Delicious Treats

Delicious Treats

Yesterday afternoon, Kathy and I took a road trip and stopped at some new places for delicious treats. The drive was a familiar one, up Clearwater Valley Road towards Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park. While the drive is familiar, it is never the same twice, the scenery varies from day to day, hour to hour year round and we never get tired of seeing it. There are some new snack stops in the first 30km, that we want to introduce you to.

Helmcken Chocolates and Waffles

Conveniently located in the parking area of Spahats Falls this is a great stop. Hot Dogs or sausages on a bun, Belgian Fries, Belgian waffles, and of course delicious locally made chocolates are a tasty, delicious treat.

Delicious hot dogs, waffles and Belgian fries

Grouse Creek General Store

Grouse Creek General Store  is your stop for fresh baking, local produce, cold drinks and souvenirs. They are located about half way to Helmcken Falls.

Their giant ginger snap cookie is the best I have ever had (I confess I ate it before thinking to take a picture). Delicious muffins, cupcakes, tarts and more await you. The selection varies daily.

 

Delicious looking tarts (photo courtesy of Grouse Creek General Store)

On Thursdays from 3-7 PM, you will find them at the Upper Clearwater Farmer’s Market (more about that another day)

Murphy Mountain Ice Cream – More Delicious Treats

At about the 30 Km mark you will fine a delightful little vintage travel trailer, home to Murphy Mountain Ice Cream. Easy access, ample parking. picnic tables and a wide lawn, combined with delicious ice cream and friendly service make this a summer afternoon must stop. open afternoon, weather dependant.

A must stop for a midafternoon summer treat.

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.

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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

 

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

 

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

 

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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

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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.

 

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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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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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

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

 

Volcanoes and Waterfalls

Volcanoes and Waterfalls

Volcanoes and waterfalls and more, oh my!

Pyramid Mountain. Surrounded by other volcanoes and waterfalls.

Pyramid Mountain

VOLCANOES

Did you know that experts believe that Wells Gray has more types of volcanic phenomena than any other area of earth? It has often been called the “Land of Fire and Ice”.

When travelling in the park be sure to look at the many volcanic features. You can see columnar basalt, rock rodeo, volcanic pillows and more. Pyramid Mountain is a Tuya (sometimes spelled Thuya) — a volcano that formed under the ice of a glacier. You can see Pyramid Mountain from the Green Mountain Lookout or hike in.

Forged by glacial ice and volcanic activity, the Clearwater River Valley  is renowned world wide for its waterfalls. The steep drops between the edge of the lava flows and the Clearwater River far below for incredible viewing. There are more than 40 named waterfalls in Wells Grey Park. All of them are beautiful and some of them are simply stunning.

WATERFALLS

Check out Helmcken Falls, one of the highest free falling waterfalls in Canada. This incredible falls is more than 2.5 times the height of Fiagara Falls. according to the world waterfall database, “Helmcken Falls is the centerpiece to Wells Gray Provincial Park, one of the most powerful waterfalls on earth”

Just upstream, from Helmcken, Dawson Falls is more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) wide and has been called little Niagara by many.

At Spahats Falls, there are integrative signs detailing much of the unique volcanic and glacial history of the area. Spahats is one of the most accessible falls and is a wonder to see.

Hike into Moul Falls and stand beneath a 40 foot waterfall. Moul Falls, though not quite as high as some of the other local waterfalls, is one of the best kept secrets of the Clearwater Valley.

 

Check our local Visitor Centre for maps and directions to some of these fascinating geological features.

 

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Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises