Autumn Delights – Wells Grey and Area

AUTUMN DELIGHTS

Visit Clearwater in September and October and experience the Autumn Delights. The autumn season is less busy that the peak season and the wilderness has a beauty all its own.The water flow over our many falls is lower than the spring but they are still awe inspiring. Catch them on an early foggy morning for a surreal view you will remember forever.

The leaves are changing bringing new colour to the deciduous trees. The reds and yellows flash against the deep green of the coniferous trees.

Clearwater River in Autumn

Birds heading south for the winter will be passing through giving extra opportunities for adding to your life lists.

The cooler weather makes it ideal to try your hand at trail riding on horseback. Several local area ranches are available to guide you.

Fall weather is typically a little cooler than the summer but is ideal for hiking. In addition, the animals (particularly the Park’s black and Grizzly bears) are preparing for winter and moving around more, so wildlife, viewing opportunities are good. Remember though that these are wild animals so stay safe and don’t get too close. The deer, moose, wolves and more in the park are around all year.

Autumn at the Lake

 

Autumn is a great time to fish for trout and Kokanee in the many local lakes. Remember that a valid BC Angler’s Licence is required. There is even a local trout pond loaded with rainbows for free catch and release fishing. They have gear for you to borrow.

Need still one more reason? Off season rates are typically lower so you still get to enjoy the pristine wilderness but for less. Bonus!

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation in Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

New Farmer’s Market

Upper Clearwater’s New Farmer’s Market

Last week marked the successful launch of the Upper Clearwater New Farmer’s Market. There were plenty of fresh baked goodies and farm fresh produce on hand. There were hand made sweaters, walking sticks and a yard sale. A raffle with great prizes was being held raising funds for the Upper Clearwater Fire Department. We took home some baking, some fresh corn and a few books. We also got to visit with some friendly local vendors.

While the launch was small, we expect it to grow as the weeks pass. The location is great for those coming and going from Wells Gray Park. Plenty of free parking is available.

In talking with the vendors we were impressed with their community spirit. Not only did the want to bless Upper Clearwater and its visitors, they set the time and day for the market to not conflict with our in town Saturday market.

Support your local farmer’s market. Quality local products and fair pricing.

Make a day of it, enjoy the world class scenery of Wells Gray Park and make a stop at the Farmer’s Market on your way back into town.

Upper Clearwater’s New Farmer’s Market

 

Location of Farmer’s Market

Upper Clearwater Community Hall

5276 Clearwater Valley Road
Clearwater, British Columbia

(about 25 km up the Park road) between Moule Falls and Dawson Falls.

Days and Times

Thursdays 3:00-7:00 PM (Summer season)

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation in Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

 

The Kettle Cafe – A Clearwater Classic Reopens

The Kettle Cafe

The Kettle Cafe, a classic Clearwater summer cafe has reopened under new ownership. Kathy and I dined there this evening and were impressed. The new owners Alain and Evelyn Bouckaert offer great service, a classic menu (with a Belgian twist) and delicious food.

The Kettle Burger and Kettle Pizza

We shared the Kettle Pizza and the Kettle Burger, both were freshly made and delicious.

The Kettle Buger

1/4 lb 100% beef burger, topped with cheddar, tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, burger sauce served on a warm toasted bun with Belgian Fries.

The Kettle Pizza

A Homemade crust with salami, fried ground beef. slices of ham, fresh green peppers and slices of ham topped with an extra layer of cheese. There is also a special secret blend of house spices atop the cheese … quite unique and definitely worth having again. A nicely sized 8 size pizza (I brought home 4 slices of it for tomorrow).

The Menu

Choose from a variety of Dutch Pancakes/crepes and Belgian Waffles. Ice cream and milkshakes. Try one of a variety of pastas; pizzas (on homemade crust); burgers; sandwiches or grilled sandwiches (on fresh homemade bread). The menu is select but if our meal is any indicator of quality and flavour it should all be good.

Check out their facebook page.

Location

Conveniently located at

73 Old North Thompson Highway

Clearwater BC

in the Interior Whitewater Expeditions building

Within close walking distance of Valley Hideaway Guest House

Summer Hours

Sunday-Saturday 8AM- 7 PM, call in orders for takeaway available (250-674-7824)

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs. Make the Kettle one of your lunchtime choices.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

 

Hiking the Kettle – Off the Beaten Track.

