Chasing Iconic Waterfalls of Wells GrayUncover the mystical places that romantics, adventurers and photographers come here to find! With 41 named waterfalls (and counting!), and even more tucked into the wilds, discover why Wells Gray is also known as the land of waterfalls.
Ancient volcanoes and slow-moving glaciers carved the rivers and lakes that fuel the Park’s waterfalls. You’ll hear the roar of the Falls, long before you can see cascading water tumbling over lichen-drenched boulders, making its way downstream. Almost half the named Falls are found in the Corridor , mere minutes from Clearwater Valley Road.
- Top 14 Waterfalls to Visit in Wells Gray
- The Full List of 41 Named Waterfalls in Wells Gray
- What to know and When to go
1. Helmcken Falls
|Seven of the Park’s waterfalls originate on the Murtle River, but perhaps none are more famous than Helmcken Falls, and the very reason Wells Gray Park exists. Cascading 141m to the canyon below, Helmcken Falls is the fourth largest waterfall in Canada. The fact you can access it just steps from the road is really an added bonus.
The viewing platform hangs over the lip of the canyon providing a panoramic view of the Murtle River tumbling in the distance. If you’d rather a more up-close-and-personal view of the falls, strike out on a one-hour hike along the Rim Trail where you’ll find waterfall views seen mostly by birds.
Visit Helmcken Falls in winter and you’ll marvel at what you find. What was once a raging torrent of water has frozen in time and place. A frozen cone of water climbs 50 metres up the canyon, and glimmers in the bright winter sun, sometimes for two months.
2. Dawson FallsDawson Falls, one of seven waterfalls tumbling down the Murtle River, stretches its watery veil 90 m (295 ft) across ancient lava beds creating a shallow, but broad cascade of water. Although you’re walking mere meters from the Clearwater Valley Road, the dense forest mutes all but the sound of rushing water. You’ll spy Dawson Falls after about 10-minutes in – stop – snap a selfie with the waterfall behind, then continue along the trail for a different vantage point at the top of the falls.
(Dawson Falls pictured above)
3. Moul FallsIf you’ve ever wondered what lies behind the veil of a waterfall, you’ll want to explore Moul Falls. A one-hour hike from Clearwater Valley Road, a moss and roots covered trail delivers you to the edge of Grouse Creek where Moul Falls spills into the Clearwater River. You can stop at the viewing platform above, but if you’re really adventurous, you’ll continue down to the base of the chute where you can slip between the falls and the canyon revelling in the cool mist of its cold, rushing waters.
4. Spahats Creek FallsVolcanic rock deposits left centuries ago form the layer-cake-like canyon at Spahats Falls, making it one of the most dramatic waterfalls to photograph in the Park. You’ll find the turn-off to the Falls just inside the Park’s gate. Stroll the cool hemlock and cedar forest for about five minutes and you’ll see the Falls cascading from a keyhole in the rock face, 80 metres above the Clearwater River.
5. MushbowlJust downstream from Dawson Falls, watch the Murtle River split in two as it makes its way around Cambrian rock formations. Pull over after crossing the one-lane wooden bridge that straddles the river. Access 40 kms up the Clearwater Valley Road.
6. Silvertip FallsAt 168 metres, this is one of the tallest falls in Wells Gray Park, hidden under Trophy Mountain. Stop at Visitor Centre for directions and road condition report. Access from the Trophy Mountain Road off the Clearwater Valley Road.
7. Triple Decker & 8. Candle Creek FallsA stunning three -tiered waterfall that marks the start of a 7km one-way hike down along the Clearwater River trail. Access 4km up the Clearwater Valley Road at sign marked Woodlot 301.
9. Rainbow FallsFrom the far end of Azure Lake from the Rainbow Falls campground, follow signs through old growth forest to see as the falls cascade into Azure Lake. Accessible by boat on the Clearwater/Azure Lake Chain.
10. Sylvia & 11. Goodwin FallsA gorgeous 4 km hike from the very end of the rough and rugged Clearwater River Road delivers you to this upper cascade on the Mahood River. The same hike will deliver you to the lower cascade on the Mahood River.
Photo: Holly Louwerse Photography, Sylvia and Goodwin Falls
12. Marcus and 13. Myanth FallsAfter watching salmon jump at Baileys Chute, complete the 5km, flat West Lake Loop through old growth forest and berry patches to see these falls. Access 59 kms up the Park road.
