Perfect Rest Stop

Perfect Rest Stop on Busy Holiday

There is an old joke that says “If it’s Tuesday it must be (fill in the city)” We have all had the holidays where we want to see and do as much as we can in a very limited time. It can be tricky to choose the perfect rest stop on a busy holiday of two, three or even four weeks.

Many of the guests at Valley Hideaway have experienced that very dilemma. They have been hitting the well known high points, Jasper, Banff, Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver Island. At some point in that route they come through Clearwater and book a night with us. The majority of our guests tell us that if they had known how beautiful and peaceful it is here in Clearwater they would have planned for a longer stay.

When travelling your circuit we recommend that you spend at least two nights in Clearwater. There is plenty to see and do and it is also a wonderful place to rest and just digest all that you have already seen.

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we take only one party at a time. That gives you exclusive use of our two story guest area and a full acre of land to wander in. Sit a spell on the rustic backyard swing. Grab a seat under the front yard crabapple tree.

 

Valley Hideaway Guesthouse - crabapple tree front view

Valley Hideaway – crabapple tree front view

Enjoy a fire in our outdoor fire pit (weather permitting) or inside by the woodburning fireplace on a rainy day.

Living room with wood burning fireplace - Valley Hideaway Guest House ( B&B )

Living room with wood burning fireplace – Valley Hideaway Guest House

Stop and smell the flowers (both literally and figuratively). Breathe the fresh air. Enjoy seeing a large variety of birdlife. Watch the squirrels chase each other through the stately Douglas firs.

Get Away

Retreat from the world for a couple of days. Rest up and soak in what you have seen so far. Restore your mind and spirit. Explore the beauty of Wells Grey Park and the North Thompson area.

Some Reviews

What do our guests say? Here is a sample from actual guest reviews…

“Kevin and Kathy are the most warmth and friendly host we ever met, they seemed to leave most of their house to the guest, not only just one room, and those rooms are impeccable clean …” J. Taiwan

“Everything was perfect. There’s no word to describe this amazing stay! We were very sad to leave after only one night!” L. France

“This was not B&B per se, basically we had free use of a whole house. Kevin and Kathy so welcoming and helpful. We felt guilty only staying for one night. It would suit someone wanting a longer stay…. the Wells Grey NP is close by and very pretty.” R. U.K.

“Brilliant breakfast. Best I have ever had in a B&B. Great owners. We could have stayed there for more time, if looking to stay in the area.” A. U.K.

“The hosts were wonderful and made us feel like we were right at home after many weeks of travelling”. E. Netherlands

“Like home …. only better”. S. Israel

Book your multi day stay in Clearwater today, it is the perfect rest stop on a busy holiday. You’ll be glad you did.

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Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Book your stay with us

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

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

Bears

BEARS

If you go down to the woods today     You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise! For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnicTeddy bears, bears, Wells GRay, Clearwater, Valley Hideaway

 

Well, despite the lyrics to this old children’s rhyme, you probably won’t see any teddy bears in the wild.

 

Here in the Clearwater BC area, is the season to see real bears. You may see them feeding on roots and berries but not carrying a picnic basket.

Late spring, early summer and early fall are the best times to see bear in the Clearwater, Wells Grey Park area. Watch for them along the side of the roadways or in the fields. There are plenty of places to see them and at this time of year you are quite likely to come across a mother with cubs. There are two species of bears in the area.

 

Black Bear

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America.Despite the name “black” bear, this species actually come in a variety of colour patterns. I have seen blacks, browns, cinnamons and even a bleak bear with a huge white spot on his chest. Last year Kathy and I spotted a mother black with three cubs, one was black, one was brown and the third cinnamon. They took off back into the woods from the roadside before we could get a photo.

Black bears are the most common species in the world, but that does not make seeing one an everyday occurrence, even in bear season. They are different and it is a special treat to see them in their natural habitat.