Hiking the Kettle

The Kettle Rapids, on the Clearwater River, in Wells Gray Park (Clearwater, BC), are off the beaten path and missed by many of the tourists who visit the area. A series of surging, boiling rapids, they are unsafe even for whitewater enthusiasts to run until late in the summer when the waters have subsided, but they make for beautiful sightseeing all summer long. The Kettle is accessible by a short well marked walking trail through old growth cedars. There are several steep stairs so it is not recommended for people with mobility issues but otherwise is an easy trip.

Old Growth Cedar

 

Getting to the Kettle

Travel west off of the Old North Thompson Highway onto Camp Road 2 (adjacent to the Clearwater River, right in Clearwater). Travel .8km until you see the sign for Wells Gray Air on the right. Turn right and travel 7.2 Km where you will see a sign advising travellers with RV’s to turn back. Park at this pullout area. The road in is gravelled but up to this point generally well maintained.

Narrow Road Ahead – Go no further

When the road says “Narrow Road Ahead” … heed the sign travelling past that point is not recommended. The washout just past the sign (where the road narrows to a single lane) is just beginning. At times in places the road can be completely washed out, or strewn with boulders from rock slides, travel past here at your own risk. Travel without a 4 wheel drive vehicle from this point on is not recommended. Up to this point the road is fine.

Continue to walk down the road 100 meters or so from the parking area and you will see the trail head sign. Follow it down to the river and prepare to be awed.

Kettle Rapids Trailhead sign. Turn left here and follow to the river.

 

The Rapids …

My pictures do not do the rapids justice. The Kettle Rapids are a simply stunning must see.

Kettle Rapids on the Clearwater River

Kettle Rapids, Clearwater BC

Book with us

 

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

 

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies

It’s June and one of the most spectacular sub alpine flower meadows in the world, the Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies are in full bloom. There is still some snow on the hiking trail (to the knees by latest report, but the view makes it worthwhile. It’s a hike you will remember.

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies June 2019 – Photo courtesy of Marco Bokor. Used by permission

The Trophy Mountain meadows are one of the most easily accessible sub-alpine meadows in British Columbia. The meadows bloom twice each year, in early June it is the brilliant yellow of the glacier Lillies. The same meadows are transformed into a rainbow of colour when mountain daisy, Indian paintbrush, arctic lupine and a myriad of other flowers bloom in late July to early August. Both blooms are breathtakingly beautiful.

The Trophy Mountains

“The Trophy Mountains rise 2,575 metres into the sky, with nine peaks towering over the Shuswap Highlands of southern Wells Gray Provincial Park. Their northern slopes are steep and cloaked in glaciers, while their southern slopes are gentle and dotted with alpine lakes and flower meadows.” BC Parks.

Getting There

From the junction at Highway #5 and the Information Centre, drive north along the Clearwater Valley Road (Wells Gray park Road) for 11.8 km and then turn right onto the gravel road. Travel along this road for 1.7 km and then turn left onto Road 10 (Road 80 on the right leads to an alternate route; for experienced persons only). Continue on Road 10 for 3.1 km before turning right onto Road 201. This road soon enters and skirts up and around a large logging clear cut area. Ignore small branch roads as you travel 4.4 km along Road 201 to where it dead-ends in a parking lot. The trail to the meadows begins to the left of the parking area.

Hiking

From the parking lot a gently ascending trail takes you on a relaxed 45 minute, 1 km., hike to the sub-alpine meadows of the Trophy Mountains. The elevation gain is 200 metres.

The trail winds its way through an old-growth forest of fragrant Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir. The small size of these 250-year-old trees attests to  the harsh living conditions at this altitude.

The trail passes several small streams before breaking out into the open expanses of the sub-alpine meadow. In July and August the endless waves of vibrant coloured wildflowers make this one of the most popular hikes in the area.

From the meadow, the trail continues a further 1.25 hours across lichen encrusted rocks to Sheila Lake. The trail ends at the lake, however, an additional hour of uphill climbing will get you to the panoramic views of Skyline Ridge (12 km round trip from the parking lot). These ridges are over 2,500 metres and weather can change quickly, therefore, you should be sure to carry a topographic map, compass, warm clothing and extra food. Maps can be purchased at the Wells Gray Visitor Centre.

Above the treeline, weather can change without warning. Sun fog, rain and snow are all possible, even in July or August. So dress accordingly, and watch the weather. (All directions courtesy of BC Parks. More information and maps are available here.)

