Exploring Wells Gray Provincial Park

Wells Gray Provincial Park is a huge wilderness park in east-central British Columbia, Canada. This park protects most of the southern Cariboo Mountains, and the scenery is absolutely stunning. It is nicknamed Canada’s Waterfall Park because of the 39 amazing waterfalls within its boundaries. Here is a link to the official website.

I mentioned the park in a recent post when we were just passing by, but a few days ago a group of us had the most awesome day hiking and enjoying nature in this beautiful park. We decided to meet at the Park Visitor Center in Clearwater, BC. This is a great place to find up to date information about the park.

20190711_080554
Wells Gray Visitor Center, Clearwater BC

We were a group of 9, ranging in age from 2 to 68, so we wanted to do a hike that all could enjoy. We picked the Ray Farm Trail, approximately 54 km from the Visitor Center. The trail head is well marked and there is a parking area. This trail is a 3.9 km loop and is in very good condition so most people can do it.

A family used to farm here, and some of the old farm buildings can still be seen. One of the attractions of this trail are the mineral springs which attract wildlife. Sometimes it is possible to see animal tracks. If you get there early in the morning (an hour before sunrise is the favorite time for animals) you might encounter moose or deer at the spring. There could also be bears in the area, we saw a lot of bear droppings the day we were there. There is of course some wildlife we wanted to keep away. I used Doterra Terra Shield bug repellent and the mosquitoes and blackflies left me alone.

Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, Canada
Alice Lake on the Ray Farm trail

It is also possible to canoe on Alice Lake, though rentals are not available. On the lake you can see loons, maybe there is a moose watching you from the edge. Hummingbirds and butterflies might accompany you as well. We also saw a lot of toads on our visit.

Wells Gray Provincial Park
Young boy meeting a baby toad

It was awsome for the kids in our group to experience nature first hand. They just loved watching birds, squirrels, toads and interesting mushrooms and berries.

Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, Canada
The old Ray farm buildings and uniquely colored mineral springs

 

 

 

Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, Canada
A squirrel eating hazelnuts right in front of us
Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, Canada
Another mineral spring in the park

After the hike we stopped at Helmcken Falls. This is the most well known of the many waterfalls in this park. There is a big parking lot and a viewing platform. Tour buses stop here and it is often busy, but the falls are way too beautiful to miss.

Access to Helmcken Falls is maintained year round, and to see the falls in winter is an amazing experience. Often the water underneath freezes and forms a huge cone of ice. This is especially beautiful on a sunny winter day.

Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, Canada
Helmcken Falls is the most well known of the 39 named waterfalls in the park

Another spectacular waterfall is Dawson Falls. There is a well marked lookout about 40 km from the visitor center. There is also a narrow trail on the far side of the bridge where you can hike along Murtle River and actually get behind the falls, great fun on a hot day!

If you follow the park road to the end you come to Clearwater Lake. Here Clearwater Lake Tours will take you on wonderful day trip to Rainbow Falls to see the 500 year old rain forest, enjoy fishing and a picnic on the beach. For more information click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s