Helmcken Falls
Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls

Wells Gray Provincial Park
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Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls

Distance: 0.6mi
Elevation: 341ft
Time: 0.5h

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Hiking to Helmcken Falls is a quick adventure that will take you along a 0.6mi lollipop route to a viewpoint overlooking the falls. Along the trail, you will pass through a lovely forest setting and experience some amazing views looking out across the gorge to the western escarpment of the Murtle Plateau and the torrenting water of Helmcken Falls. This trail features easily traversable terrain and is well-suited for hikers of all skill levels.

Helmcken Falls Map

Getting there

To reach the Helmcken Falls Trailhead from Clearwater, make your way north along Clearwater Valley Road for 26.2mi and turn left onto Helmcken Falls Road. Continue on for 2.3mi to arrive at the parking area.

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About

When to do

Year-Round

Backcountry Campsites

No

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Lollipop


Helmcken Falls
Elevation Graph


Helmcken Falls Trail Description

The Helmcken Falls Trail is a quick hiking route that will give you access to a scenic lookout with amazing views for very little required effort; however, due to the popularity of the trail parking spaces can be limited. If you want to secure a parking spot and beat out the crowds for a peaceful view of the falls, it is best to arrive early for this hike. Additionally, there are some areas along the edge of the trail that contain steep drop offs into the canyon below. Exercise caution when hiking near the edge, especially if you are travelling with children.

While the trail leading up to the viewpoint does see a high volume of foot traffic, it is not without good reason. Helmcken Falls is the fourth tallest waterfall in Canada and witnessing the vast volumes of water plunging 463ft into the gorge below is certainly a memorable experience that you won’t want to miss if you are in the vicinity of Wells Gray Provincial Park. In addition to the amazingly scenic views, the trail is also a pleasure to hike on due to its well-maintained pathways and easy-going terrain. This is a great family-friendly hike that the entire family will be sure to enjoy.

Setting out from the parking area, head southwest along the trail to enter into the forest, where you will immediately come to a junction. Follow the path to the right and continue through the calm forest setting for 230ft to arrive at the first viewpoint looking out to the western escarpment and the torrenting water of the falls.

Follow the path to the right for a short walk along the edge of the gorge that will provide you with an amazing sightline along the snaking Murtle River that flows away from the falls towards the northwest. After roughly 1148ft, turn back and retrace your steps past the first viewpoint of the falls and onto the second, where you will be able to take in the breathtaking views from a slightly closer perspective.

Once you have spent enough time admiring the natural beauty of Helmcken Falls, turn back and follow the trail to reach a fork. Take the path to the right for an alternate route back to the parking area where you began your journey. If you are looking for a longer trek or simply to gain a different perspective of the falls, try hiking the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail on the opposite side of the gorge.

Trail Highlights

Helmcken Falls

Located along the Murtle River within Wells Gray Provincial Park, Helmcken Falls is a stunning waterfall that drops off the western escarpment of the Murtle Plateau. With an uninterrupted drop of 141m, Helmcken Falls is the fourth tallest waterfall in Canada. Discovered on July 24, 1913 by land surveyor Robert Henry Lee, the falls were named after Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, a Hudson’s Bay Company physician who helped bring British Columbia into the Canadian Confederation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall is Helmcken Falls?

Helmcken Falls features an uninterrupted drop of 463ft, which makes it the fourth tallest waterfall in Canada.

Insider Hints

  • Arrive early to secure parking.

  • Stay clear of the edge, as there is a steep dropoff into the canyon below.

  • For a different perspective of the falls, try hiking the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail on the opposite side of the canyon.

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