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

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Open Year Round – Valley Hideaway Guest House

Open year round at Valley Hideaway Guest House, Clearwater BC.

Open Year Round? Why?

Some guests are amazed to find out that we are open year round at Valley Hideaway. Why do you stay open? What is there to do in Clearwater in the off season?

It is true that the peak tourist season here is the May long weekend through the Thanksgiving weekend. It is also true that some of the tourist attractions close for the off season but there are still plenty of reasons to come by for a visit.

Clearwater is the perfect stopover point for those travelling from Northern Alberta or British Columbia to the lower mainland. Edmonton to Vancouver? Stop over in Clearwater. It’s a natural break in the driving and will leave you refreshed for the balance of your journey.

Autumn

The fall season is a beautiful time to enjoy the fall scenery and the waterfalls Wells Gray Park is famous for. There are less people around and the water falls remain accessible during the autumn allowing you more space to enjoy our pristine wilderness.

Deer, moose and other wildlife are in their mating season or “rut” during the fall. That means they will be on the move and you have a good chance of seeing them.

There are more than 50 fishable lakes within an hours drive and the river fishing can be great. 

Winter

If winter is your season enjoy the sight of spectacular ice formations on Helmcken Falls. Traverse miles of cross country and snowshoe trails. Enjoy great snowmobile trails within an hours drive. Try a Canadian winter treat and ice fish for rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon right in town on Dutch Lake.

 

Helmcken Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC,

We have a volunteer run local downhill ski slope. It’s not as fancy as some, but it is a great way to spend the day on some easy slopes.

Relax and enjoy the outdoor fire pit at Valley Hideaway or sit in the living room and cuddle up by the indoor fireplace with a good book.

Check out some of the local events and get to know some of our residents. Try the Blackpool Hall Coffee House once a month and hear great local musicians. Enjoy one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Saturday Suppers. Watch a local amateur ice hockey team, it’s not the National Hockey League but it is a Canadian tradition.

The pace of life slows down here in the off season, come and relax with us.

Winter, summer, spring and fall. It takes all year to do it all in Clearwater.

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House now.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property.

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Clearwater Canoe Regatta

CLEARWATER CANOE REGATTA – Saturday September 9, 2017

If you are looking for some family fun this weekend, check out the annual Clearwater Canoe Regatta.

A full day of fun races and all FREE events at Dutch Lake in Clearwater, BC. Bring your community spirit!

Participants launching canoes at the Clearwater Regatta

 

Clearwater Canoe Regatta events line-up:

Morning

-8AM Run for Fun! Run or walk a 5km route.
-9AM Rotary Relay Race. Individual or team up to 4 5km run, 10km bike and Canoe around the island
-10AM Kids Triathalon for ages 6-10.
-11AM Opening Ceremony-11:30 AM Family Canoe Race
-11:30AM CANFOR Community BBQ! Free:)

Afternoon

-12:30-3:30PM Activities and Games on the Beach
-1PM The Main Event! Challenge First Responders in obstacles and canoe races, support those who do so much!
-1:30PM Whatever floats your boat! Create a raft from materials and race it to the finish line.
-2PM Paddle Board/Kayak Race, Bring your own to race.
-3PM Dinghy Dash Surprise, Teams of two race to win
-3:30PM Scavenger Hunt, teams of four race to win.

 

Thanks to the generous sponsors, all events and the community BBQ are free.

Arts, crafts and face painting. Be a participant and or come and be a spectator.

 

A TOURISM WELLS GRAY EVENT

 

Need a place to stay in Clearwater? Book now at Valley Hideaway Guest House.

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Canyon Falls

In the second instalment of our series “the waterfalls of Wells Grey”, we examine the trio of Canyon Falls. Rather unimaginatively named, the canyons are named as they appear on the park road. First, second and third canyon all have waterfalls. You will likely drive past these falls without ever knowing they exist. Only one of the three is visible from the road.

First Canyon Falls

According to the world waterfall database “The first of the three Canyon Creeks along the Wells Gray – Clearwater corridor holds a small waterfall at its head, but because of the angle of the gorge and the crumbly substrate, viewing the falls is exceptionally dangerous and not recommended. The falls can be heard from the road, and partially glimpsed from the left side of the bridge, but getting close would warrant being in a harness. First Canyon Creek flashed in 1997, wiping out the bridge spanning the stream and in the process, deepened the canyon considerably. There is supposedly a second fall downstream a short distance that can be accessed from the First Canyon Creek access to the Clearwater River Trail. First Canyon is crossed 13 ½ km up the Clearwater Valley Road from the Yellowhead Highway in Clearwater.”

