The roar of the Reversing Falls in Saint John, NB are unmistakable, even when you stand a hundred feet above them from the top of the iconic suspension bridge that traverses the two sides of the gorge. More than just a beautiful reminder of nature’s ferocity, this series of rapids located near where the Saint John River meets the Bay of Fundy is famous for a very specific reason. 

Due to the unique geology of the area and the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy, the flow of the river actually changes direction throughout the day. This unique phenomenon has captivated people (and frustrated shipping vessels) for centuries, dating back to Mi’kmaq legends of their creation, and their eventual discovery by French explorer Samuel de Champlain. To this day, some even say that the falls are home to a Loch Ness Monster-like entity called Ug Wug.” 

But what causes the Reversing Falls to, well, reverse? The answers lie thousands of years ago when the sides of the gorge along the Saint John River were formed by the path of receding glaciers. 

What are the Reversing Falls in Saint John, NB

While the Reversing Falls in Saint John, NB might appear to be flat, a series of submerged ledges lie just beneath the surface which cause the fierce torrent of the rapids to accelerate before a sharp drop where the river widens. Essentially, the Reversing Falls are practically an underwater waterfall. In fact, in ancient times when the water level was lower, they likely were a true waterfall. 

This speed, the narrowness of the gorge, and the powerful force of the Bay of Fundy’s high tide create the unique circumstances that cause the flow of the river to reverse at high tide. The force of this effect is so great that it’s all but impossible for ships to pass through the epicenter of the event safely, except during two brief periods a day when the high tides recede. 

Visiting the Reversing Falls in Saint John, NB

Despite originally being used as an industrial centre in the early 20th century, the area around the Reversing Falls became more vibrant as their fame grew around the world. Today, there are a variety of activities around the falls for both visitors and Saint Johners to enjoy. 

One of the most popular Reversing Falls activities are jet boat tours that allow people to get up close and personal with one of the most unique aquatic zones in New Brunswick. There are also zip line tours that traverse the length of the rapids and beyond, as well as parks and paths that allow people to enjoy the beaty of the Reversing Falls at their own pace. 

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While New Brunswick has many wonders to explore, the Reversing Falls remain as one of the oldest and most unique attractions in the province. 

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