Thursday, 18 July 2013


A quick word about access to waterfalls in Nova Scotia. There are many places where a brook which contains a waterfall flows thru a private owners land, and respect for their property should be paramount in the mind of any waterfall enthusiast. One should ALWAYS seek permission of the landowner to approach the falls, and in many cases not only will they be more than willing to allow you on the property to view the falls, but will tell you some of the history and their memories of the site.

Moose Brook in Hants County is a fine example of this, the elderly woman who owns the home next to the brook those fine falls are found upon is more than willing to discuss the falls with you, and to ensure that folks stay on her side of the brook so as not to disturb the neighbours farm animals. When approaching the site for the second time to gather improved photos of the falls, she told me that how readers of this blog have stopped in for tea after their visit to the falls, and one CHERISHED and anonymous reader came by the next day with some daylily bulbs for her flower bed in front of the house.

The other end of the spectrum is those who post NO TRESPASSING signs along the property and especially at the access point. Many visitors to Upper Gillis Lake Falls have complained about the land owner above the falls who has threatened some visitors with a firearm for trespassing.

It must be noted, here in Nova Scotia, that while any land owner may own the lands SURROUNDING the brook which contains the waterfall, they DO NOT own the brook itself. EVERY lake, river, stream and brook in the Province of Nova Scotia is Crown Land and legislation enshrines this fact:

The Angling Act of Nova Scotia (  is quite clear in regards to access and ownership of the brooks, lakes and beaches in our province. It states:

Right to go upon land, river, stream or lake
3 (1) Any resident of the Province shall have the right to go on foot along the banks of any river, stream or lake, upon and across any uncultivated lands and Crown lands for the purpose of lawfully fishing with rod and line in such rivers, streams or lakes.
(2) Any resident of the Province shall have the right to go on, upon or across any river, stream or lake in boat or canoe or otherwise, for the purpose of lawfully fishing with rod and line in such rivers, streams or lakes.
(3) The rights conferred by this Section shall not in any way limit or restrict the right of any owner or occupant to compensation for actual damages caused by any person going upon or across such lands for the purpose aforesaid, and shall not be construed to give the right to build any fires upon such lands. R.S., c. 14, s. 3.

Note that the act states ANY river, stream or lake. There is NO private ownership of any watercourse in Nova Scotia. While privately held property may enclose a watercourse, that stream or lake remains Crown Land. I carry a valid Nova Scotia Fishing License when I am exploring, as well as a copy of the Angling Act to show to landowners when hostility such as this occurs.  The owners there have even pointed firearms at people they feel are trespassing over their property. They placed gates against travel up an established trail to the falls, contrary to the Crown Lands Act of Nova Scotia which states:

61 Enclosure of roads or watercourses on application

(1) The Minister may, on application being made by a holder of land, grant to the holder a permit to enclose wholly or in part any road or watercourse by which the land is traversed or bounded, subject to payment of such annual rent as may be determined by the Minister.
(2) An enclosure permit may be granted subject to:
(a) conditions relating to the payment of rent,
(b) conditions requiring the erection of gates or the provision of some other means of access or both (so as not to interfere unnecessarily with any traffic), and
(c) such other conditions as the Minister determines.

While I respect a landowners privacy, and when there are issues regarding access, will work with the land owner as best as possible to educate them about the rights of citizens and try to find middle ground for access to the falls site. Most landowners are proud to share the waterfalls that are located within their property boundries with others, but some people are quite ignorant and agressive about protecting what they THINK is theirs. 

Watercourses within the province remain a portion of Crown Lands, to the point of the ORDINARY HIGH WATER MARK. This is defined within the Land Surveyors Act of Nova Scotia as: "the limit or edge of a body of water where the 
land has been covered by water so long as to wrest it from vegetation or as to mark a distinct character upon the vegetation where it extends into the water or  upon the soil itself." 

These issues are important, and need to be addresssed. The ownership of  “watercourses” in the Province of Nova Scotia rests in the Provincial Crown. The Water Act of Nova Scotia was enacted in 1919 with the effect of vesting ALL 
watercourses, whether previously granted or otherwise, within the Province of Nova Scotia as of May 16, 1919:

"Notwithstanding any law of Nova Scotia, whether statutory or otherwise, or by a grant, deed or transfer heretobefore made, whether by the Crown or otherwise, or any possession, occupation, use or obstruction of any water course, or any 
use of any water by any person for any time whatever, every water course and the sole and exclusive right to use, divert and appropriate any and all water at any time in any water course, is declared to be vested forever in the Crown in right of the Province of Nova Scotia."

A “Watercourse” was defined within the 1919 statute to include:

2 (b) … every water course and the bed thereof, and every source of water supply, whether the same usually contains water or not, and every stream, river, lake, pond, creek, spring, ravine and gulch; but shall not include small rivulets or 
brooks unsuitable for milling, mechanical or power purposes.

