Rivers & Lakes - Explore from the WaterlineWhite-water raft through ancient volcanic canyons cut by raging rivers. Kayak to remote wilderness camps. Explore Murtle Lake the only way you can – by canoe. Cruise Clearwater and Azure Lakes. Angle for adventure, fishing wild BC salmon and trophy size rainbows. Stand in awe above Helmcken Falls, the 4th largest in Canada and just one of 39 waterfalls found in the Park.
Discover lava beds, glacier peaks and interior rainforests. Explore Wells Gray from the waterline and you’ll discover serene and extreme adventures in a land threaded by rivers and studded with lakes.
Raft or Kayak our Rivers
Paddle the Clearwater’s churning white water rapids. Take a lazy float along the slow-running North Thompson. Ride a watery rollercoaster of chutes, volcanic canyons and flats. Follow in the wake of the first Overlanders. Experience epic adventure that sets your pulse racing. Whether you indulge in a quiet float through Wells Gray wilderness or embark on a wide-eyed, wild ride on the Clearwater’s roiling rapids, one thing is certain – you’ll make a splash rafting and kayaking in Wells Gray.
A Land of Lakes
Go where there are no roads. Paddle wherever your canoe and the current takes you. Indulge in a voyage of discovery cruising beneath glacier peaks. Discover hidden waterfalls (Play/Waterfalls) and the kind of quiet you can only find in the middle of the water. Mahood, Clearwater, Azure, Murtle, Dutch and Hobson are the largest and most accessible lakes in Wells Gray and Clearwater. Just how you explore them will be up to you, but here are a few suggestions:
Follow the Clearwater Valley Road to its end and you’ll find Clearwater Lake where local guides help you experience Wells Gray from the water. Whether it’s a guided kayak or canoe excursion, a full day cruise on Clearwater and Azure Lakes or a water taxi ride to your remote camp.
Paddle Your Canoe to Camp
Experience the dip and glide moment of “now”. Paddle into untouched landscapes. Glide along glacier-fed Murtle Lake – there’s simply no more Canadian canoeing experience. Murtle Lake is the largest canoe-only lake in North America.
Its sun-kissed sandy shores can only be accessed by canoe after an adventurous 27-km drive on a winding gravel road and a 2.5-km portage through an old-growth forest of hemlock and cedar.
Dotted with campsites and outfitted with fire-rings, food caches and all the peace and quiet you crave, this is canoe camping at its best where the only sounds you’ll hear are the wind on the trees, the splash of your fishing line and the sound of dinner sizzling in your frying pan.
Gather every Labour Day weekend on the water lily shores of Dutch Lake in Clearwater for a weekend of family fun in and on the water. Compete for glory and bragging rights in kayak and canoe races, air-mattress relays, dinghy dashes and swimming competitions. Celebrate summer and join in the beachside Jamboree, creating warm summer memories that will last the whole year through.
Angling for adventure? Then drop your line in Wells Gray and Clearwater. One of the last great wilderness preserves, Wells Gray and nearby Clearwater are ultimate angling destinations. Our freshwater lakes and rivers are teeming with fish as diverse as our rugged landscapes making for extraordinary fishing experiences. Tie your fly. Send it reeling. Drink in the glories of the great outdoors while you wait for something to bite.
Fifty lakes within a one-hour drive of Clearwater means there’s plenty of room to cast your line. Try fly-fishing from the Dragon’s Tongue at Clearwater Lake’s Osprey Falls. Take your fishing kit with you on your hike to Alice Lake. Paddle the remote bays of Murtle Lake for trophy size rainbows tipping the scales between 7 and 9 pounds. Stand on the shores of the Clearwater River practising catch-and-release, taking in only solitude and serenity. Head out on your own or hire a local outfitter to show you the best spots to land a Dolly and catch wild BC salmon.
Come See the Salmon
Witness one of Nature’s most amazing feats as salmon return to our rivers from August to October. The arrival of bright red salmon marks the end of a three-year, 4,000-km journey that takes them from their Wells Gray spawning grounds to Alaska and back.
Hike to Bailey’s Chute and watch in wonder as thousands of salmon jump their way up the waterfall. Marvel at black bears and Grizzlies fishing Bailey’s Chute. Visit the Raft River Salmon Viewing Platform to watch the spectacle or take part in the annual First Fish Celebration. Explore the Clearwater Trout Hatchery to learn about trout and Kokonee and how the hatchery stocks nearby lakes.
When to Go
- • River rafting and kayaking takes place May to September
- • Fish for trout May to September and salmon August to October
- • Prime salmon viewing season is August to October
Need to Know
- You need a valid freshwater fishing license to fish in British Columbia.
- Licenses can be purchased on-line or locally at selected retail outlets
- Local fishing guides offer learn to fish clinics as well as guided fishing tours
- Three guided outfitters offer a variety of river kayaking and rafting tours, from family-friendly floating on the North Thompson to adrenaline-fuelled kayaking and rafting on the Clearwater River
- Clearwater Lake Tours offers guided cruises and water taxi service on Clearwater and Azure Lakes, as well as canoe/kayak rentals and guided overnight camping
- You’ll need to portage in to canoe/kayak Murtle Lake. Carts are available at the trailhead to make the portage easier.
- Murtle Lake Canoes rent canoes and kayaks to those who register in advance