Black bear

It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. They can be seen fishing in the creeks and rivers, particularly during the salmon spawning run. The rich fishy diet helps put on needed weight for winter hibernation.

 

Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly bear is the much larger cousin of the black bear. The hump is a good way to distinguish a grizzly bear from a black bear, as black bears do not have this hump. Aside from the distinguishing hump a grizzly bear can be identified by a “dished in” profile of their face with short, rounded ears, whereas a black bear has a straight face profile and longer ears. A grizzly bear can also be identified by its rump, which is lower than its shoulders, while a black bear’s rump is higher.

Grizzly bear

Grizzly Bear – “griz”

Bear Safety.

The Government of Canada has some great tips on being bear safe. While bears generally avoid people, they are not pets and can be dangerous. Take appropriate precautions.

Contact Us

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Book your stay with us

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

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

 

Starry Nights – Enjoy the northern night sky

Starry Nights

Who doesn’t love starry nights? I don’t mean Vincent Van Gogh’s classic painting, which I confess doesn’t speak to me personally, although it does speak to millions of other people. I mean staying out after dark and seeing God’s magnificent handiwork in the skies.

Living in in urban areas often causes people to lose out on the beauty of the night sky simply because light pollution causes the view of the heavens to be dimmed. The clear skies of Clearwater provide incredible breath taking views.

 

Starry Night - Constellations - Clearwater BC

Starry Night – Constellations – Clearwater BC

 

STARGAZING NIGHTS

Every summer, we have held an evening with the stars in Wells Grey Park (weather permitting). We are excited by a recent announcement from Tourism Wells Grey that this event will be expanded this year.

“In order to improve the visitor experience during the summer, in partnership with Wells Gray Air, there will be Stargazing Nights every Wednesday night at the Wells Gray Air base in Clearwater during the months of July and August. Every Wednesday night enjoy an outdoor movie as the sun sets, then lay back and count the stars! This free event will be open to any and all visitors and community members. More details to come”

 

Starry Nights - Aurora - Clearwater BC

Starry Nights – Aurora – Clearwater BC

 

What a great way to spend a family evening! A free movie followed by some stargazing. Come out and enjoy an evening under the stars.  It’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy the multitude of the stars in the northern hemisphere in a new and fresh way. Allow the incomparable beauty of a starry Clearwater night to take your breath away.

The starry night photos on this page were all taken by Mike Lahaie in the past two years and all copyright belongs to him. Used by permission.Thanks Mike for your starry night images.

 

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Book Your Stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

Valley Hideaway is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

Retreat, Rest, Explore, Explore

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

 

Clearwater Spring – in Wells Gray Country

CLEARWATER SPRING

Spring is here … okay Clearwater Spring. That means the calendar shows spring as being here and winter has almost fully retreated. There is still snow in the high country and some down here in the valley but it is rapidly melting. If the weather stays as forecast the valley should be relatively snow free in the next week to ten days.

Our waterfalls are spectacular any time of the year. They have a special beauty in late spring and early summer. Water levels are at their peak in that season increasing stare volumes over all the falls. Clearwater Spring has its own brand of beauty.

Buds are popping out on some of the trees. In areas where the snow has left things are greening up. Tulips and other bulbs are peeking out at the side of Valley Hideaway Guest House. Soon more perennials will show and by the end of May the garden will be in.

BIRDS AND WILDLIFE

The spring birds are returning in droves. Once again the back yard is filled with the songs of robins, nuthatches, chickadees and more. In the evening sky you can often here the honk of the Canada Geese or flights of mallard flying overhead. Some will nest here and other will travel many hundreds of miles further north before settling in. The drumming of woodpeckers can be heard as they begin searching for insects that nestled under the tree bark for the winter.

 

Canada Geese in Flight. Clearwater spring is a birder's paradise

Canada Geese in Flight

Clearwater is a birder’s paradise.