14. McDiarmid Falls
A hidden waterfall that very few visit! It is accessible from the same parking lot as Moul Falls. Contact the Visitor Information for more detailed information.
Photo and hiking instructions from Hike Kamloops.
|Allison||15||Philip Creek below Philip Lake|
|Are||15||Philip Creek above confluence with Trout Creek|
|Bailey's Chute||10||Clearwater River above The Horseshoe|
|'Bridalveil' or 'Ludtke Falls'||15||At the end of Azure Lake|
|Candle Creek||10||Candle Creek near Clearwater River|
|Canim||25||Canim River between Canim and Mahood Lakes|
|Coal Creek||40||Coal Creek in the Hemp Canyonlands|
|Cougar||20||Cougar Creek falling into Helmcken Canyon|
|Crystal||30||Unnamed creek flowing into north side of Azure Lake|
|Deception||50||Deception Creek above Mahood Lake|
|Fage||30||Fage Creek near Clearwater River|
|Falls Creek||4||Confluence of Falls Creek and Clearwater River|
|Garnet||30||Garnet Creek above Azure Lake|
|Goodwin||10||Mahood River below Sylvia Falls|
|Hemp||8||Hemp Creek west of The Flatiron|
|Horseshoe||6 and 10||Murtle River|
|Ida||20||Third Canyon Creek near Buck Hill|
|Lee||18||Murtle River below Helmcken Falls|
|Lifely||10||Unnamed creek flowing into east side of Clearwater Lake|
|Mahood||20||Unnamed creek, part of Canim River outflow from Canim Lake|
|Marcus||5||Clearwater River above Bailey's Chute|
|McDiarmid||10||Grouse Creek near confluence with Clearwater River|
|McDougall||14||Murtle River below Murtle Lake|
|Meadow||8||Murtle River below McDougall Falls|
|Moul||35||Grouse Creek above confluence with Clearwater River|
|Mushbowl||5||Murtle River at Clearwater Valley Road bridge|
|Myanth||3||Clearwater River above Marcus Falls|
|Osprey||3||Clearwater River at mouth of Clearwater Lake|
|Rainbow||20||Angus Horne Creek above Azure Lake|
|Roostertail||10||Unnamed creek flowing into south side of Azure Lake|
|Second Canyon||15||Second Canyon Creek below Clearwater Valley Road|
|Silvertip||200||Silvertip Creek above Spahats Creek Road|
|Spahats||75||Spahats Creek near confluence with Clearwater River|
|Sticta||10||Falls Creek 1 km upstream from Clearwater River|
|Sundt||25||Lickskillet Creek near Hobson Lake|
|Sylvia||20||Mahood River 3.5 km above Clearwater River|
|Third Canyon||8 and 10||Third Canyon Creek above Clearwater Valley Road|
|Triple Decker||60||Candle Creek below Clearwater Valley Road|
(Info from Wikipedia)
- April – June – Spectacular viewing when waterfalls are swollen with spring run off, a great chance to get away from the crowds
- July – September – Still lots of water flowing over the main attractions, but some of the small waterfalls will be running more slowly this time of year. Warm weather and flowers in bloom.
- October – December – As mountains start to be covered with snow, waterfall production diminishes, but Fall colours are breathtaking.
- January – March – The best time to see Helmcken Falls under its magnificent ice cone.
Need to Know
Waterfalls are so mesmerizing it’s easy to get caught up in their beauty and forget where you’re standing. The following tips will help keep you safe while you drink in the sights.
- Stay on trails and don’t stray from observation decks and platforms.
- Follow safety instructions posted at all waterfalls and trails.
- Watch your footing. Dry and wet rocks can be slippery, especially those covered with algae.
- The top of any waterfall is the most dangerous. Do not lean over a ledge at the top of a falls.
- Watch children carefully. Children should always be under the immediate supervision of adults when visiting any falls. Pets should also be supervised. They can easily underestimate the slickness of rocks and the flow of water.
- Be especially careful when photographing the falls. Often, photographers become more focused on taking a photo rather than securing their footing. Make sure you are in a safe, solid location before taking photographs.
- To insure your safety on the rocks and trails, never visit waterfalls or hike alone.