See you in spring 2014!

The Corridor – Part II

The Park Entrance to Clearwater Lake

Welcome to the most visited part of Wells Gray Provincial Park!

Just up the hill from the Helmcken Falls Lodge is the Hemp Creek Park entrance. There is a large sign, outhouses, and several info boards.

36 km – Green Mountain turnoff / Placid Lake Trails
A road goes off to the left for a 3.6 km side trip up to Green Mountain Viewing Tower, a must see stop on any Wells Gray visit. The view is simply amazing. Nearly everything you can see is Park, and you can see a long way!
The trailhead for Placid Lake is right at the Green Mountain turn off. Placid lake is a very nice little moss rimmed lake, that is home to rainbow trout, various ducks, and the occasional moose. This is a relatively level hike of about an hour each way through an interesting bit of old growth forest.
About 2/3 of the way up the mountain road is a yellow gate. This is one of the trailheads for Whitehorse Bluffs. Most people just drive past this one, but if you want a nice (4 hour) hike with a rewarding view at the end, this is a good one to do. Take a map though, as there are side trails that could take you on a much longer hike than you are prepared for.

39 km – The Warming Hut
This cabin was built for winter use by the Cross-Country Ski Club, but makes a good place for a picnic on a rainy day. However, don’t camp here overnight or you will be asked to leave. And don’t use the woodstove in the summer months as it is a fire hazard.
The Warming Hut is also the trailhead for winter Cross-Country Skiing on the Blackwater and Marathon Trails. These are among the very few trails you’re allowed to mountain bike on in the park.

The Warming Hut is also the trailhead for winter Cross-Country Skiing on the Blackwater and Marathon Trails. These are among the very few trails you’re allowed to mountain bike on in the park.

40 km – Dawson Falls Viewpoint Parking Lot
Park here and make the walk a couple hundred metres back up the trail to Dawson Falls. There are actually two places from which to view the falls – one about 75 metres away, the other right at the brink of the falls. Both provide excellent views.

41 km, and a bit – Helmcken Falls Rim Trail Parking Lot
***This is NOT the easy way to Helmcken Falls****
The Rim Trail takes you on a 2 to 3 hour round trip hike to the very brink of Helmcken Falls. The trail is level, and the view at the end is thrilling to say the very least. This is NOT a trail for small children, or anyone prone to vertigo, as there are no safety fences. You end up at a spot where you can look straight into the giant chasm that the waterfall has created. Not for those with a fear of heights.

41.5 km – The Mushbowl
Often mistaken for Dawson Falls, this much smaller waterfall is traversed by a single lane Bailey bridge across the Murtle River.

42 km – Pyramid Mountain Campground/Trailhead Turnoff
Drive about 1.5 km in on this gravel road to the new Pyramid Mountain Trailhead, and the 50 site campground. The campground features picnic tables, outhouses, and fire rings. Water is supplied by a bit of work from a hand pump in the middle of the campground. The water is excellent!
The Pyramid Mountain Trail is a common day hike for visitors. The Mountain itself is actually the result of a volcanic eruption under a glacier during the last Ice Age. There is a map of the new trail route at the parking lot.

The Pyramid Mountain Trail is a common day hike for visitors. The Mountain itself is actually the result of a volcanic eruption under a glacier during the last Ice Age. There is a map of the new trail route at the parking lot.

42.5 km – The turnoff to Helmcken Falls Viewpoint
Helmcken Falls - Photo Courtesy of Bradd Tuck
This is the only somewhat major intersection on the park road. Turn left and drive about 3 km to Helmcken Falls. This is the feature waterfall of Wells Gray Park and is 3 times higher than Niagara Falls in Ontario.
 
 

54.5 km – The Ray Farm Trail / Horseshoe Access
Ray Farm
Ray Farm - Photo Courtesy of Bradd TuckThis is the former homestead of John and Alice Ray, which is slowly being returned to nature through the process of decay. Some of the old farm buildings are still standing, while others have collapsed. This is a good short hike full of interesting natural features, birds and wildlife, and interpretive points.
 
 
 

Horseshoe Access
Horseshoe - Photo Courtesy of Bradd TuckThe Horseshoe is a big serpentine bend in the Clearwater River, a favorite with catch and release fly fishermen. The trailhead has been moved to the Ray Farm parking lot for safety reasons. This is a somewhat rough hike to the Clearwater River, and during high water, some sections of the lower trail can flood.
 
 

56 km – Alice Lake / Mineral Springs
A very short road leads to a brushy boat launch for Alice Lake. Depending on winter survival rates, the trout fishing in Alice Lake can be very poor to very good. It’s a nice lake for a canoe or a rowboat.
The Mineral Springs trailhead is a bit further down the hill. The trail goes about 50 metres up a steep slope, then levels off for 1 km. At the end of this hike is the Ray Mineral Spring, a small carbonated spring that bubbles forth out of a small volcano-like cone. People used to bottle root beer with this naturally carbonated water; however, without some sort of flavor, the water is a bit hard to swallow. This trail is also part of a larger loop trail that swings over to the Ray Farm and comes back along the east edge of Alice Lake, a nice level hike of 1-2 hours.

57 km – Bailey’s Chute and the West Lake Loop Trail
Bailey's ChuteBailey’s Chute is a waterfall, and a very swift, strong one at that. The walk in is about 25 minutes long, travels through some older cedar trees, and stops at a wooden viewing platform. Bailey’s Chute is in its full glory when the salmon run arrives in late August. For about 3 or 4 weeks, the giant fish can be seen trying to jump up the waterfall.
The trail continues on up the river past a couple more small waterfalls, then loops through the woods to tiny West Lake, then loops back and joins the Bailey’s Chute Trail again.

61 km – Shadow Lake
Shadow Lake is actually 2 small lakes joined by a very short, muddy channel. On a clear day you can get an excellent view of Garnet Peak off in the distance. This is one of the most photographed spots in Wells Gray. There are rainbow trout, loons, and sometimes a beaver in the lake.

64 km – Norman’s Eddy
This short hike was a popular catch and release fishing spot in the past, but it hasn’t been that productive in the last few years. Still, a nice 45 minute trudge through the woods and along the river.

65 km – Clearwater Lake and Falls Creek Campgrounds
 

68 km – The Boat Launch
This is the end of the road. The boat launch is located about 3 km north of the tip of Clearwater Lake. There are two large parking lots, and two docks. A cement boat launch is in good condition, and is usable all season. A fee station is located next to both docks so you can pay your overnight camping fees on Clearwater Lake.
CW Kayak

  • Clearwater Lake Cabins

    Cabins are located in adjacent sites 34 and 38 in Clearwater Lake Campground and include the campsite for parking a car, truck, or an RV at no extra charge.

    Click here for more info.

  • Good To Know

    There are several picnic stops along the Clearwater River, including Red Springs and Deer Creek.