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September 10, 2013 / mws

2013 Wells Gray Provincial Park

September 9 – 10

Mt Robson

Mt Robson

We left Jasper early and drove west towards our destination,  Clearwater, British Columbia. From the Visitors Center, there is a clear view of Mt. Robson.  Mt. Robson is the most prominent mountain and the highest point in Canada’s Rocky Mountain range. The mountain is located entirely within Mount Robson Provincial Park of British Columbia, and is part of the Rainbow Range.

Rearguard Falls

Rearguard Falls

We also made stops at two scenic waterfalls along the way.  Overlander Falls is a short but wide gushing waterfall on the Fraser River.  It is a popular stop between Jasper and Wells Gray Provincial Parks. It is located inside the boundaries of Mt Robson Provincial Park.

Rearguard Falls is a wide series of rapids and cascades.  A short walking path from the parking area descends to the viewing area right next to the falls.

Spahats Falls

Since it was still early, we stopped at the Visitors Center to pick up a park map and headed into the park area.

We made a stop at the Clearwater Valley Overlook for a lunch picnic and then stopped at Spahats Falls.  This falls is located just 10 km inside the park.  There are several trails here and a viewing platform.

Our last stop of the day was at the 3rd Canyon Viewpoint where there was a nice roadside falls.

Unfortunately, at the main hotel and restaurant area, there was major construction going on and we had to figure out how to detour around to get gas and supplies for the next day.  It was just a minor thing, but annoying.


Dawson Falls

Dawson Falls

Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of Canada’s most breathtaking parks and is renowned for its wildlife viewing and its many thundering waterfalls.

Fifteen years ago, we first traveled through Clearwater,  British Columbia and learned of Wells Gray Park.  We were amazed at the sheer beauty of the parks waterfalls and stunned by the abundant wildlife.  It’s unusual to have a repeat experience at any location, but we were willing to give it a try.  Immediately, we noticed that the park is not totally undeveloped like it was the first time we visited.  In addition to the campgrounds that we remembered, we found a guest ranch, an airfield, and a lodge with golf course and restaurant.  Unfortunately, there were also tour buses though they seemed to visit only the most accessible stops.  😦

Brink of Dawson Falls

Brink of Dawson Falls

At 40 km, the Wells Gray Park road passes close to Dawson Falls. The main viewpoint at the brink is a 10 minute walk from the parking area.  There is a second viewpoint downstream, known as the photographers viewpoint, so of course we had to find it.  Dawson Falls is a spectacular waterfall on the Murtle River.

Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls is located at 42 km and is the 4th highest waterfall in Canada.  It is quite a panoramic view from the platform with the falls plunging 140 meters into an abyss.  The rivers, lakes, and waterfalls of Wells Gray were all stunning, but Helmcken Falls is truly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Canada.

There is lots of colonial character just off the main park road at the former Ray Farm homesite.  It features an abandoned house belonging to a settler family, set in flowering meadows where deer live and play.  We hoped to see a bear along the way but with the increased amount of tourists, our hope dwindled and we were not lucky enough to find our bear.

Clearwater Lake

Clearwater Lake

We spent a full day in the park making stops at the Mush Bowl, Osprey Falls, Shadow Lake, Clearwater Lake, and Bailey’s Chute in addition to the major falls.  For anyone who likes waterfalls, lakes, and rivers in remote areas, this is the place to be!  We were lucky to have a clear warm September day to be in Wells Gray and as Lance says, Wells Gray is an incredible place!  ♥ ♥



For more photos or our trip to Wells Gray, click here

“We cannot overlook the importance of wild country as a source of inspiration, to which we give expression in writing, in poetry, drawing and painting, in mountaineering, or in just being there.”
– Olaus Murie

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