Helmcken Falls – Jewel of Wells Grey Park

Helmcken Falls – The Jewel of Wells Grey

It is no exaggeration to call Helmcken Falls the “Jewel of Wells Grey Park“. Rated by Readers Digest as one of “Canada’s 10 most Beautiful Waterfalls”. Helmcken Falls is the centerpiece to Wells Gray Provincial Park, one of the most powerful waterfalls on earth and one of BC’s prime tourist draws,” says the World’s Waterfall Database. This is truly a must see when you are in the area.

The Murtle River narrows from 300 feet wide just a few kilometres upstream (Dawson Falls) to 75 feet and roars over the lip of the canyon. The water hurtles 462 feet to create a large amphitheatre (one of North America’s largest natural amphitheatre). The bowl is more than 500 feet wide and carves back over 100 feet into the cliff behind the falls.

Further downstream there is a second 50 foot drop which isn’t counted in Helmcken’s official height. The two drops make Helmcken over 500 feet. The volume of spray is sufficient that under the right conditions it can be seen well above the canyon rim.

The view point is some distance from the falls making it difficult to truly appreciate the power and size of the falls. Still, the view is nothing short of awe inspiring. The World Waterfall Database says, “Simply put, Helmcken Falls is unquestionably one of the best waterfalls in all of North America.”

Helmcken Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Helmcken Falls

 

Helmcken Falls in Winter

The water plunges over the canyon rim year round. The spray bowl in winter can exceed 200 feet tall. In recent years ice climbers have discovered the falls and it is rated as the world’s most difficult mixed climb. The falls are accessible year round.

Helmcken falls - Winter

Helmcken falls – Winter

Helmcken – the name

The falls were discovered in the summer of 1913 by by Canadian Government land surveyor Robert Lee in July of 1913. The falls were named for Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken who was active in the early governance of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Getting to Helmcken

Take the Clearwater Valley Road (main park access road) 42 kilometers north from the highway in Clearwater, then turn left at the signs for the falls and follow 4 kilometers to the end of the road. A short well maintained trail will take you to the viewing area from the parking lot (approx 5 minutes).

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

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Moul Falls a hidden gem

Moul Falls

We continue our exploring the waterfalls of Wells Grey with a look at Moul Falls. Neither as tall as Helmcken Falls or Spahats Falls nor as wide as Dawson Falls, Moul has a unique charm is should be on every visitor’s must see list.

Moul Falls, Grouse Creek, Waterfalls of Wells Grey

Pouring from Grouse creek, spanning 40 feet with a vertical drop of 115 feet, Moul is pretty year round. The crown in this hidden gem is the undercut behind the falls. It is possible to actually stand behind the falls or traverse the creek from behind them.

Accessing the undercut ledge (cave) will mean crossing some slippery, wet rocks and you will likely get wet from the spray. It is worth it (especially on hot summer days), there are few places you can stand behind a real wilderness waterfall. You can photograph the falls from front and behind, just be careful on those wet rocks.

Moul is a little less accessible than some of the other front of park waterfalls as it requires a 6 km round trip hike from the parking area, but is well worth the hike. Like many of the falls in Wells Grey, Moul cascades down where the lava has been eroded to the underlying basalt.

ACCESSING MOUL FALLS

The parking area for Moul falls is approximately 20 km up Clearwater Valley Rd on the south side. After parking, hike through the gate and down the old logging road following the signs. The trail eventually swings to the left and takes you to the falls (distance from trailhead to falls – approx. 3km each way). Note that while the bulk of the trail is a gentle slope, there is a steep set of stairs to access the base of the falls.

Moul Falls, waterfalls of Wells Grey

Stairs to Moul Falls

 

 

While Visiting Wells Grey Park Stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

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Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non-smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

Wells Gray Park Open

WELLS GRAY PARK OPEN

Update From Wells Grey Tourism … Wells Gray Park Open ….

“OPEN!!!
Wells Gray Park is fully open tomorrow morning (September 12, 2017) at 8:00 AM. This includes Moul Falls, the flower meadows, and the West Lake Loop. See you on the trails! Hooray!”

Wells Gray Park Open

 

The back country of Wells Grey Park, in Clearwater BC has been closed for much of the summer due to fire hazard. Access to some of the Falls (Spahats Falls, Dawson Falls, the Mushbowl, and Helmcken Falls) has been available but most of the walk in falls were inaccessible. The entire park is open.

That all changes tomorrow. The park is reopen. That’s good news for everyone.

Time for a hike? Come to Clearwater. Hike the Trophies. Explore to your heart’s content.

Want to stand under a waterfall? Come to Clearwater and hike into Moul Falls. It’s an experience you will never forget.

Come check out the salmon at Bailey’s Chute. They are still running.

Come and see the sights that people from all over the world journey here for. Come be amazed at the wonder of it all.

Clearwater BC and Wells Grey Park are worth seeing for the first time or once again.

You might not realize that much of the park is open year round. I think that some of the falls (particularly Helmcken Falls) have a special majestic beauty in the winter season. See ice cones at the bottom of the falls several hundred feet tall.

Come cross country ski or snowshoe. Try your hand at ice fishing.

BOOK YOUR STAY WITH AT VALLEY HIDEAWAY GUEST HOUSE. Like the Park, we are open year round as well.

Clearwater is for more than summer. Winter, summer, spring and fall, it takes all year to do it all in Clearwater.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises