Walton Glen Gorge & Falls

Waterfalls Detail: Halfway between St. Martins and Fundy National Park, the Little Salmon River cuts through the Fundy Highlands and empties into the Bay of Fundy. The Little Salmon River Gorge is a Class I Protected Natural Area, which covers an area of 706 hectares. It is protected for its abundance of rare flora, and old stand pine and spruce. Also, because of it rugged beauty. Please tread lightly and carefully. Within this protected area is the Walton Glen Gorge.

Packed into a relatively small geographical area this gorge has developed into an eco-system of its own. The wealth of rugged beauty provides the explorer with serenity as the various brooks & steams that make up the Walton Glen roller coaster to the Bay of Fundy. Cascading into the gorge is several small brooks such McLeod Brook with its pristine water falls McLeod Brook Falls and the McCumber Brook and it’s waterfalls. The showcase falls of this rugged area is Walton Glen Falls at a height of 140+ feet it is the second highest in New Brunswick. These falls are definitely seasonal and early springtime is the best opportunity to see the falls. During the summer there is barely a trickle but following heavy rains, the Walton Glen jumps to life, providing those who take the time to explore the area a spectacular show.

The Walton Glen Gorge is called the ‘Grand Canyon of New Brunswick’. And it lives up to that bill in every way. The Gorge is well over 200 feet in height and stretchs about 900 meters from a very narrow notch, 3 meters wide and 30 meters high, known as “The Eye of the Needle” where the Walton Glen forces through into the Little Salmon River. It is a natural attraction in one of the most spectacular areas of New Brunswick.

This is a very rugged area with no defined hiking trail. Be prepared to hang onto trees as you navigate a path along the brook. Do not attempt to hike this area if you have medical conditions, as it is physically demanding. In winter the 100+ foot cliffs attract adventure junkies seeking an adrenaline fix by climbing the numerous palisades’ such as, Holey Moley and Deliverance. New Brunswick’s best, biggest, and hardest routes are all concentrated in this beautiful wilderness.

There is a lookout that provides a panoramic view of the gorge that includes towering cliffs, waterfalls and a glimpse of the Bay of Fundy. This stretch of Bay of Fundy shore is one of the last undeveloped coastlines along the eastern seaboard of North America. It is a fabulous wilderness area that includes the spectacular Fundy Footpath Trail.

From Sussex head to Poley Mountain Ski Hill in Waterford. Continue on for an additional 12 km’s to Adairs Wilderness Lodge. Continue pass Adair’s Lodge on the main road around Crawford Lake (Large Sign) until you come to a Y in the road. The left is the Shepody Road and the right is the Little Salmon River Rd. Take the Little Salmon River Rd and drive until the junction with the McCumber Road. Take the McCumber Road, which is on your left. Follow this road. There are two landmarks that are helpful. First is a steel bridge (steel plates welded together to form a small bridge) across a small creek. Continue along until you cross over a large culvert (culvert fortified by large boulders). This is the McCumber Brook Culvert. There is a smaller culvert about a ½ km prior to this one, but ignore this one. Once you pass the large culvert continue until you see the Fundy Foot Path sign. There is a road on your left. Take this road through the Jack Pine Plantation until you come to a Y in the road. You are at the top of a hill and there is a short road on your right. Drive in a few feet on this road and park.

The trail is up this road. It is wide enough to drive but I suggest you walk. Take this trail for about 500 to 600 meters until you reach a set of red ribbons. One set leads to your left the other to your right. If you want to walk along the gorge floor take the left, it will lead down into the ravine until you reach the brook. Follow the path (marked with ribbon) along the west side of the brook. You will immediately see 100-foot cliffs. The path will lead to a series of falls and cascades with very steep shear rock faces. Extreme caution is essential. Due to the remoteness of this area an accident may mean an overnighter.

Visit Detail: When I first saw the picture of Walton Glen Waterfalls on the back cover of a DNR publication I was sure it was higher than Falls Brook Falls. I contacted DNR and asked who took the picture and was forwarded to Martin Marshall, a forest technician with the department. He provided information about the falls and the gorge and confirmed my suspicion that it was indeed much higher. From this point I decided to visit the area. In November 2007, my son Liam and friends Ed Pelger, Bart Myers and a visitor from Australia drove down to the area. We eventually found the gorge after finding McLeod Brook Falls by mistake. We decided to hike down into the gorge instead of the trail along the edge. This route amazed us with its rugged beauty.

We hiked along the flagged trail to the base of the Walton Glen Falls. It is important to note that this is no ordinary trail. We had to scramble around and over large boulders, hang onto trees and rope to make short progress down into the gorge. On this particular occasion there was insufficient water volume flowing over the edge. We continued down the gorge heading for the Eye of the Needle but unfortunately it was close to our agreed upon time to exit the gorge. On the drive home in the dark we all agreed to revisit this magnificent area in the spring.

On Friday May 30th, Bart Myers, Ed Pelger and myself drove down to the area to revisit the gorge. After a great breakfast at Adairs we made our way to the area. We decided on taking the route along the edge and yet again we were rewarded with a spectacular panorama but there was very little water flowing over the edge. We were to late again as the bog that supplies the Walton Glen Falls with its source of water was holding the water back. This lookout is awesome but extremely dangerous. One wrong step and it is a 200+ foot drop to the first rock outcrop and a further 100 feet to the bottom. On the way home we decided that a third trip is warranted.

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