The wildlife is beginning to move around, by next month bears will be visible. You can catch sight of bears any time in the spring, summer and fall, but the prime season is mid Mid through June. In the back country you can see both grizzly bear and black bears. Black bears are black by name but come in a wide range of colour varieties including black, brown, cinnamon, black with white chests and more.

 

Black Bear. Clearwater Spring is an excellent time to see both black and grizzly bear

Black Bear

Remember that bears are wild animals and deceptively fast. Be sure to take any photos from safely inside your vehicles and do not approach bears, particularly cubs or mothers with cubs. While bear attacks are relatively uncommon, they are nasty when they do happen. Stay safe.

In addition to spotting bears keep a sharp lookout for a wide range of game animals both large and small. The North Thompson Valley and Wells Grey Park play host to a large number of animals.  Watch for moose, deer, coyotes, foxes, wolves, cougars and more. Also be on the lookout for squirrels, marmots, weasels, beavers, muskrats, rabbits and more.

 

Contact Us

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Book your stay with us

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

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

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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Book your stay

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non- smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Clearwater – A Restful Stop

Clearwater – A Restful Stop

Clearwater is a restful stop for those who are doing their Alberta/BC tour. One of the most common comments from our overseas visitor is “If we had known it was this beautiful and peaceful we would have booked to stay longer”.

Tourist come from around the world to explore the beauty and majesty of Canada’s incredible wilderness. Here in Clearwater, we have it all. Majestic mountains. Pristine wilderness. Breath taking waterfalls. Wildlife. Birding. Unspoiled lakes and rivers.

It is with good reason that Tourism Wells Grey uses the slogan “The Canada You Imagined”. We have the things you want to see without all the heavily commercialized tourism that accompanies some of the better known locations such as Banff, Jasper and Whistler. Wells Grey Park has more than 5,200 square kilometres (1.3 million acres) of alpine wilderness.

There are 39 named water falls in what many call Canada’s Waterfall Park. One of them, Helmcken Falls was named byReader’s Digest as one of “Canada’s 10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls”. There are waterfalls accessible year round for your viewing pleasure.

Our guests have called Valley Hideaway “like home, only better”, “a wonderful retreat” and a “restful place to stay”. After the hustle and bustle of packing up every night and driving several hours for the next sightseeing stop, only to repeat the process the following day, they have appreciated being able to have full use of the house and yard and just enjoy.

There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied, sightseeing, hiking, whitewater rafting, parasailing, horseback riding, kayaking and more. In season there are some unique and delightful restaurants. Even in the offseason, there is good food at fair prices although the number of restaurants is smaller. In the off season enjoy frozen waterfalls, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and more. There is never a shortage of things to enjoy.

 

Front view Valley Hideaway Guest House Clearwater

 

Edmonton to Vancouver (or vice versa)

Clearwater is strategically placed for a great stopover when traveling from Northern Alberta to the Lower Mainland. Break the driving in two. Take a stretch, enjoy a meal in one of the local restaurants and get a good nights sleep.

 

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

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Contact Us

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

The Mushbowl – small but powerful

The Mushbowl

You will find the Mushbowl located between two of the most popular falls in the park, Dawson and Helmcken. Located at a narrowing of the river, under a one way bridge, the Mushbowl highlights the raw power of the river.

Here the otherwise broad Murtle River narrows to about 50 feet wide immediately below a set of side-by-side falls about 15 feet wide that are split by a rock in the middle of the river. as the river narrow the waters churn and roar in a breathtaking display of unrestrainedwater power.

Off to one side is a cave that is accessible during low water giving a unique view of this little powerhouse.

Mushbowl in high season, waterfalls of wells grey

 

Why the Mushbowl?

To be honest no one is certain why the name was chosen. It has been used since at least the 1940’s. Speculation has it that the falls are named for the violent churning pooling above the falls that traps even huge logs from moving downstream.

