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.
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.”