McCallum Gulch

McCallum Gulch near Parrsboro, NS

This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars
7 kms
Rock Climbing, Hiking
Spring, Fall, Summer
Parrsboro, NS
User Benlalonde

This is a hike down into an area called McCallum Gulch. The hike will take you down the gulch and then upstream of the East Branch of the Moose River to a massive fall partially surrounded by 100-200 foot rock cliffs.

As you set off down the stream which flows under the road, you will encounter the first waterfall (40ft) within about 100m. The forest is quite dense around this fall and you will need to push though some evergreen. As you make your way downstream, the forest will gradually open up. After no more than a couple of hundred feet, you will be at the top of another waterfall (60ft). Make your way down to its base on the left hand side (facing downstream). Once you are at the base of this fall and you are making your way downstream, you will notice that the right hand side of the gulch is composed of evergreen and the soil is covered by moss, the left side is an open Acadian type deciduous forest. What a cool contrast and good example of how the direction of a slope can affect its vegetation.

Rom the start of the stream to where it empties into the East Branch of the Moose River, you will walk about 2.5km and see at least two more significant waterfalls. The walking is quite easy in the middle portion but gets a bit tougher in the lower reaches with some vegetation and deadfall to impede your way.

I’ve described how to get to the massive Moose river gorge waterfall ( ) before but since the end point of MacCallum Gulch is only about 1.5km from the massive waterfall, I decided to make my way up to see them. As you make your way up the East Branch of the Moose River, you will need to go up the slope in numerous spots as there are rock outcrops that prevent you from walking along the waters edge. Maybe in the summertime you could walk in the river to save some time and effort (these slopes are extremely steep at times).

After some effort you will be rewarded by reaching the massive fall and cliffs. My track on this post shows that after looking at the fall, I made my way up the cliffs on the right to afford a better view of the fall. These must be some of the highest cliffs in NS. The view at the top reminds me of the Clyburn Valley trail. For the climbers out there; the rock is solid, there is ample room to belay, there are places with some overhangs and the rock walls can easily be 100-200ft or more. There are two main cliffs section, one is by the river and the other is at the top of a scree slope that faces the waterfall.

Once at the top of the cliffs, make your way up the gentle slop in a due East direction. By not going down the slop into the gorge, you can be back to the starting point in about 1.5 km instead of about 4km required to retrace your steps. I eventually made it to a secondary road which led me to the main road where I had left my car.


Make your way past five Islands towards Moose River and turn right on logging road located at 45° 24.913'N, 64° 8.097'W. Continue on main road and park where a stream flows under the road (45° 26.451'N, 64° 9.525'W). At the time I was there, the stream had washed out the road at the culvert making it uncrossable by car. Follow this stream down into the gulch…


Please check the bottom of the Description (above left; click) for the author's written directions.

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By mountainhighPosted By: mountainhigh  - Sun Sep 12 20:55:54 UTC 2010 Not Rated Question Hi. We are interested in this hike and would like to get more information on the level of difficulty and approximate duration. We have not used a GPS before (have done only marked trails....except for once we wandered off the trail and got lost) Figure we need a GPS for bush wacking this one!

Any information is very much appreciated!

ANSWERS are in this forum:  Level of Difficulty
By smburtPosted By: smburt  - Mon May 31 01:11:31 UTC 2010 Not Rated Upside Can't wait to try this one. My favourite part of the province!
By The Big XPosted By: The Big X  - Mon May 31 00:58:57 UTC 2010 This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars Upside The rare pleasure of a back woods, bushwacking hike. The joy of discovering your own route to a remote spectacle. Downside Extreme terrain makes this site one of the hardest to access destinations I have been to yet. Comment This spot has been high on my hit list for quite some time. I made a very conservative recon several weeks before my first serious attempt on May 29, 2010. Benlalonde's route looked too harsh for the time and energy I had the day I did my brief recon - he isn't kidding about the thickness of the bush at the start of the trek he outlines here - it's very tight and drops to a steep descent to get into McCallugh Gultch, which is where my recon ended. On my serious attempt I thought I would be clever and forgo the steep descents altogether. I found a clear, abandoned field along route 2 just across from an old Anglican church. I parked in the church yard and crossed the field. From there it was a short trek through the woods to the edge of the east branch of Moose River. I followed the river all the way to the first of 3 falls in the vicinity and had to stop there. Benlalonde shows a photo of this spot and I have uploaded one too (mine has the late spring, leafy trees in them). This rather small fall pours into a dark pool that is flanked by vertical cliffs on either side. Not knowing how deep the pool was I didn't want to try wading it, and the slopes on either side are EXTREMELY steep. I went up the right (east) side slope for a peek, and beyond this small fall looked like a steep cliff drop all the way to the river - I couldn't see any passable route further up the river and didn't want to die that day (I was alone with the dog) so I turned back the way I came. Disappointed, I decided to recon the route Benlalonde describes in another trailpeak entry ( The slope looked pretty daunting for the amount of energy the dog and I had left in us so I went back a short distance on the logging road Benlalonde describes and found a narrow logging road that looked like it might approach the river. I followed it to the edge of an open, cleared area which was full of dry, piled dead trees. I decided to descend to the edge of the treeline when I caught a glimpse of light through the trees - I thought I might find a view of the gorge from the top of a cliff, but instead saw a very steep (but walkable) slope and heard the distinct sound of a roaring falls so I decided to head for them. I could be wrong, but based on my analysis of the topographic maps I used and referencing the landmarks visible in my and Benlalonde's photos I am fairly certain I had found the farthest north of the 3 falls in the near vicinity (see my photo of a sloped set of falls where the cliffs and rocks are distinctly reddish in comparison with the majority of rocks in the area), which means Benlalonde's "giant" falls are likely the second in a row, running south to north. So I had to settle for the "silver medal" objective that day. Benlalonde's "massive falls" is clearly the "gold medal" prize in the area and I intend to return some day to make another attempt at seeing them, but I definately plan on bringing along a two-legged friend next time ;) Use EXTREME caution on the slopes and cliffs in this area folks!

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