Experience Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick


If you plan visiting Saint John in New Brunswick and want to see some incredible natural phenomena caused by the Bay of Fundy, then you must pay a visit to Reverse Rapids. The Reverse Rapids is one of the most popular places in Saint John to see the Fundy Bay and a river battle with each other in full force, and it is a great way to learn about the Fundy Area and the tidal movements.

I went to the Reversing Rapids Falls on my second day in Saint John. It is still one of my fondest memories of the trip, and Reversing Rapids is a perfect place for families and visitors of all ages and physicality.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John New Brunswick

Reversing Falls is created by the  collision of the Saint John River on the left, and the Fundy Bay on the right.

Reversing Rapids Geographic Background

Reversing Rapids, also known as Reversing Falls, has a very interesting geographical background. This waterfall was created by the collision of Saint John River and the Bay of Fundy. When you stand on the viewing platform in Fallsview Park, you will notice the Saint John River on your left and the Bay of Fundy on your right.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and it can reach up to eight meters high in Saint John. The water pours into the 725-kilometer long Saint John River and collides. Under the unstoppable natural power of the Fundy Bay, the flow of the Saint John River reverses during high tide .

At Reversing Falls, there are two types of rocks and they are the light colored marble rocks formed 1.2 billion years ago from the South Pole, and dark igneous rock existing from 514 million years ago from Africa. These rocks are on the river gorge in which you can see two continents meeting at once.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John New Brunswick

From the narrow river gorge, you can see the light colored marble rocks from South Pole and dark igneous rock from Africa, and imagine seeing  two continents at once.

How to get to Reversing Rapids

From uptown Saint John, you can walk to Reversing Falls via the Harbour Passage Trail. The walk is easy and it takes half an hour to 45 minutes to get to the falls. The footpath is well marked so you will not get lost. You can also drive your own vehicle or take a seven-minute cab from the cruise ship terminal.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick

What is the best time to see Reversing Rapids

Reversing Falls have different landscapes shaped by different tidal movements. During low tide, Reversing Falls appears as nothing different from other rivers and waterfalls. The currents lap on the ancient stones formed millions of years ago, then quickly moves through a narrow gorge, merges with Fundy Bay, and heads towards the Atlantic Ocean.

The best part is when the flow of water stalls and is reversed, and this phenomenon is what everybody wants to see. Therefore, it is worth going there when the high tide of the Fundy Day start moving in.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick

The high tide is visible twice a day and it usually takes six hours for the low tide to change to high tide. Therefore, it is important to check the schedule of the tides in advance so you do not miss out on the best of the Reversing Falls. If you arrive during the low tides, you can stay in the area for a few hours so you can experience the change of the scenery there.

I was not at the Reversing Falls during the highest tides, but I was there from noon to 6:30 pm experiencing the process of the rapids moving regularly, stopping for a while, and then around 5:30 pm the tides of the Fundy Bay started rising and rushing into the Saint John River, leading the river flow against its previous direction. In the late afternoon, one of the viewing platforms closest to the waterfalls gets crowded with the tour groups coming in.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick

Around 5:30pm the rapids started reversing

Things to do at Reversing Rapids

For Reversing Rapids itself, you can get on the observation platform at the Fallsview Park to see the landscape. You can also do the Skywalk for $15 and experience the churning water under your feet on the stainless glass floor. Other two popular activities at the Reversing Rapids are boat tour and the zipline.

There are two restaurants at the Reversing Falls and I went to the 14 ½ Café and Bar for fish and chips and Java Moose coffee. The restaurant is a popular one among tourists for its convenient location, amazing view of the falls, and high-quality service. The restaurant featured a live music concert the day I went, and you can stay there for hours without ordering anything.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick

Having fish and chips lunch at the 14 ½ Café and Bar

Wolastoq Park is next to Reversing Falls and you can take a short walk there to see the statues of historical figures and learn about the history of Saint John, the ancient trading routes, and the Maliseet people who used to live on the shore. From there, you are able to see the Saint John skyline and Reversing Rapids from a higher point.

Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick

Historical figure at Wolastoq Park

Where to stay

I did not find too much budget-friendly accommodation in Saint John. I chose to stay at Newman House Hostel , which is close to a majority of attractions in the city and had a nice walk to Reversing Rapids, but if you are on vacation and do not mind to splurge a bit, you can choose among a plenty of hotels uptown here.

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Your guides to expeirence the best of the Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick, including things to do, the best time to xperience this nature sight and where to stay.

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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