These falls don't get the attention that the Montmorency Falls do. Perhaps it's because they're a little further out and tucked into the woods, but it's a shame -- they're spectacular and kitsch-free. Follow the narrow driveway from Route 138 to a parking lot, picnic grounds, and a building containing a cafeteria, a gift shop, and the ticket booth. The falls are a 10-minute walk from the entrance, although an open-sided shuttle bus also drives visitors to the top of the falls. Trails go down both sides to the bottom. Part of the excitement comes from the approach: You hear the falls before you see them, and you step out of the woods practically beside them. Three (optional) footbridges go directly across the water. The first crosses the narrow river just before the water starts to drop. The second, and most thrilling, crosses right over the canyon, from the top of the rock walls that drop straight down. Being so close to the thundering, unending force crashing over massive rocks is likely to induce vertigo in even the most stable of nerves. The final suspension bridge is at the gorge's base, just 9m (30 ft.) or so above the water where the river flattens out again. The very, very brave-hearted can ride a zip line or walk a rope bridge across the canyon harnessed onto a cable wire.
The falls are 74m (243 ft.) high and at their most awe-inspiring in the spring, when melt-off of winter snows bloats the rivers above and sends 100,000 liters (more than 26,000 gal.) of water over per second. (The volume drops to 10,000L/2,600 gal. per second in Aug-Sept.) So voluminous is the mist coming from the fall that it creates another wall of miniwaterfalls on the side of the gorge. From 1904 to 1965, the river was used to float logs from lumbering operations, and part of the dramatic gorge was created by dynamiting in 1917, to reduce the amount of literal logjams.
Along the trails are platforms that jut over the water and well-written information plaques. Management has wisely avoided commercial intrusions along the trails, letting the powerful natural beauty speak for itself. Those who have difficulty walking can see the falls without going too far from the bus. Those with a fear of heights can stay on the side trails, strolling amid the poplar trees and away from the bridges altogether. A visit takes about 1 1/2 hours.