Second Canyon Falls

Another set of falls not visible by road. The upper falls were destroyed some time ago in a flash flood. This canyon has proved troublesome by damaging or destroying four bridges and causing many problems with the culvert system  with serious flash floods and erosions. Apparently another falls is still to be found somewhat downstream although we have not visited it. It is possible to hike up from the Clearwater River but be cautious as the trail is not great and flash floods are dangerous.

Third Canyon Falls

At least part of these falls are visible if you park and walk out onto the bridge. The canyon snakes around quite a bit so it is not possible to see the full falls clearly. Trying to walk out and get to see the falls better could prove dangerous.

While not spectacular like some others, Third Canyon falls are pretty enough to warrant a stop and see. Be certain to stop before or after the bridge and park safely.

There is another falls downstream but it is not visible from the bridge.

Third Canyon Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Third Canyon Falls

 

Be sure to book your guest suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House B&B. We are open year round.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Waterfalls of Wells Grey Park – Triple Decker

 WATERFALLS OF WELLS GREY – TRIPLE DECKER FALLS

We start with Triple Decker Falls to kickoff the Wells Grey Waterfall tour because its the first one up the Park Road. Triple Decker is also known as known as Candle Creek (because it is located on Candle Creek).

Triple Decker Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Triple Decker (Candle Creek) Falls – Image courtesy www.kamloopstrails.net. Used by permission

If you have driven into the park you likely passed the hidden gem and never knew it was there. Candle Creek flows under the road in a culvert and the falls are a short hike downstream. Watch for some steep sections and a few cliff edges along the trail. Use common sense and a little caution  when hiking, but the trail is not unduly dangerous.

As the name implies Triple Decker cascades down three steps (technically a tiered plunge) with a drop of nearly 200 feet. The tallest of the three tiers is about 30m (100feet). 

Triple Decker is a pretty set of falls year round but at it’s most impressive with the early spring waterfall. Be prepared to get wet in the spring as the falls produces a lot of mist in peak runoff.

Facing westward and heavily shaded with old growth forest, the falls are best viewed from the bottom during the morning.

 

 

Book your suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House. Make us your B&B choice as base to explore the unspoiled wilderness and waterfalls of Wells Grey  Park. Retreat – Rest- Restore – Explore

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Wells Grey Park Reopens

Wells Gray Park Reopens

It’s official, Wells Grey Park reopens tomorrow morning (July 25) at 7:00 AM. While the park was not directly affected by any of the wildfire, it was prudent to close it. None the less we are glad that its open.

During the closure it was business as usual in Clearwater BC. At Valley Hideaway Guest House, we had guests who wanted to visit the world famous falls but could not. That changes tomorrow.

Once again we can go into the park. We can enjoy the magnificent waterfalls and unspoiled wilderness. Visit Helmcken Falls, one  of the highest in Canada. With a drop of 462 feet, Helmcken is rated by World Waterfall Database as “one of the most powerful waterfalls on earth”.

Check out the many other easily accessible falls on your way up. Hike into Moul Falls and walk behind them. It’s definitely worth the trip.

Stop by the third canyon bridge and see Third Canyon Falls. Check out Spahats Falls, just minutes from the Wells Grey Information Centre.

See Little Niagara (Dawson Falls) and be astounded at the raw power of the river at the Mushbowl as the river narrows. Plenty of other falls to explore as well.

Check out the lakes in Wells Grey Park. Marvel at some of the old growth forest. Hike some of the beautiful trails.  Be astounded at the vista from Green Mountain Lookout. There is enough to see and do to keep you occupied for days.

Watch for wildlife, there is plenty of it.

WHITEWATER AND MORE

Interior Whitewater Expeditions has announced that with the Park reopening they will be resuming their trips on the Clearwater River. No doubt the other companies will be announcing the same. Be sure to check them out. Enjoy wild white water or a gentle float trip.