Mushbowl, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Directions to the Mushbowl

Follow Clearwater Valley Road (main park access road) 42 kilometers north from the Highway in Clearwater the one-lane bridge spanning the Murtle River. There is little room to park and observe the falls – a small turnout on the north side of the bridge has room for  2 or 3 cars.

 

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

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway when visiting Clearwater

Valley Hideaway is a non smoking property.

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

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

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

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

 

Rainy Day – Things to do

RAINY DAY

Spring is on the way and with it comes rainy days. A rainy day, we all have them. You have been hiking all day or just travelling and the rain starts. Maybe you have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and the rain starts before you head out. What are you going to do?

Rainy day, puddles

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we have plenty to keep our guests entertained.

Kick back in the living room and enjoy a real fire in our wood burning fireplace.

Find something to watch. We have a variety of movies on VHS, DVD and Blue Ray. There is Apple TV hooked up to the internet and Netflix. We have basic cable television. Pop some popcorn and relax.

A cupboard full of board games can keep you amused for hours. Have a family tournament or find out how competitive your friend/partner really is.

RAINY DAY ALTERNATIVES

Don’t mind the rain? Then sit outside under the tall Douglas Firs and enjoy an outdoor fire in the backyard firepit.

Consider going for a white water rafting excursion, after all you are going to get wet anyway. There are three outdoor rafting outfitters in town all with excellent reputations.

Take the hike into Moul Falls. Moul has a feature you don’t often find, you can hike in and stand under it. Why not? You’re wet now anyway.

Grab a fishing licence and take a cast or two. Fish often love the rain. Try your luck for rainbows and kokanee at Dutch Lake. The local rivers are home to more than a dozen species of game fish. There are more than 50 fishable lakes with trout within an hours drive.

Go for a walk in the rain. Let your inner child out to play for a while and splash in some puddles. Watch the clouds change shape and colour as they move over the mountains, the view can change from moment to moment (as can the weather).

Check out the North Thompson Aboriginal Centre, located in the flats of Clearwater.  Visit some of the local shops.

Don’t let a little liquid sunshine ruin your day. Stay inside or head outside, but take charge and enjoy yourself. It’s your holiday, don’t let a little inclement weather ruin it.

Rainy Day, release your inner child, puddle jump

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House. Open year round … rain or shine.

Winter, spring, summer, fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Valley Hideaway Guesthouse is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

 

 

 

 

Dawson Falls – Waterfalls of Wells Gray

DAWSON FALLS

In our fourth instalment on the waterfalls of Wells Gray we look at Dawson Falls. What these falls lack in height compared to Spahats and Helmcken, they more than make up for in width. The Murtle River thunders nearly 60 feet (18 meters) across a 350 foot (107 meters) curved vista.

Sometime referred to as Little Niagara because of their broad, curved shape, easy access to the falls allows for an up close and personal waterfall experience. While at their highest levels in late spring or early summer, every visitor to Wells Gray Provincial Park should make a point of checking these falls out, no matter what time of the year.

Two different views of the falls provide very differing perspectives. Downstream by the canyon’s rim you can appreciate the width of the cascade. Up closer you can experience them in a more intimate way and almost touch them.

Dawson Falls, Wells Gray Provincial Park

GETTING TO DAWSON FALLS

The falls are located in the heart of the Clearwater Corridor section of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Take the Clearwater Valley Road 41 kilometers north from the Yellowhead Highway in Clearwater to the parking area and trailhead. The easy trail brings you to the falls in about ten minutes, with occasional sneak peeks along the way. Alternately it is accessible on the other side via a 20 minute hike from Pyramid Campground to a viewing area.

HISTORY OF DAWSON FALLS

According to the World Waterfall Database… “Its not entirely clear who first discovered the falls, but it may have been surveyor Robert Lee who was responsible for first mapping and naming the falls in 1913. The falls bear the name of George Herbert Dawson, who acted as the Land Surveyor General for British Columbia between 1912 and 1917.”

 

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House (open year round)

Valley Hideaway is a non-smoking property.

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises