Grand River

Grand River
Photo 14 of 30: Grand River
Taken 2008 June 10 in Grand River from the Fleur-de-Lis Trail on the bridge over the Grand River
GPS 45°38.75?'N 60°39.65?'W

From Lower L’Ardoise, the Fleur-de-Lis Trail leads on to Grand River, both a river and a hamlet with a population of 72 on that river. As stated in this description of the Fleur-de-Lis Trail (from the Wayback Machine archives, as the original is no longer on-line), the river is a noted salmon stream open for angling from early June to mid-October. I had visited this area in the fall of 2007 in the hopes of finding Grand River Falls and getting some decent photographs of the Loch Lomond area in the interior of Richmond County near its boundary with Cape Breton County. At that time, I drove to Grand River and on through the locality of Grand River Falls, but didn’t see any trail leading to the falls, which I knew to be some distance away from the road. As I was taking pictures at Loch Lomond, a Mr. Joe MacInnis of Glace Bay, who was closing up his camp at Loch Lomond for the winter, came out and we struck up a conversation; when he learned that I had been looking for the Grand River Falls, he demonstrated typical Cape Breton hospitality by hopping in his car and having me follow him to the trailhead (at GPS 45°42.951'N 60°36.842'W) a mile and a half away (just 200 m/yds down a side road marked by a “Fish Ladder” sign high in the trees I hadn’t seen when I first drove by and probably wouldn’t have associated with the falls had I seen it). After we parted, I hiked in (about twenty minutes one way), discovering a beautiful place I’d not have seen had it not been for his kindness in taking time to help a total stranger. Grand River Falls apparently at one time was a typical waterfall, but at some point in the past was modified by the construction of a “fish ladder” to make it easier for salmon to ascend the river and reach its source in Loch Lomond; doing this resulted in blasting away some of the rock over which the river fell, leaving somewhat more of a chute than a typical waterfall. Nevertheless, the water flow remains very impressive and quite noisy, dropping what I guess to be some 15 m (50 ft) over a relatively short distance. Once past the falls, the river becomes a typical back-country fishing stream, pretty but not particularly “grand”, until it reaches the community of Grand River, where it widens significantly into a river that is more than worthy of its name.

The Indian Point Road (up to a Y 2.4 km (1.5 mi) south of its northern end, the Indian Point Road and the Point Michaud Road are the same gravel road) follows the Grand River towards the coast on the west side of the river; I drove down this road to its end at Indian Point, but never reached the coast: it dead ends on private land and there are no views to be had there without trespassing. However, many fine views of the Grand River are to be found along this road; I stopped more than once for photos. There is also a road on the east side of the river which I did not drive, but which might also offer good views of the river.

In the far distance, just left of the centre of the photo, one can see a hill whose profile slopes up and then falls briskly off; this profile is common along the Atlantic coast and therefore probably indicates that the ocean is nearby. According to The Nova Scotia Atlas, the mouth of the Grand River is nearly closed by a sand bar across it, leaving only a narrow channel on the west side for the water to enter the Atlantic. I strongly suspect that this hill is adjacent to the mouth.

[2012] According to this web site, the Grand River “was once a popular Salmon fishing river but as of late the Salmon are sparse.” That perhaps explains the disappearance of any mention of salmon fishing in the current description of the Fleur-de-Lis Trail in this PDF file extracted from the Doers and Dreamers guide. Since this essay was written, I have also explored the Eastside Grand River Road and can confirm that it indeed offers very fine views of the Grand River as it follows the east bank of the Grand River to close to its mouth, before turning east to L’Archevêque; this road is well worth the time it takes to check it out.