Outdoor and nature enthusiasts will love the endless adventures waiting in British Columbia. The majestic province is perfectly located between the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Ocean. B.C is the perfect place to unwind, unplug, and explore the great outdoors in spring and summer. Wells Gray Provincial Park, is home to diverse wildlife, hiking trails, five major lakes, two river systems to canoe along, lush green forests packed with plants, and of course, the famous waterfalls. With over 1.3 million acres of protected landscape, it’s the fourth biggest provincial park in B.C and a real paradise. When I was exploring Wells Gray Provincial Park I stayed overnight in Clearwater, the main gateway to the area and an adorable small town. Wells Gray is often referred to as Canada’s waterfall park and there are 41 named waterfalls. Here are five to get you started on your waterfall chasing journey.
Walking behind Moul Falls was the highlight of my journey exploring Wells Gray. The cool mist of the rushing water splashed me in the face as I walked between the veil of the falls and the canyon wall. It’s about a one-hour hike through the forest to get to the top of the falls for a perfect view. Sturdy shoes with treads are recommended as the ground gets slippery, especially if you walk down to the base of the falls. The route starts at Moul Falls parking lot on Clearwater Valley Road and is a popular hike for locals and tourists that want a challenging waterfall adventure.
The tallest and most famous falls in the park, Helmcken Falls, is also Canada’s fourth tallest. Not far from Clearwater Valley Road, Helmcken Falls is truly iconic. Stand on the viewing platform and take in the beauty of the panoramic views of the canyon down below. The impressive falls are one of the most powerful waterfalls on the planet, but because the viewing platform is further away the falls may appear smaller than they actually are. But make no mistake, Helmcken Falls is close to 500 feet tall and drops over the volcanic Murtle Plateau. Over 200,000 years ago a massive lava deposit filled the Clearwater River valley and the plateau was formed by layers of lava. There are nearby hiking trails such as the two-hour hike along the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail. Be on the lookout for B.C wildlife roaming the forest around you.
Spahats Creek Falls
A short hiking trail through a pretty cedar forest leads to Spahats Falls, a tall narrow waterfall spilling into a broad gorge below. There is a viewing platform for all your photo needs or simply admire the beauty and sounds of the plunging waterfall. Spahats Falls was formed by deposits of volcanic rock years ago. There are benches at the far end if you want to sit quietly and bird watch.
It’s a ten-minute easy walk through a lush forest on a mostly flat trail to this stunning cascading waterfall, making it great for families with younger kids. Dawson Falls flows over lava beds and across the Murtle River. Murtle Lake is also beautiful and famous for being North America’s biggest paddle only lake. There is a second viewpoint at the brink of the falls that is also very pretty and worthy of photos, just take the smaller path and stand at the top and look down.
Located downstream from Dawson Falls and a short hike away from Helmcken falls, you can witness the Murtle River split into two sections here. The exposed rock formations separating the two cascades of Mushbowl Falls are the oldest rocks in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Although it’s a smaller waterfall, it sits in a narrow canyon and is stunning. There is a cave to the left side of the falls that is accessible when the river is not flowing too high. Mushbowl Falls are located in the heart of the Clearwater Corridor of the park and there is a small area for a few cars if you are driving.
Please travel responsibly and leave nothing but footprints in Wells Gray Provincial Park.