Where to Stay

When travelling the North Thompson, when visiting Wells Gray Park and area or when going to Vancouver to Edmonton (or vice versa) stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House. We are open year round.

Book your stay with us. We are open year round.

 

Cannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest HouseNo Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Valley Hideaway Guest House is non-smoking and cannabis Free

 

Winter Summer, Spring and Fall

It takes all year to do it all

In Clearwater

 

 

 

The hummingbirds are back

HUMMINGBIRDS

The hummingbirds are back. Kathy spotted the first one about a week ago and more are arriving daily. From late April until  early May every year these fascinating little birds return from wintering in California, and Central and South America. That is an incredible journey for a bird that weighs somewhere between the weight of a nickel (5 cent coin) and a penny (one cent coin)

Over the season we typically see three species, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Caliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Black chinned Hummingbird. I have also seen what I believe to be a male Anna’s Hummingbird, and a male Caliope Hummingbird but only once.

 

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Hummers are fascinating to watch. They hover like bejewelled works of art over the feeder enjoying the (dye free) nectar. They dart in and out chasing each other, often resembling a world war 2 arial dogfight… doing high speed acrobatics, the sound of their beating wings like little jets.

Despite their diminutive size, hummingbirds actually have very loud voices. The first time I heard one I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we have several feeders placed at strategic places in the front and back yards so that you will have maximum opportunities to watch these tiny, colourful delights.

Hummingbird Trivia

Hummingbirds are amazing little creatures. They’re the only birds capable of flying backwards, and their wings flap between 15-200 times per second.

Hummers not only lap at nectar, they aisles eat small insects for protein.

Many species of hummingbird raise more than one brood of young per season.

Photographing Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds can be tricky to photograph. The best bet is to sit still in the vicinity of a feeder with camera at the ready. They buzz in quickly, hover and lap up the nectar and are gone again. sometimes they take a seat on the feeder and will rest there between laps.

You will need a high shutter speed (because of the speed of their wings), patience and maybe even a little luck.

Birding

The North Thompson Valley, Clearwater and Wells Gray Park area is a treasure trove for birders. More than 200 species have been recorded in the area.  A checklist for species in the park can be found here.  

 

Book Your Stay

Book your stay with us. We are open year round.

 

 

Cannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest HouseNo Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Valley Hideaway Guest House is non-smoking and cannabis Free

 

Winter Summer, Spring and Fall

It takes all year to do it all

In Clearwater

 

Hiking Wells Gray Park

Hiking Wells Gray Park

Are you looking to explore world class wilderness? Then you should consider hiking Wells Gray Park. With over 1.3 million acres of protected wilderness, there is something for everyone, from a simple self guided half day hike to full scale wilderness excursions and mountains yet unclimbed. Much of the park remains unexplored. A giant cave was discovered this year. The cave is  presently closed to visitors at the moment but who knows what the future holds?

Fire and ice  formed and molded this incredible landscape. There are volcanoes to explore, waterfalls to be awed by, gorgeous lakes, unpolluted rivers and more. See one of the largest alpine meadow blooms in the Trophy Mountains. Check out an incredible variety of wildlife and birdlife.

How to see it

There are a number of liscenced guides in the area who will help you explore. Dr Guy Ovenden, a professional wildlife biologist and his team can guide you. Tourism Wells Gray  also maintains a list of contacts for many of the activities in the area.

For those who prefer self guided tours we highly recommend Roland Neave’s book, Exploring wells Gray Park , now in its sixth edition. If you plan on spending more than a day in Clearwater (and we do recommend you stay several days at least) this guidebook is the one you must have. This is the book that Kathy and I use for our exploring. It is available locally, or can be ordered from a variety of sources.

 

Exploring Wells Gray book by Roland Neave. Your guidebook to Hiking Wells Gray Park

Do you have mobility issues?  If so, two of our two most beautiful waterfalls are easily accessible. Both Spahats Falls and Helmcken falls have good accessible access with parking nearby.

In the winter, you can explore on snowshoe or on nordic skis (we have some of the best nordic ski trails in Canada (they are truly an under utilized gem). If mountain bikes are more your thing we also have many kilometres of groomed mountain bike trails to suit the tastes of any style rider.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

Yellowhead From Edmonton to Vancouver

Yellowhead From Edmonton to Vancouver

Winter driving the Yellowhead from Edmonton to Vancouver (or Vancouver to Edmonton) is spectacularly beautiful but can be tiring. Winter weather can change quickly especially in  mountainous areas, daylight driving hours are less and driving in the winter can be more tiring. Fatigue is a major cause of accidents when winter driving.

