The Most Definitive Guide to Hiking in New Brunswick
|Distance||600 metres one way|
|Estimated Time||20 mins return|
|Surface Type||forested, rocky|
|Elevation Change||45 metres|
|Trail Markers||green and yellow paint|
|Maintenance Rating||bridge out|
|GPS File||available on request|
After crossing South Branch Oromocto River you have two options. The first is to walk up along the stream to get to the falls. The second is to continue up the hill and take the trail into the falls.
If you wanted to walk up the stream to the falls take the first or second road on the right. The first one is 50 meters from the bridge and the second one is 100 meters from the bridge. Both will take you a short distance in the woods to the stream. When you reach the stream turn left and follow the stream. The stream is a nice walk but may require some wading. The trail is sometimes not well defined along the stream. The benefits of taking the stream are that it enters into a ravine with some cliffs before reaching the falls.
If you continue up the main road for another 300 meters you will come to a trail sign on the right. The trail goes through a mixed forest and crosses several small brooks. At 150 meters you will come to a junction. Turning right will take you down a steep ridge to below the lower falls. Turning left will take you to the stream above the upper falls. If you plan to see all the falls in between it is recommended to start at the bottom and climb up along the stream using the upper trail to return.
Raggedy Ass Falls is comprised of four distinct waterfalls. It gets its name from how easy it would be to rip the butt out of your pants on the jagged rocks. The lower waterfall is the most significant and plunges 3 metres into a deep pool. So deep that I couldn't touch the bottom even when I pushed a ten foot stick down. It makes a great place to take a swim when there is good water flow. We returned in the summer when there wasn't much flow and saw some of the largest leaches I had ever seen in the upper pools.
A guy I knew that used to live in the area told me that a friend of his put a camera down in the deep pool. What he found was a swarm of eels. Needless to say my son hasn't wanted to swim in this pool since but he does want me to put a camera down to the bottom to see what we can find.
You can climb up to the next waterfall to the right of the first one. Be careful not to rip your pants. There is a sort of trail to the right of a big boulder near the top of the falls. The second falls flows over a small 2 meter high cliff. Here you will start to see that the rock in this area is in large, thick plates that are angled in almost a vertical position. When you swim in the pools you will feel the rock underneath narrow into wedges so be careful you don't get your feet stuck in one of them.
The third falls flows into a shallower (1 meter) square pool. The pool is square because it is formed by one of the angular plates that block the stream below the falls. The fourth falls is even shallower and wider. This falls flows over the rock and enters the pool at an angle. There are deep bore holes in the rock face that are caused by the constant erosion of the water.
Above the fourth falls you will find the upper trail entering the woods on the left. From here the trail takes you back to the trail junction. Keep right to get back to the road.
Update April 15, 2018 - The bridge over South Branch Oromocto River (just before the trail) is washed out and not passable. In the summer months when the water is low it is possible to wade across the river.
Note: The road leading up to the bridge had washed out significantly the last time we were there. You may not be able to get to the second bridge without a 4x4. Don't damage your vehicle trying to get there. Other options are to visit South Branch Oromocto Falls on the Kirkpatrick Family Trail. This trail is on the same access road nearer the pavement. You could also choose to walk on the road. The distance is roughly an additional kilometer from the first bridge or 2 kilometers from the pavement.
On Route 101 about half way between Fredericton Junction and Welsford you will find Meadow Brook Road (on your right if coming from Fredericton Junction). Follow this road for 7.3 km and it will turn to gravel. Travel for 700 m and you cross a small bridge. After this point you may need a vehicle with some clearance. I made it in my Honda Civic in 2013 but the road was not well maintained. Just after the bridge turn right onto another gravel road. After another km you will cross another small bridge.
After the second bridge you will find a small parking area on your right. This is for an ATV Trail but it is possible to park here and walk up the stream to the falls. Within sight of the first parking area there is another small clearing. From either parking area find the stream and walk up the stream to the falls. There are small pieces of trail that follow the stream on either side but they are intermittent.
If you continue on for another km past the bridge (passing a sharp turn to the right then back to the left) you will come to the sign that mark's the trail head.
Trail Last Hiked: Augut 3, 2015.
Page Last Updated: April 12, 2020.