Reversing Rapids at Fallsview Park
St. John, New Brunswick
N 45° 15.871 W 066° 05.273
The Reversing Rapids is a unique phenomenon created when huge tides of the Bay of Fundy's collide with the flow of the St. John River. It is best viewed from Fallsview Park in St. John, New Brunswick.
The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. At Saint John, NB the Bay of Fundy tides rise 28.5' and completes a high-tide to low-tide cycle twice a day. At low tide the water of the St. John River, up stream from the mouth of the river, flows downstream normally over a 36' deep under water ledge and through a gorge between Fallsview Park and the Irvine Paper Mill across the river. This causes the water in the river to rush into a 175' - 200' deep pool, causing a series of rapids and whirlpools. At this point the tidal waters in the Bay of Fundy are 14.5' lower than the river.
At slack tide the water level in the river is the same as in the Bay of Fundy and the same area, the rapids disappear and the river turns into a calm lake. From that time on water rushed in from the Bay of Fundy and actually reverses the flow of the river and the rapids begin to form again but this time in the upstream direction forming the phenomenon known as the Reversing Rapids.
Fallsview Park provided a great viewing area to observe this phenomenon. To fully appreciate the Reversing Rapids you should visit the same spot twice, once at low tide when the water is flowing downstream and again at high tide when the water is flowing upstream. At high tide you might even see some seals taking advantage of the opportunity to catch some fish or just play in the rushing waters.