To make your trip more pleasant, and safer, consider a stopover in Clearwater, BC. We are located approximately half way between Vancouver and Edmonton on the Yellowhead Route. At Valley Hideaway Guest House we are open year round to meet your accommodation needs and even offer reduced rates in January and February. A good night’s rest and a great breakfast will make your trip both safer and more enjoyable.

If you can spare the time take an extra day or two to enjoy the natural beauty of our area.

 

Highway 5 - Yellowhead BC signage - Edmonton to Vancouver

Yellowhead Highway - travel Edmonton to Vancouver

What To Do In Clearwater in the Winter

Many of our world famous waterfalls are accessible in the winter. They have a beauty all their own this time of year. Both Spahats Falls and Helmcken Falls can be driven to with a 5 minute walk from the parking area to the viewing platforms. You drive right over the Mushbowl enrolee to Helmcken. Dawson Falls is but a short hike.

Snowshoe into Moul Falls. Or enjoy one of many miles of groomed cross country ski trails. The confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers is a short hike from town. When there is sufficient snow, the local downhill ski slope is a lot of fun. Its an inexpensive way to spend the day.

Fish for Kokanee and Rainbow trout through the ice, right in town, at Dutch Lake. appropriate BC angler’s licence is required.

Sit back, relax, enjoy a good book in front of our cozy fireplace.

Winter Driving Tips From BCAA

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

Book your stay with us.

 

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

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

 

Mahood Falls Canim Falls

Mahood Falls Canim Falls

Kathy and I went exploring recently to checkout some water features of Wells Gray Park that we had not yet seen, Mahood Lake, Canim Falls and Mahood Falls. We had sometimes seen Mahood Lake in the distance from elsewhere in the forestry management unit but opted to go check it out today.

Mahood Lake

Stretching 21 Km in length, and having a maximum width of 2.2 Km, Mahood Lake is more than 195 metres in depth at its deepest. It is fed by the Canim river which has its source in nearby (to the west) Canim Lake. The Mahood River drains the lake at it’s opposite end and flows into the Clearwater River. We didn’t have time to check it out but the lake is reputed to have excellent fishing.

There is a provincial park at the lake with campsites, a beach, a boat launch and more. It is nice enough but the real gems are to be found on a short waling trail just inside the park boundaries. A 2 km return trail takes your to two beautiful waterfalls, Mahood and Canim. Our destination waterfalls are located on separate arms of the Canim River. Canim is a first nations word meaning a large canoe.

 

Mahood Lake, Wells Grey Provincial Park. Photo public domain from Wikipedia

Mahood Lake

Along the trail you will see some amazing canyon views as well as piles of lava boulders that could easily be imagined as the remains of an ancient mythic fort. I am almost certain that in the noise of the nearby waterfalls there might have been the sounds of an ancient dragon.

This could be the perfect spot for taking some fun outdoor group pictures.

 

A pile of crumbling boulders or the remains of a mythic fortress?

A pile of crumbling boulders or the remains of a mythic fortress?

Mahood Falls

An easy 1/2km walk along a forested trail leads you to the first of this pair of jewels, Mahood Falls. This 20 meter falls is tucked discretely through the forest. Like Canim Falls it has carved its way through layers of volcanic lava from the Clearwater Volcanic Field.

 

Mahood Falls cuts through layers of lava in Wells Grey Provincial Park

Mahood Falls

 

Canim Falls

Another easy 1/2 kn walk brings you to Canim Falls. Slightly taller (25 meters) and far wider than Mahood, they are impressive. The water cascades over a wide span and has carved a deep long canyon through the lava field. The dual cascades give the illusion of there being two falls.

A view of the split Canim Waterfall upstream of Manhood Lake in Wells Grey Provincial Park .

Canim Falls

 

The crumbling lava pile between the two cascades (seen in between them), and the deep caves behind the falls, give evidence to the relentless water power at work here.

Waterfalls downstream from the main falls.

Side falls. Do they come from the river above or are they sourced underground? It was impossible to tell from our vantage point.

