Reversing Falls

A rolling, grassy area, bordered by trees and surrounded by the waters of Cobscook Bay welcome visitors to Reversing Falls.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Walking
0.6 miles, Network
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge


Witness the power of the ocean tide. Dropping or rising an average of 20 feet every 6.4 hours, millions of gallons of water flowing into and out of Dennys and Whiting Bays pass through a narrow channel between Mahar Point and Falls Island. In this channel, a large ledge impedes the current creating the falls, deep whirlpools, and high swells. On the outgoing tide, the process occurs in the reverse direction, hence the reversing falls. A 12-foot drop between the two ends of the falls occurs at mid-tide.

Traditionally called Cobscook Falls, Reversing Falls are an unusual phenomenon on the Maine coast. The word Cobscook, derived from the Passamaquoddy work kapscook, means waterfalls. However, as the author Fannie Hardy Eckstorm writes in Indian Place Names of the Maine Coast, "these are not ordinary waterfalls; they are boiling tide over unseen rocks."

Visitors are likely to see seals playing in the falls. Bald eagles and many species of waterfowl and migratory birds can be observed from the shore.

The walking trail begins at the eastern parking lot and continues along the wooded shore and two spur paths lead off the trail onto peninsulas that provide varying views of the falls and an impressive panorama of Cobscook Bay. 

Other Information

The currents at Reversing Falls can change quickly and dramatically with the tidal cycle. It is unsafe to swim or wade at Reversing Falls at any time. Boating in Reversing Falls should only be done with an experienced local guide.

Please practice carry-in/carry-out and leave no trace ethics. Please stay on the trail, moss, lichen and marsh soil are fragile. Please do not carve graffiti or initials in rocks, ledges or trees. For your safety, wear orange during hunting season. Fires, camping, ATV's and snowmobiles are not permitted.

The Town of Pembroke owns and maintains 32 acres at the point, including the parking area and fields.

Trail Manager

Visit Downeast Coastal Conservancy online for more information or contact:

Downeast Coastal Conservancy

Downeast Coastal Conservancy
PO Box 760
Machias, ME 04654
Phone: (207) 255-4500
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Be aware of and limit the noise you and your group generate. Enjoy the sounds of nature.
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Trailhead Information

Take U.S. Route 1 to Pembroke. Turn east onto the extension of Route 214, immediately beside the Irving gas station. From the Route 214 extension, turn right at the stop sign and then take an immediate left up a small hill onto the Leighton Point Road (some maps call this the Leighton Neck Road.) Continue 3.3 miles, then turn right onto Clarkside Road (paved road, look for the wood Reversing Falls marker) and continue 1.2 miles. At the end of Clarkside Road, turn left onto a dirt road and go 1.5 miles to the Town of Pembroke land and parking area.

Downeast Coastal Conservancy's trail begins at the eastern parking lot. 

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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