Although this seems to preclude ownership with regards to industrial usage, Justice Davison ruled in Corkum v. Nash (1990), 71 D.L.R. (4th) 390 (N.S.S.C.) within paragraph 33:

"The intention of the legislature was to permit the Province to take control of watercourses in order that watercourses and the water are preserved for the benefit of the public for a number of uses included fresh water supply irrigation and industrial and recreational purposes…" 


When the Water Act was revised in 1972, the exclusion regarding "small rivultes &c" was removed. It was ammended to read:

k) 'water course' means the bed and shore of every river, stream, lake, creek, 
pond, spring, lagoon, swamp, marsh, wetland, ravine, gulch or other natural body 
of water, and the water therein, including ground water, within the jurisdiction of 

the Province, whether it contains water or not;

These definitions were also rolled into the Environment Act in 1994 within S.103:

every watercourse and the sole and exclusive right to use, divert and 
appropriate any and all water at any time in any watercourse is vested forever in 
Her Majesty in right of the Province and is deemed conclusively to have been so 
vested since May 16, 1919, and is fully freed, discharged and released of and 
from every fishery, right to take fish, easement, profit a prendre and of and from 
every estate, interest, claim, right and privilege, whether or not of the kind 
hereinbefore enumerated, and is deemed conclusively to have been so fully 

freed, discharged and released since May 16, 1919.

So, to close, please respect ownership and private property, do not tromp across someones yard to access the falls, anywhere in the province, but remain within the boundries of the Angling Act and be responsible. Waterfalling is an eco-friendly and eco-conscious pursuit, and I encourage EVRYONE to maintain a "zero impact" approach to enjoying these sites. Thank you.


Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Ross Corner, Kings County
N 45° 10.702 W 064° 39.500 
UTM: 20T E 369704 N 5004103

RIVER: Chipman Brook
CLASS: cascades
SIZE: , 12'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: footpath
HIKING TIME: 10 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate, some steep areas

Geocache: none

NS Atlas Page: 46/Y2
NS topo map: 021H02 (Berwick)


DRIVING DIRECTIONS: take EXIT13 off HWY101 onto HWY12 north towards Kentville. Drive 3.7km and turn left onto Main St (HWY1). Drive 350m and follow the flow of traffic to the right onto Cornwallis St. Follow this road 6.9km to Centerville and turn left (west) onto HWY221. Drive 3.8km and turn right onto Steadman Road, continue another 3.7km to the top of North Mountain, and turn left onto Hiltz Road. Drive 4.5km and turn right onto Chipman Brook Road. Follow this road 2.9km and park off the side of the road.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: follow the old road into the woods on your left (west) side, hiking down the hill to where Chipman Brook flows beneath the road. Hike downstream approximately 150m to the base of these small falls.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Halls Harbour, Kings County
N 45° 10.985 W 064° 38.257 
UTM: 20T E 371343 N 5004593

RIVER: Sullivan Vault Brook
CLASS: cascades
SIZE: , 15'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: footpath
HIKING TIME: 10 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate, some steep areas

Geocache: GCMJDN

NS Atlas Page: 46/Y2
NS topo map: 021H02 (Berwick)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Kentville, take EXIT14 West off HWY101 onto HWY1, the Evangeline Trail. Follow this road 1.7km to Lovett Rd and turn right. At 400m, keep left to remain on this road and continue another 2.6km, then turn right onto Brooklyn St. Follow this road 850m to the first left at Steadman Road and follow that for 7.3km, to the brow of North Mountain. Turn left onto Hiltz Rd and then, 1km later, take the first right onto Huntington Point Rd. Follow this dirt road, which can be quite rough, for 4.2km and turn left onto Sullivan Rd. Drive down this road 500m to where Sullivan Vault Brook flows under the road at the corner and park off the side of the road.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: follow the footpath downstream to the falls. This isnt a very long hike, nor will you face many steep sections, making it a fairly easy hike. Sullivan Vault Falls drops over a 15' ledge and continues over a lengthy cascade before another 4' drop.

photo: Benoit Lalonde (2010)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Bishopville, Hants County
N 45° 00.683 W 064° 19.423
UTM: 20T E 395691 N 4985067

RIVER: Halfway River
CLASS: steep cascades
SIZE: , 15'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: roadside
HIKING TIME: 5 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate, some steep areas