As well as the two main cascades there are numerous smaller spouts coming out of the canyon face. Do they flow from cracks in the lava walls where the river comes in or are they from an underground source? Either way they were a pretty bonus on our trek.

Getting There

Mahood Lake Provincial Park is located in the southwest corner of Wells Gray Park. It can be accessed by travelling about 65 km of gravel forestry service and logging roads from Clearwater. It is also accessible from near 100 Mile House via mixed gravel/pavement or from the InterLake Region off of Highway 24.

The falls are located just inside the provincial park boundary, signed on the left hand side of the road with a pullout parking area on the right. Both are located on the same easy hiking trail, with Canim Falls at .5km and Mahood Falls at 1 km.

 

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

WHAT IS THERE TO DO

What is There to do?

What is there to do in Clearwater, B.C.?

What is there to see?

What can we do?

Those questions or some variant of them are often asked by our guests. Stay for days and be kept busy all the time, because there are so many things to see and do. We’ve been visiting Clearwater for 15 years and lived here for 3 and haven’t exhausted the list yet! Explore on your own, as a family, as a group or as part of an organized tour. Clearwater has it all.

Wells Gray Park

We would be remiss if we didn’t start with the pristine wilderness of Wells Grey Park. A big plus over the national parks is that there are no visitor fees.

Wells Gray Park is half a million + hectares of pristine wilderness with waterfalls roaring off of lava cliffs, hiking trails, wildlife, streams, rivers, glaciers, and more. Evidence of more types of volcanic activity are found here than any other place on earth. Volcanologists come from around the world to study here.

 

What id there to do? Check out Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Park, one of Canada's highest waterfalls

Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Park, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Cuts through hundreds of feet of volcanic lave.

Take a flight over Wells Gray Park and see the area as few people ever have. Scenic flights can be arranged.

While the Park is indeed first class, there is so much more to do in the area.

Other Things to do in the Clearwater Area

What is there to do in Clearwater, B.C.?  Other than enjoying one of the world’s best pristine wilderness parks? Lots!

Ride the wild waters. World class white water rafting and calmer float trips are available on the Clearwater and North Thompson River. We are fortunate enough to have three rafting companies to choose from.

Take a western trail ride. Enjoy the majesty of our wilderness on the back of a horse. From the absolute novice to the experienced trail hand we have somewhere here for you to ride.

What is there to do in Clearwater? Ride a horse. Battle Mountain Equine - Western horseback riding - Find your inner cowboy. Wells Gray Park, Clearwater BC, tourism adventure

Battle Mountain Equine – Western horseback riding – Find your inner cowboy

Test your nerve and go parasailing.

Hike or mountain bike one of the many trails. Country ski or snowshoe those trails if its winter.

Grab your clubs and enjoy a round of golf. No clubs with you? Rent a set.

Fish one of the many rivers and lakes. Be sure to check out the regulations.

Enjoy a relaxing meal at one of our many restaurants or grab a quick bite at one of several fast food places. Try the Belgian Waffles and other treats up at Spahats Falls.

Maybe birding or wildlife viewing is your idea of fun. There are plenty of birds and critters to see.

Join the locals for the Saturday morning Elk’s Club Pancake Breakfast and stroll on over the the Farmer’s Market.

Catch a few rays on the beach at Dutch Lake and enjoy some swimming. There are canoe and Kayaks rentals available.

See the work of local artists and artisans at the Red Umbrella. Perhaps you will find that perfect remembrance of the trip of a lifetime there.

Educational and Cultural Things to do

What is there to do? Get educated. It is always fun to combine a little learning with some fun.

Visit a historic sheep ranch. If you come in the spring there is the bonus of lambing tours.

What is there to do? Check out the sheep

Day old lambs at historic Avenly Ranch. they don’t get any cuter than this.

Tour the fish hatchery.

Visit the Aboriginal Centre and learn about our earliest people. Check out some of the first nations archaeological sites in the area.

On a rainy day pop on in to the local library and enjoy a good book.

Thursday evenings in the summer check out the live music outside at the Dutch Lake Community Center. Be amazed at the local talent.

Check out the stars at one of the stargazing nights. The skies are beautiful.

Check out displays from local artists at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

Special events and festivals happen throughout the summer.

Learn about the geology, geography, flora, fauna and history of the area.

On a Sunday morning there are a number of fine Christian churches to attend.

Check out some of the primitive skills classes that are periodically offered.

 

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