Chasing Waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park

Wells Gray Provincial Park is located in Central British Columbia, in the mountains of Canada’s westernmost province. The entrance to the park is just north of Clearwater and is the gateway to this incredible wilderness playground in the Caribou Mountain range. Surrounded by towering mountains, rivers, and untouched wilderness, Wells Grey Park is full of amazing natural attractions, including the highlight of this park; the impressive Helmcken Falls.

There are over 39 named waterfalls found in Wells Gray, including the highlight of this region, the 141-meter (463 ft) waterfall that draws many visitors to this location. There are many lakes and creeks that originate in the park, most of which find their way into the Clearwater River, as well as many wildlife viewing opportunities. It is one of the best outdoor playgrounds in British Columbia. 

Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park. 2018.

Helmcken Falls is the 4th tallest waterfall in Canada and has been carving a path into the landscape for thousands of years. It is easy to access most attractions in the park along the Clearwater Valley Road (the lower third of the park can be accessed along this road) but to really explore the park, you need to leave the car behind and go for a hike. 

We drove here from Vancouver (about 5-hours to the South-West) and spent the night sleeping in the car just outside the entrance to the park. In the morning we embarked on our journey into the park to visit the waterfalls. With an unexpected weather change (we woke up with an unexpected layer of snow that wasn’t there when we went to sleep) we were limited on our options for hiking around the area, but we still managed to see three of the 39 named falls in the park, including Helmcken, Spatts and Dawson Falls. 

We were at the falls before 9 in the morning, and unfortunately could barely see the waterfall in the mist and fog, but after going back to the parking lot for 40 minutes to eat muffins and make coffee, we returned and got to see the falls in all its glory, looking angry and moody at the prospect of an early winter. It was spectacular to see, and we look forward to returning in the future to do some more exploration of this beautiful piece of nature.

Chasing Waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park:

The first stop on our Rocky Mountain Adventure was in Wells Gray Provincial Park, where we came to chase waterfalls. Wells Gray is home to 39 named waterfalls, and we set our sights on the tallest and most famous of them in the park, Helmcken Falls, which drops 141-meters (463-feet) is the 4th tallest waterfall in Canada. The waterfall drains into a canyon created by these forces of nature. Located only 5 hours from Vancouver, a visit to this amazing wilderness is worth the drive. 

Our first attempt to see the falls was denied by the weather, a thick blanket of mist and fog hid Helmcken Falls from view. We returned 40 minutes later (after coffee and breakfast in the parking lot) and were treated with a spectacular view of the falls, and was one of the most memorable moments of our 10-day road trip across Western Canada.

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2 comments

  1. Helmcken Falls looks stunning! I just googled Wells Grey Provincial Park and was surprised to see how blooming massive it is! Hopefully we’ll be able to explore there too at some point. 5 hours drive sounds more manageable than the drive to Banff!

    Liked by 1 person

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