Geocache: GC1NC61

NS Atlas Page: 47/X5
NS topo map: 021H01 (Wolfville)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Kentville (Kings Co.), follow HWY101 east to EXIT11 (Wolfville) and turn right (south) onto Greenwich Rd. Travel 900m and turn left onto Ridge Road, drive 3.6km and turn right to remain on Ridge Rd, another 650m. Take the first right onto Greenfield Rd and drive 1.8km, crossing the Gaspereau River, then turn right again to remain on this road. Continue 7.3km up onto South Mountain, and turn left onto Bishopville Rd (just past the cemetery). Drive another 140m to where the guardrail looms over the Halfway River below. Park of the side of the road.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: pick your way down the steep embankment to the base of the falls below you. You can see the falls from the road, thru the trees, but you wont appreciatae these falls unless you get down to their base.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Minasville, Hants County
N 45° 17.045 W 063° 49.016 
UTM: 20T E 435942 N 5014834

RIVER: Moose Brook
CLASS: steep cascades
SIZE: , 15',20'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: well used paths, some steep areas
HIKING TIME: 15 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate

Geocache: none

NS Atlas Page: 38/X5
NS topo map: 011E05 (Bass River)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Windsor, take EXIT5 off HWY101 eastwards onto HWY14 East. Follow this road 8.6km to the village of Brooklyn. Turn left at the war memorial in the center of the road to remain on HWY14. Continue another 750m and continue straight thru onto HWY215 at the Petro Canada gas station. Continue another 1.0km and turn right onto HWY236 (signed for Stanley and Kennettcook). Drive 32.6km along this highway to the village of Kennettcook. Turn left to remain on HWY236 as it merges with HWY354 and continue 300m and take a slight left onto HWY354 (signed for Noel). Drive northward along this road 13.6km to its conclusion in Noel. Turn left onto HWY215 and drive 5.4km to the center of Minasville settlement. Turn left onto Old Road and park just past the mail boxes on your left side.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: walk back to the bridge over Moose Brook on HWY215 and make your way down to the stream below. Upper Moose Brook Falls is directly below the bridge, a wide complicated cascade about 15' high. Continue downstream to the lower falls, about 150m away, which are approximately the same height, with a smaller fall ata the high tide mark. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mill Section, Hants County
N 44° 52.368 W 064° 12.917 
UTM: 20T E 404005 N 4969539

RIVER: unnamed brook
CLASS: steep cascades
SIZE: 20'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: bushwhacking
HIKING TIME: 45 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate

Geocache: GCNMYJ

NS Atlas Page: 57/X3
NS topo map: 021A16 (Windsor)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Windsor, take Exit6A off HWY101, onto the roundabout, exiting onto Wentworth Drive. Follow this road thru the town of Windsor to the second set of lights 1.4km), turning left onto O'Brien Street. Follow this road to its conclusion 600m along as it merges with King St. at the stop sign. Continue onto King St. 700m, and turn right onto HWY14 (Signed for Martock, Windsor Forks) which is locally known as Chester Road. Drive 15.4km along HWY14, watching for a pull off, which goes sharply back up the hill above you. (44N52.110 64W13.015). Park off to side.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: follow the low wood line back along the highway about 450m to a brook flowing down the hillside. Head upstream a short distance, past a smaller 10' fall to the main falls which are nestled in a small ravine, taking a ninety degree turn as they pass from the larger steep cascade into a smaller one. 

If you feel like more of a leg stretcher, head up the hill along the dirt road until you come to the first brook which passes beneath the road and head downstream. There are several channels to this brook at the higher elevation which have nice small cascades.

Ive given them the name Hemlock Valley Falls, as this particular stretch of road passes between Froth Hole Hill and Hemlock Hill in a small valley. I could find no information on the original grantee of this area, and found as appropriate a name for these falls as I could.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Outram, Annapolis County
N 44° 56.671 W 065° 13.879 
UTM: 20T E 323968 N 4979209

RIVER: Starrat Brook
CLASS: plunges, cascades
SIZE: 30'
RATING: outstanding (*****)

TRAIL: bushwhacking
HIKING TIME: 1.5 hours
CONDITIONS: moderate

Geocache: GC3CVAW

NS Atlas Page: 55/X1
NS topo map: 021A14 (Bridgetown)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Lawrencetown, take EXIT19 north off HWY101 onto Elliot Rd towards Clarence.Follow this road 2.2km to its terminus and turn left onto Clarence Rd. Continue another 3.0km and turn right onto Leonard Rd. Follow this road up the face of North Mountain, 3.3km and turn right onto Arlington Rd. Drive eastward along this road 700m to Grant Rd and turn left. Follow this road to a slight pull off on the shoulder of the road, near the sign informing you of no road maintainence further along, about 2km along.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: follow Grant Rd to its end, about 450m and follow the wide right hand turn in the road another 850m down the hill to Starrat Brook. When you reach the brook, head upstream, bushwhacking your way about 500m to the falls.

