Extreme Wells Gray for the
Advanced Adventurer

    There are really two kinds of extreme
    adventures you can do in the Wells Gray Area;
    the ones for adrenaline junkies - death defying
    feats of near stupidity; and the ones for
    Trekkers - To go where no one, (or almost no
    one) has gone before.

    Probably less than a third of Wells Gray Park
    sees human access in a year. That leaves
    about 1400 square miles for those looking for
    something beyond the boundaries of the
    average visitor.

    Not that you have to go Way Out to get to the
    more extreme local recreation opportunities.
    As many a kayaker has discovered, the lower
    Clearwater River can keep them in thrills and
    spills for days and is easily accessible from
    right in town..
    Adrenaline Junkie Fun

    Whitewater kayakers can have about 25 km of  
    world class bumps and bruises, in holes and rapids
    like "the Wall" the "German Basher" and
    "Sabretooth" all known to flip rafts and chew
    kayaks... and their occupants.  

    You really need to make friends with a local,or
    buy a hungry raft guide lunch to get that lifesaving
    local knowledge on this river - seriously!  This is
    not that forgiving Olympic Park waterway or a
    wave pool. Some wrong left or right turns will
    possibly kill you. Some river sections are better
    than a Class 5 and have to be portaged. Scott at  
    Liquid Lifestyles  (next to Dairy Queen)
    is the guy to talk to.

    Mountain Bikers
    We are really not there yet when it comes to
    mountain biking, but there is a local  informal group
    trying to get an organized trail system together for
    the future. We have lots of Cross Country Ski
    routes and steep old skidder trails, so the future
    looks bright.  

    Rock Climbers
    The locals have a few spots... but this ain't no
    Moab. Dunn Peak gets some local attention, as
    does an area around Little Fort, but that's about it.
    Going beyond the beaten paths -  
    the Wild  Edge of Wells Gray

    Wanna see something almost no one has?
    Want to put your new boots to the blister test?
    Want to see just how high devil's club can
    grow or just how bad the mosquitoes can get?
    Then Wells Gray is your heaven.

    Really, there  are lots of places you can go in Wells
    Gray that are off the regular park guides, but I'll
    just go through a few that are done in an average
    year by at least one person.

    Allow at least 3 full days for most of these:

    1. Hike to, and paddle, Hobson Lake.
    I bet less than a six pack of people do this hike in a

    The trail to Hobson Lake starts in the river channel
    between Clearwater Lake and Azure Lake.  This is
    Topo map and GPS country, don't go without
    some form of advanced navigation skills/gear. The
    trail (not really a trail anymore) is about 13-14 km
    with a modest elevation gain.

    There are tricks to doing this trip the easy way:

    A. Abandon any thought you had of portaging
    your own canoe in, collapsible or otherwise.  
    Clearwater Lake Tours (who can also water taxi
    you to the Trailhead) foolishly flew a handful of
    canoes into Hobson Lake some years ago. Take
    advantage of their foolishness and rent a canoe at
    the other end for a surprisingly low rate. You will
    need to pack in a paddle and a PFD.

    B. Go late in the season.  The one really
    dangerous part of this trek is crossing Lickskillet
    Creek, at about the 8 km mark. In June and July,
    the run off may be too high to cross safely. You
    will get wet and you will get cold here. You will
    need rope and straps, etc.

    2. Huntley Col - Garnet Peak Ascent
    Quite a few people hike Huntley Col, trail starts at
    4 1/2 Mile Campsite on Azure Lake (canoe or
    water taxi to it), but not many actually go all the
    way and do Garnet Peak as well. Think about it,
    you get to climb a mountain that looks like the
    Matterhorn, without flying to either Disneyland or
    the Alps. Take lots of water!

    The hitch on this hike comes from a snow slope
    that melts during the summer. Come early, and with
    a bit of ice gear, you can walk up it to the summit
    route. Come later and you'll need climbing gear to
    get up past the sheer rock face that lies under the
    melting snow. The view from the top is
    mindblowing. Find the cairn and sign your name to
    the short list of people of have made it to the top.

    3. Kostal Lake Route   
    Kostal Lake is stunning - check out the picture.
    The problem is getting there, it's hard and it takes
    The route starts at Clearwater Lake Campground.  
    It wouldn't hurt to find campground staff and have
    them register your name, date in, date out, and next
    of kin.

    The route is 24 km one way, goes over lava flows,
    through forests of devil's club, swampy areas, up
    switchbacks, and through sometimes hundreds of
    blowdown.  You need bug dope, a Topo map,  
    good footwear, a compass and or GPS. If you
    venture further on to McDougall Lake, or onto any
    of the local lava flows, you can expect to destroy a
    new pair of boots on this trek. There is a rough
    campsite on the lake near the cone. You're on your
    own for firewood ,etc. But considering the number
    of blowdowns, you should be fine on that. Bring a
    fishing rod! A casting rod and a bobber might land
    you something impressive for dinner!

    The tricks: Start early and stop when it gets dark.  
    You need to do this trek in full daylight as the trail
    is very easy to lose! People get lost out there on
    this one, you can't see landmarks from the ground
    easily, so you get disoriented...a compass and map
    are essential!

    4. Stevens Lakes
    This place gets overlooked all the time. Probably
    because it's Grizzly country.  I don't know enough
    about this route to give accurate info, but I do
    know that you can get to it via the Battle Mountain
    Access, plus a couple of other roads. It has rustic
    campgrounds on the lakeshore, and the fishing is

    5. Whale Lake
    This one you can do as a same day trip or an
    overnight. The hike is long - 8 km - and  starts near
    Mahood Campground at the Mahood River
    bridge. Just to see the colour of the lake is worth
    the hike. There's a small campsite there that you
    can camp overnight at as well.  Last time I went up
    there, there was almost no sign of human presence
    there...way off the beaten path.

    6. Battle Mountain
    This gets more use by far than any of the above
    mentioned areas, but does offer some good back
    country hiking and camping, notably at Philip
    Lake.  Access road starts near Wells Gray Ranch.

    7. Horseshoe Falls / Majerus Falls
    The first part of this trail to the Pyramid mountain
    volcanic cone is maintained, after that you're on
    your own.

    This trail is fairly level and your biggest obstacles
    are blowdown and curious black bears. There is a
    rustic campsite near Majerus Falls - about 7 or 8
    km in. The two falls are spectacular. This is a great
    overnighter to get away from the crowds.

    8. Hike Murtle Lake
    There are lots of great hikes on Murtle Lake,
    Wavy Range being one, you're already in a remote
    corner of the park, give up the beach for a day and
    climb a mountain.
Riverside Adventures
Interior Whitewater Expeditions
Whale Lake