Nova Scotia

5 must-see Nova Scotia waterfalls for your summer road trip

The province is home to thousands of waterfalls, and this blogger has sought out the best.

The province is home to thousands of waterfalls, and this blogger has sought out the best

A Nova Scotia man with a passion for waterfalls says there are about 2,500 known waterfalls in this province, and likely thousands more to be discovered.

Abvhiael Crowley, who lives in Sydney, has visited waterfalls of all sizes—from two feet to more than 100 feet—and keeps a tally of them on his blog, Waterfalls of Nova Scotia

"Each one is so unique. Each one is so itself. And they change. They have their moods depending on the year, depending on the weather, depending on everything," he told CBC News.

Listing the province's best falls

Crowley discovered his love for waterfalls 15 years ago. Diagnosed with cancer, he needed a way to stay active and find peace and quiet away from the stress and sickness that came from his treatment. He's now visited more than 200 waterfalls across the province.

Crowley put a call out to other waterfall enthusiasts to come up with a list of Nova Scotia's five must-see waterfalls. Some you can find in guide books, while others are more off the beaten path. 

Egypt Falls

Egypt Falls in Cape Breton (David Burke/CBC)

​(a.k.a. Appins Falls or Piper's Glen Falls)
Where: Piper's Glen, Inverness County, Cape Breton

"It's just something completely different than any of the other waterfalls in Nova Scotia that I've ever been to," Crowley says.

Egypt Falls has unrivalled scenery, the waterfall stretching some 60 feet across and 25 feet high. The two-tiered falls cascade into a shallow pool where people can swim.

It's a short but steep hike through the woods to get to the bottom of the falls. Ropes have been installed to help visitors navigate the terrain.

McCuish's Brook Falls

McCuish’s Brook Falls (Abvhiael Crowley)

(a.k.a. Drumming Falls)
Where: Salem Road, Richmond County, Cape Breton

"They are completely unspoiled. Completely wild," Crowley says. 

McCuish's Brook Falls are an unexpected discovery in the middle of Richmond County. The 45-foot falls feature steep cascades that drum noisily off the exposed bedrock wall at their base. A large boulder nearby makes for a good look-off point to gaze upon the majestic falls.

The waterfall is about an hour walk off the beaten trail. Warning: The last section is a challenging hike upstream with crossings and climbs. 

Monastery Brook Falls

Monastery Brook Falls (Abvhiael Crowley)

Where: Monastery, Antigonish County

"It's a perfect place to sit and contemplate," Crowley says.

Surrounded by a canopy of maple trees, Monastery Brook Falls is a well-known tiered waterfall. The 15-foot falls are a 20-minute hike by a worn foot path. Monastery Brook is named for a Trappist monastery founded in 1825, located not far from the falls.

Also nearby is a park-like setting that features a small chapel and several statues.

Ettinger Falls

Ettinger Falls (Abvhiael Crowley)

Where: Three Mile Plains, Hants County

"A mini Niagara Falls," says Crowley.

Ettinger Falls is the first and tallest of three separate falls along Falls Brook, just outside of Windsor. Certainly not the tallest waterfall in Nova Scotia, it features a 35-foot plunge into a deep pool that serves as a swimming hole in the summer time.

It's located a 15-minute walk down a packed dirt trail that takes you just 15 feet away from the top of the falls. Staircase Falls and Lower Ettinger Falls are further along the brook.

Blue Falls

Blue Falls (Abvhiael Crowley)

Where: Outram, Annapolis County

"There's nothing like crouching behind a waterfall, looking at the world through a whitewater lacework," Crowley says.

Blue Falls at Healy River is a beautiful 30-foot secluded waterfall that is easily accessible by trail through woods. The quiet falls plunge from a fractured lip and you can go behind the falls from the right side, though the shale rock surface can be slippery.

Healy Brook Falls III is a hike upstream. Be sure to park in the designated area for Blue Falls.

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