Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of British Columbia and Canada’s great wilderness areas. This massive protected area is home to the towering Caribou mountains and powerful rivers alongside old growth forests and an abundance of wildlife (including grizzlies, moose, caribou, wolves, cougar and much more). Wells Gray is remarkably beautiful and we got to see nature in all it’s glory during our visit, with the changing colours of autumn and the first layer of snow signaling the soon approaching winter. There is a lot to see in Wells Gray, including the many waterfalls like Dawson Falls located on the side of the road.
Wells Grey Provincial Park is located 5 hours north-east of Vancouver, just outside of Clearwater, British Columbia. It is the fourth largest Provincial Park in British Columbia, with over 5250 km-squared (1.3 million acres) and protects a large part of the wilderness of the Caribou Mountains. It has 39 named waterfalls – including Helmcken Falls (181-meters/463-foot) – the 4th tallest waterfall in Canada. This was the first stop on our Rocky Mountain Road Trip, as we were on our way to Jasper and Banff National Parks to the east.
The lower third of the park is given easy access for exploration along the Clearwater Valley Road, which allows visitors to explore quite a bit. We had originally planned on doing a few short hikes – especially around the rim of Helmcken Falls – but with the poor visibility and snow and ice covering the trails – we were limited in our options. We visited three waterfalls – Dawson, Spahats, and Helmcken – and didn’t get to go too far from the main roads.
We arrived here in the first week of October, during the first night of “winter” (we went to bed in the rain and woke up with a layer of snow on the ground). The main purpose of our visit was a trip to Helmcken Falls, and when we arrived in the early morning we found the falls completely covered by fog. We were determined to wait out the weather, so we returned to our car for coffee and muffins and returned 45 minutes later to see most of the impressive falls finally visible. It was certainly worth the wait.
The fact that this Provincial Park is so close to Vancouver means that in the near future we can return and explore even more of this incredible place, allowing for a few days instead of only a few hours. It is certainly a destination worth visiting, and we look forward to our return.