the Big Rody regardless of the weather and today’s weather is taxing our resolve.

The rain is relentless when we come upon the apex of the first waterfall. The tree line below the falls drops considerably indicating a high plummet. It is impossible to climb down along the falls due to its orientation. There are three drops totaling well over 80 feet. Forced to climb up and around the falls we chose the left side, as it will allow us to climb down into the middle bowl. After 20 minute we finally make it down into the bowl just below the second pitch. Unfortunately we are unable to photograph the upper pitch, which is the more dramatic. We conclude that if we had a long rope one of us could repel down to a vantage point allowing it to be photographed. Soaking wet and with no rope we decide it will have to wait for another trip. From here we climbed out of the bowl and made our way to the base of the third pitch (picture) by grappling to tree roots and rock. There are apples and orange peels washed up on the sandbar at the back of the pool, indicating others have been here this summer.

Continuing downstream a further 100 metres we came upon a series of smaller cascades. After exploring these we hiked down along the right side of the gorge emerging at the top of another lofty waterfall. Again we were forced to climb up and around the rocky outcrop due to sheer cliffs rising 100’ skyward. We descended to the base along a small creek and another waterfall that we would photograph later.

This waterfall has three drops and is much easier to photograph than the upper falls. Both tired and soaking wet we decided to head back. Instead of hiking back along the brook we climbed to the top of the ridge and hiked along the edge of an old clear cut. Several times we had to back track and in doing so we stumbled upon the remains of an old logging camp. Back at the truck we changed into dry cloth and headed for St. Martins and hot bowl of Seafood Chowder and homemade rolls at Cave View Family Restaurant.