Step up to the ledge. A cool mist dampens your skin, thundering water surrounds you, and your heart beats faster. Raw, untamed water plummets vertically. It is so primal you can feel it in your bones. Wells Gray Provincial Park is known for these waterlogged beasts. Welcome to the land of the waterfalls. Enjoy the 39 named waterfalls and find other left as anonymous scattered throughout the park.
The Land of Waterfalls
Where searing lava once flowed, frosty waters now surge. They will mesmerize you with their stunning liquid dance. These ancient formations of shifting tectonic plates, frozen glacial activity and seething volcanoes may be the best example of how unbelievably wild the Canadian wilderness truly is. The steady drumbeat of the falls will burn into your senses and create a life-long memory. Hike through Wells Gray Park and explore the many flowing waterfalls. From the height of Helmcken Falls, to the invigorating trek to Moul Falls, to the tranquil beauty of Dawson Falls, leave no stone (or path) unturned. Witness the circle of life at Rearguard Falls in Mount Robson Park as the Pacific Chinook salmon return to their spawning grounds.
Wells Gray Provincial Park — Where Waterfalls Dominate
Fiery volcanoes and icy glaciers created the lush, rugged hinterland of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Out-flowing rapids were formed by their fight and provide some of the most dramatic geological viewing in British Columbia. Get prepared to be stunned as you walk on nature’s edge.
The Star of the Show — Helmcken Falls
The hurried water of Murtle River carves its way through the North Thompson Valley from a nameless glacier in the Cariboo Mountains. Along the way, seven waterfalls pour from this tributary. The star of the show is world-famous Helmcken Falls located in Wells Gray Provincial Park. This flooding creature thunders 141m (463 ft) making it the fourth largest waterfall in Canada.
Choose your view — at a distance, or up close. The viewing platform is easily accessible from the road and offers an all-encompassing view of the falls and canyon area. For a different perspective, take the hour-long hike on the Rim Trail. Use the river as your guide. You can hear the water rushing more rapidly the closer you get to the falls. If you stand at the edge of the canyon you’ll feel the rumbling torrents up close. The sight of these falls is beyond imagination. Storming waters churn over land, creating ethereal movement, catching sunlight to create rainbows. This balance of barbarian power and mystical beauty introduces you to the Canadian backcountry in a most unique way.
Dawson, Moul and Spahats Creek Falls — More Diamonds in the Wild
An old-growth rain forest is your companion as you walk the easy 10-minute forested path that opens up to where Dawson Falls rumbles and rages. Extending 90m (295 ft) across, you’ll be astounded by the sheer width of these falls. As the surging water tumbles over prehistoric molten rock and swirls into Murtle River, the tranquility of this spot is inspiring. It may be just what the doctor ordered.
Another great adventure is the one-hour trek from Clearwater road to Moul Falls. This energizing hike is one of Wells Gray Park’s best-kept secrets. Work your way down to the base of the falls where time and nature have eroded the rock face. As a result, you can slip behind the waterfall like a passage into another land. Mother Nature lives here, and her hospitality abounds. The clean scent of rushing water envelops you as the spray invigorates your spirit and you witness the raw command of a hidden den.
Picture-perfect and inspiring, Spahats Creek Falls is probably one of the most breathtaking falls located in Wells Gray Park. The deluge chutes forward through a hole in the rock as if from nowhere, down pouring into the Clearwater River. Marvel in the splendour of the brawny water, and the complete blanket of wilderness surrounding you, though you just left the road moments before.
Witness the Salmon’s Return to Mt. Robson’s Rearguard Falls
While you’re here, you should attend nature’s homecoming. Come watch as the mighty Chinook salmon make their last run back to their spawning grounds from the Pacific Ocean. Late August marks the best viewing time to witness this unbelievably heroic return up the Fraser River. It’s an 800-mile journey round trip. Rearguard Falls, in stunning Mount Robson Park, showcases these compelling swimmers fighting their way upstream. They battle the powerful current and also try to jump out and over the falls — usually to no avail. This can mark the end of a life for one of our region’s most sacred creatures, and the beginning of the next.
World Renowned Adams River Run
Don’t miss out on the world famous annual Adams River salmon run. The Adams River is one of the most important rivers in North American for the Sockeye salmon. Delight at the sight of millions of fish making their way back home to lay their eggs during the peak of the season in mid-October. Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park is the key site for trail access and platforms for salmon viewing, just make sure you bring your camera! The Sockeye salmon have their highest return of spawning fish every four years. To celebrate the occasion, the Adams River Salmon Society holds an almost month long celebration, Salute to the Sockeye, during these peak periods. The next peak cycle is 2018.