Gillis Falls

DSC08547DSC08542Gillis Falls are located near Sydney River, Cape Breton Island.  The area is unique as there are two cascading falls on Gillis Brook, both with swimming pools below them.  If you visit the area in the summer, expect others visitors as the area is a popular destination due to its proximity to the city.

To get there, head southwest on Hwy 4 from Sydney Forks. Take Hwy 216 toward Eskasoni.  Go north on Gillis Lake Rd and 3.3 kilometers on the dirt road until you reach a dip in the road and a bridge across Gillis Brook.  On the eastern side of the bridge you will find a short and well trodden trail to the upper falls.  On the western side, the trail is less pronounced and fairly steep at the falls.  Use caution descending down to the lower falls. 


7 thoughts on “Gillis Falls

  1. I recently visited Gillis Falls and I was amazed at how beautiful the spot was. At the entrance of the path that must be taken to the falls is blocked off by iron gates and a “No Trespassing” sign. The shame of it, however, is the broken glass all over the ground from Teenagers drinking and disrespeciting the area. I was there for roughly 1.5 hrs and I loved every moment! The water was beautiful. I wished that I had known about this spot long before now. My Friends & I (keep in mind we are all adults in our late 20’s) were there enjoying the falls and taking pictures when a cranky old Lady and her miniature yappy Weiner Dog came down over the bank and told us to leave because we were on private property! I was shocked that she told us to leave because we were causing no harm to the area and we were grown adults… not a bunch of drunken Teenagers. What I am trying to say to anyone who is interested in seeing this beautiful spot, good luck. This woman who supposetly claims to “own the falls” comes down to the falls on a regular basis to make sure that nobody is enjoying this little piece of Paradise. I am actually quite curious to look into the matter and see if she actually does own Gillis Falls or if she’s just lying to keep people away from her Summer Home (which is located about a 10 minute walk away)
    I am going to try and find out from someone here in the CBRM if that area is infact deeded to this woman or if she’s lying. It is such a shame for people not to be able to swim there and enjoy the Falls.
    Thanks a lot to the creator of this site for giving directions to these beautiful spots, I look forward to visiting the rest 🙂


  2. One more thing I forgot to add!
    You should add Mary Ann Falls to this website, that’s another beautiful Waterfall that everyone should experience 🙂


  3. I was also at gillis falls today with my two kids.
    I went in then my girlfriend went in and an old man came down and asked if we seen the sign.
    my girlfriend said we walked in through the woods. The man told us to stay this time but not to come back.
    I was blowen away by this.
    I can see he has cleaned the place up and he said it was due to people wreaking the place.
    That is a shame if people break bottles and such in a spot such as gillis falls but I also can not see me kicking kids out of there.
    And I do not think someone can own a waterfall and if there is such a law the CBRM sucks


  4. Lovely site! I just found it. I didn’t know we had so many waterfalls in Cape Breton. Will the wonders of our beautiful island never cease? I hope not.
    Sorry to hear about the “no trespassing” issue but, I can understand it. There is a beach between Pondville beach provincial park and Arichat on Isle Madame. Just a short walk through a lovely wooded trail. Beautiful ocean beach on one side and a nice freshwater lake on the other. When I was a kid, it was lovely. Now, a lot of the sandy are near the lake has been covered with broken glass due to teen age drinking parties, ignorant beach goes, ignorant campers and atv activities, a vehicle I’d LOVE to see banned in this province! I hate to see places like Gillis Falls become a no go but I can’t blame landowners for trying to protect such lovely areas. My Grandfather’s second wife had a cottage on Gillis’ Lake when I was a kid. Lovely area as I remember from 30 odd years ago. Sad to see things blocked off and people not wanting to share but, they are being pushed to it at times. And it screws everyone out of a lovely experience. My heart goes out to all who would be responsible users as well as the land owners. If you want to help the situation, leave areas cleaner than you found them and report anything seen that fouls the area i.e. littering and vandalism. If we all did that, then maybe there would be less gates, chains and no trespassing signs and more harmony between land owners and site seers.


  5. Thanks Jim for the nice comments. Sounds like Gillis Falls had become a party area. Lets hope all our visitors pack out their garbage and respect the places as if they were their own. It’s always safe to ask permission when there’s signage. Sometimes the owners have a good history of the area too! There’s quite a few more waterfalls in Cape Breton that I still have to visit. Hope to do so soon.


  6. I had the same problem with my little brother with autism and lil sister , the man came down yelling did u see the sign with an angry dog , my litle brother whom has autism said , god made this were aloud here , he is 8 years old , the old man was very rude , he cannot own the river or waterfall although he does own the land , ppl can walk through the water or wood . im deffenetly looking into getting something done about this rude old man doing this to people , not our faults or childrens faults that teens like to mess it up !!


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