These are some of the nicest waterfalls I have come across in the province. Two significant falls that tumble down side-by-side with a rocky outcropping between them and plenty of comfortable boulders to sit on below the various tiers of the falls for photographing and just enjoying this amazing spot.

a small cascade tucked in between the two main falls

Each of the main falls is surmounted by two sets of smaller steep cascades, giving this waterfall a very tiered effect. Climbing around and exploring these falls is quite easy, with the massif in between them,there are evident trails up and down the falls and a few nice shady spots under the canopy of trees to have a picnic if you wanted. One of the nicest waterfalls Ive seen in a very long time.

main falls, right side

There are three further falls along Starrat Brook and its tributary, but I was unable to get to them on the day I visited Twin Falls.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Outram, Annapolis County
N 44° 57.652 W 065° 12.410 
UTM: 20T E 325949 N 4980972

photo by Andrew Paul (2014)

RIVER: Healy Brook
CLASS: plunge
SIZE: 30'
RATING: outstanding (*****)

TRAIL: woods paths
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate

Geocache: none

NS Atlas Page: 55/Y1
NS topo map: 021A14 (Bridgetown)

photo: Benoit Lalonde (2011)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:  from Middleton, drive southwest along Main Street (HWY1) towards Bridgetown, 1.2km. Turn right onto Brooklyn Road (signed for HWY101 and Margaretsville) and drive 6.7km before turning right again onto Mt. Hanley Road. Drive 3.8km along this road, up the hill onto North Mountain and turn left onto Brown Road. Follow this road 3.3km and turn right onto Elliot Rd. Take the second right, 750m along, onto Shore Road East. Follow this road 550m to the bridge over Healy Brook and park in the pull-off on the right hand side of the road.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Please park in the designated area and PLEASE use the proper trail upstream to the falls. The landowner whose property Healy Brook runs thru has had people come to visit these falls and try to park in her driveway for a shortcut to the falls. Lets respect the landowners wishes so that these spectacular falls can continue to be enjoyed and not become a problem for the landowner. ALWAYS PACK IN PACK OUT!! 

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: follow the trail from the parking area upstream. This is a fairly easy to follow path, although it can become indistinct at times, just continue to make your way upstream and you will arrive at these amazing falls with little problem. The trail is nearly 700m to the falls, but is fairly quick hiking.

A true plunge, these falls drop off a fractured lip onto the more resistant stone below. You can approach behind the falls from the right hand side of the falls, although the shale there is slippery. Still, theres nothing like crouching behind a waterfall, looking at the world thru a whitewater lacework.

Another 200m, approximately, upstream, is Healy Brook Falls III, a 10' block cascade, which is worth the extra hike in to.

Healy Brook Falls III
photo: Benoit Lalonde (2011)

(my son, entranced by Blue Falls)

photo by Melanie Haverstock (2014)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Outram, Annapolis County
N 44° 57.972 W 065° 12.827 
UTM: 20T E 325417 N 4981580

RIVER: Healy Brook
CLASS: plunge, canyon, numerous cascades
SIZE: 15', 12', multiple smaller cascades
RATING: outstanding (*****)

TRAIL: woods paths
HIKING TIME: 15 minutes
CONDITIONS: moderate

Geocache: GC47Q2J

NS Atlas Page: 55/Y1
NS topo map: 021A14 (Bridgetown)

(my son at Healy Brook Falls)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:  from Middleton, drive southwest along Main Street (HWY1) towards Bridgetown, 1.2km. Turn right onto Brooklyn Road (signed for HWY101 and Margaretsville) and drive 6.7km before turning right again onto Mt. Hanley Road. Drive 3.8km along this road, up the hill onto North Mountain and turn left onto Brown Road. Follow this road 3.3km and turn right onto Elliot Rd. Take the second right, 750m along, onto Shore Road East. Follow this road 550m to the bridge over Healy Brook and park in the pull-off on the right hand side of the road.

(looking down into the canyon below Healy Brook Falls)

 Healy Brook Falls I
photo: Benoit Lalonde (2011)

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: the roar of Healy Brook is audible from the bridge, downstream of the parking spot. A trail on the right side of the brook will lead you down to the falls, a very picturesque plunging cascade, about 20' high. Below the falls, about 50m downstream, Healy Brook narrows into a close walled canyon, draped in moss.

The main trail continues beyond the falls, heading downstream along the top of the ridge above the canyon. This is a short canyon, only 50m long at most, and a primitive campsite has been established below the canyon outlet, with a well-used trail leading back into the canyon, upstream, along the left hand side.

(view from campsite of Healy Canyon)

The canyon features several cascades along its course, with a couple deep pools interspaced between them at various levels. This is likely a popular spot among locals for camping and swimming. Further exploration downstream will lead to the Bay of Fundy approximately 500m further along.

photo by Jerry Johnson (2014)

photo by Andrew Paul (2014)

photo by Andrew Paul (2014)