IWE, Whitewater rafting, Wells Grey Park

Riding the White Water on the Clearwater River, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

 

WELLS GREY INFORMATION CENTRE

The staff at the info centre have been great through the wildfire problem. Be sure to stop by and get the latest updates on tours, sights to see and activities. They can direct you to all the sights in Wells Grey Park and many of the other things to see and do in Clearwater.

 

Looking to Retreat, Rest, Restore, or Explore? 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

 

Clearwater Farmer’s Market

Enjoying the Clearwater Farmer’s Market

As we do many Saturday’s Kathy and I stopped by the Clearwater Farmer’s Market this morning. It is always an enjoyable stop. Our only purchase today was farm fresh, free range, brown eggs for our B&B guest’s breakfast, but we have purchased many things from the different vendors over time.

Located just about 1 kilometre from Valley Hideaway Guest House is the delightful local Clearwater farmer’s market. Artisan crafts and gifts; farm fresh produce; farm fresh eggs; meat; home made preserves; locally made European style chocolates and more can be found there. 

This trip we saw homemade quilts, crochet work and hand made fishing tackle. Walking sticks, locally made and perfect for hiking Wells Grey Park with were on display and available. There was handcrafted wooden furniture for sale.

Fresh flowers. Fresh and dried herbs. Framed photos of some of the local scenery were on offer.

 

Clearwater Farmer's Market

                                                          Clearwater Farmer’s Market

 

Clearwater Farmer's Market welcome sign

 

The Market happens on Saturday mornings throughout the season and is worth a stop, The local Elks Club offers a wonderful pancake breakfast adjacent to the market for only a few dollars. Enjoy a meal and spend some time at the market, Clearwater style.

MEET THE LOCALS AT CLEARWATER FARMER’S MARKET

One of the joys of a local market is meeting the locals. Whether catching up with old friends or meeting new once from the area, there is always someone to talk to. Learn a bit of local history, share in some local culture. Find out about events you might not know of or attractions that many tourists miss. Some will be long time residents and others who are new. Visit with others from around the world who have stopped to check out the market as well. There are plenty of friendly folks hereabouts.

View the Farmer’s Market FaceBook Page

 

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Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Happy Canada Day

Let’s Celebrate Canada Day

A Canada Day anniversary Celebration.

July 1, 1867, a new nation was formed. Ontario (then Canada West), Quebec (then Canada East),  and the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick came together to become the Confederation of Canada.

The red Ensign. Canada's first flag

Canada’s First Flag – The Canadian Red Ensign

Other provinces joined the initial four over the years. We now number ten provinces and three territories.

July 1st is Canada Day, the day we celebrate the official founding of our nation. Like every other country in the world the were various people groups, nations, states and tribes here before this nation was formed. That is the nature of nations, tribes and empires. They rise and fall and change. Canada is far from perfect but it is a wonderful place to live and we love her.

Canada's Current Flag - The familiar Maple Leaf - adopted in February 1965

Canada’s Current Flag – The familiar Maple Leaf – adopted in February 1965

Here in Clearwater, BC we will be celebrating with festivities down at Dutch Lake. There will be lots to do and the forecast is for hot and sunny weather. Come on down and celebrate our birthday if you can. If you can’t make it here try and take in the festivities at your local or nearest Canadian community. It will be fun.

In celebration of Canada Day, we have attached a flag pole and Canadian Flag to the front Valley Hideaway Guesthouse. It will be a permanent feature of our B&B. We are proudly Canadian but look forward to hosting guests from around the world and learning more about them and their nations.

 

Canada 150 Flag, Canada Day logo

HAPPY CANADA DAY

Book your guest suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House, the B&B choice for Wells Grey Park.

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

We are open

Open at Last

It’s been a journey since we moved to Clearwater, BC in August 2016 but Valley Hideaway Guest House is now open. New home, new life, new church, new friends and more. 

We now enter into a new phase with the opening of Valley Hideaway Guest House. Clearwater’s newest B&B is now officially open. Thanks to the local contractors and many friends, family members and the team(s) from “the cowboy church” in Sherwood Park, Alberta for all the work that went into making this day possible.

We are officially open.

 

Your hosts at Valley Hideaway Guest House celebrating that we are open.

It is official. We are now open

 

Book your Guest Suite at the Guest House today. Close to the hub of Clearwater BC. Great access to Wells Grey Provincial Park.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises