New Brunswick is home to many waterfalls. A few of them tall and mighty, the others beautiful and unassuming. Dunbar Falls is somewhere in the middle. It’s a short, wide and powerfully waterfall. It’s also my favourite to visit around the Fredericton area.
Dunbar Falls is located in Durham Bridge. You can find directions to the trailhead here. The trail is unmarked and on private property, but people are permitted to visit.
The Google map directions I’ve linked to will take you to the entrance of an unmarked dirt road off Pleasant Valley Road. At the entrance of this road, the trail begins off the banking to your right. There is a gap in the guard rail. You’ll know you are in the right place when you see Dunbar Stream. The trail follows the stream and a beaten down path will also be evident.
Dunbar Falls Trail is a short, 0.8 kilometres, out-and-back trail that ends at the waterfall. It weaves through a typical Acadian Forest with cedar, maple, birch, spruce, and balsam fir trees.
The trail isn’t marked, but it’s easy to follow. It is moderately difficult. There is a section where you must cross a small stream. During springtime flooding, I’ve had to turn back at this section. If you plan on visiting after lots of rain or ice melt, you’ll want to wear rubber boots and be careful of the slippery rocks. The trail also gets very icy in the winter and micro spikes are necessary.
Fires are not permitted on site and dogs must be leash. Please be respectful and pack out your garbage. Trails on private properties are always at risk of being closed due to bad behaviour.
You can scramble up the steep slope at the waterfall to get to the top. Careful of loose rocks and roots. At the top, there is a great rock to sit and watch the falls.
When to Visit
My favourite time to visit Dunbar Falls is in fall. The colours are gorgeous at this time, the trail isn’t so flooded, and the bugs are gone.
I’ve also enjoyed a cool dip in the waterfall in the summer. This isn’t the best waterfall to swim in, but a nice relaxing soak is possible. Definitely bring water shoes! The rocks are slippery and extremely sharp.
Spring is when the waterfall is the most powerful. It’s very beautiful. The issue is the flooding, mud, and bugs. If you are prepared to deal with those three obstacles, then you are in for a treat.
Dunbar Falls is also nice in the winter. Every time I’ve visited, a small section of the waterfall is uncovered by ice. Actually, all the ice and snow make it quite beautiful. In some places you can see the water flowing underneath the ice.
Things to Do Nearby
Check out some of the following locations – all within a 20 minute drive from Dunbar Falls.
JPM’s Canteen and Dairy Bar: I love this little ice cream canteen. If you’re new to Atlantic Canada, try moon mist and grape nut flavours! They’re local favourites!
Nashwaak Tube Rentals: Hit up Dunbar Falls in the morning and spend the summer afternoon floating down the Nashwaak River on an inner tube!
Killarney Lake: Killarney Lake is the perfect place to hike, ski, or swim. There are lifeguards on duty in summertime and groomed cross country ski trails in winter. In spring, the apple blossoms near the lake are gorgeous and fall boasts beautiful colours.
I hope you get to visit Dunbar Falls! If you do, and this was helpful, let me know in the comments section!