It was supposed to be over 30 degrees outside. Close to 40 with the humidity. I was trying to figure out whether I should take the kids to the beach or try to get to the Bay of Fundy when I got an e-mail about Raggedy Ass Falls. My fiance forwarded me an e-mail she got from a friend about their trip to the falls the previous weekend. I read about the falls on the Waterfalls of New Brunswick website and it said the falls had great pools for swimming. I quickly made plans to finally visit Welsford Falls, then find Raggedy Ass Falls and spend the rest of the day swimming.
We left the house early (with kids that means lunch time) and drove to Welsford. We parked at the end of Sullivan Lane near a house with a barking dog as was described on the Waterfalls of New Brunswick Website. We followed a short trail that was quite grown in and soon came to… a nice new access road where the rest of the path used to be. Not the website’s fault I just didn’t read the comments. I was going to go back for the car but the kids were excited so we continued up the access road.
At the top of the hill we took an ATV trail along the power lines and picked what few blueberries we could find that were ripe. We soon came to a Y in the trail and turned left. Before long we came to a strange stack of what looked like the walls of a cabin that had not yet been built. There was also an elaborate lean-to over a cave in a cliff along the trail. There were a few other buildings with a main cabin overlooking the valley which held the falls. At this point the trail followed closely to the edge of the cliff with a straight drop to the bottom of the falls below. I made the kids take the trail in the woods as I tried to grab a few pics of the falls from above. We soon came to a steep climb down to the bottom of the falls that was aided by a rope tied to a tree. Once at the bottom we explored the stream and I took pictures of the falls from many angles. The kids interest in the falls began to waver after about 15 minutes since we decided we weren’t going to swim until we got to Raggedy Ass Falls. We explored the small narrow sluice way falls below the main falls and then we were off to our next destination. Note to self: next time use the access road, especially when it is this hot out.
We drove back towards Fredericton on route 101. The kids were fascinated when we passed a 3 story homemade water slide made of what looked like scaffolding and steel culverts. Not long after that we turned left onto Meadow Brook Road. The road was good for the most part but eventually turned into a gravel road that wasn’t in great shape. Nothing my new Civic couldn’t handle but we had to go slow. Really slow. I had to get two ladies that were waiting for us to pass to move out of the way so I could maneuver one large puddle. We crossed a small bridge and stayed right at the first Y, then mixed it up by staying right and then crossing another small bridge. We parked in a small area just past the second bridge.
We started down a small trail to a stream, crossed the stream and started on an ATV trail. The trail looked to be going in the wrong direction from what I remembered so we returned to the stream and started walking up the stream. After a short distance we found a trail that followed along the shore, criss-crossing the stream as it went. It didn’t take long until the sides of the stream started to become steep making a small ravine. After a few more turns we first heard, then saw the first set of falls.
The Waterfalls website and advice I got from Facebook were right. This looked like a great place to swim. You couldn’t see the bottom of the pool under the falls so I figured I would check it out. I went under and tried to touch bottom but couldn’t. My son even gave me a small tree to try to touch but to no avail. It was a very deep hole that was only 8-10 feet across. It made for a great swim. I even climbed up on one of the rocks by the falls and jumped in. The trail continued up past the falls on the right so we eventually climbed up looking for more swimming opportunities. The next hole was alright but not as good as the first so we continued up over these falls. This was more of a rock climb up the falls itself. The next falls was smaller but it had another very narrow deep pool under it, made by a large flat piece of rock that was laid on its end.
The last falls was the largest and came out over a rock face making it impressive for pictures. The swimming wasn’t as great though since it was shallower and full of big rocks placed randomly throughout the pool. We eventually climbed to the top of these falls (another rock climb) to find yellow blazes marking a trail leading away from the falls. We followed the trail along the cliff tops listening to other people swimming below. We then came to a junction in the trail and turned left. This lead us down to the first set of falls. This would have been a quicker, easier, but less interesting way to access the falls. Returning on the trail we came to the road and followed it back to the car.
It was a quiet ride home as everyone was tired from all the swimming and climbing. We didn’t get out to pavement again until after 7PM. Now I am home with many pictures to go through. Next time we visit we will know better how to get to the falls so we can spend more time swimming and less time walking. I will post maps and directions as soon as possible so you will know too.