Winter transforms the beautiful and iconic waterfalls of Wells Gray Park into magnificent sculptures of snow and ice. The road into the Park and these falls is maintained all winter. Here’s your guide to seeing the frozen waterfalls of Wells Gray in the Winter.
1. Helmcken Falls
The iconic crown jewel of waterfalls, Helmcken Falls marvels in all seasons. The fourth tallest waterfall in Canada, watch the famous ice cone at the base of the falls grow throughout the season. With not a crowd in sight, enjoy listening to the thunderous roar.
Helmcken Falls Viewing Platform Access: Easy. The platform be reached on the Clearwater Valley Road (Park Road) which is ploughed and maintained all winter long. The parking lot is maintained and the platform is cleared all winter long.
Helmcken Falls Rim Trail Access: Moderate difficulty. For a closer view of the falls, you can hike/snowshoe on the Helmcken Falls South Rim Trail. This 8km, 3 hour round trip journey provides you with one of the most spectacular views in the Park. Use caution on the canyon portion of the trail because there are no barriers to keep hikers from falling. Some parts of the trail are extremely close to the edge of the canyon and so extreme caution must be used. Not recommended for children and users use the trail at their own risk.
2. Dawson Falls
Considered a smaller version of Niagara falls, the wide drop of Dawson Falls cascades over 200,000 year old lava beds.
Access: Easy. Park at the Commercial Bus Parking Pullout for Dawson Falls on the Clearwater Valley Road and walk down the short trails to the viewing area.
3. Mushbowl Falls
Cross the one-lane wooden bridge on the way to Helmcken Falls and you will see Mushbowl Falls which is an intense water feature near the bridge made all the more scenic with its long river and forests views.
Access: Easy. Once you cross the bridge, you can pull over and view the falls from a safe distance.
4. Spahats Creek Falls
Spahats Falls plunges into a deep canyon whose layers are made more dramatic by the contrasting snow. With its slow flow, the water freezes into beautiful blue ice forms as it builds an impressive mound of ice at its base.
Access: Easy. The turn-off for Spahats is only 11kms up the Wells Gray Park Road from Clearwater. Currently the platform and trail are not being maintained regularly and users do so at their own risk. Mind the fence the the canyon.
4. For the adventurous: Moul Falls
*This trail is not maintained in the winter and the final portion consists of a steep descent with the potential for slippery sections, steep cliffs, and falling ice. Extreme caution must be used. Those who use the trail in the winter do so at their own risk.
Access: This 3km round trip hike or snowshoe takes you along a relatively flat trail to Moul Falls. The trail to the base offers stunning views of the icy veil adjacent to the lava rock cave. The trailhead is 20km up the Clearwater Valley Road (Park access Road).