Wells Gray Provincial Park is a massive wilderness park located near the town of Clearwater in east-central British Columbia. And up until recently, I’d never heard of it.
I was looking for an accessible long weekend getaway and being “just” a five hour drive from Whistler, it fit the bill.
The biggest surprise was learning that Well Gray is home to 39 different waterfalls. Anyone who follows me on social media knows I have a slight obsession with waterfalls. This weekend was coming together perfectly!
Accommodation options are limited so we decided to check out two different Bed and Breakfast locations.
The Lake House is traditional log home that has the most magical location. Our ground level suite opened up to the backyard and offered patio doors allowing us to walk the 100 meters or so down to the lake for sunrise and sunset. The owners, Sandy and Neil, are originally from the U.K. and are bubbling over with fascinating stories of their former life as owner/operators of a Zambian safari lodge. One pleasant surprise: they offer Paleo meal options. On a very random note, another couple staying here had just eloped (she was still in her wedding dress) and asked us to share their wedding cake with them. So crazy yet fun, and very memorable!
The Canadian Bear B&B offers accommodation in both the main house as well as a private guest house. Only the guest house, which is a mini log cabin that also encompasses the garage, was available for us and we jumped at the opportunity to stay in it. A full kitchen, one bedroom, plus a loft with twin beds makes the guest house perfect for families. We were there in the off season (September) therefore breakfast was not included. Unfortunately we were woken up early due to large machinery spreading gravel on the driveway and were told we needed to move our car so we made a hasty departure.
Both days were spent chasing waterfalls. They are all so varied and vast, I wish we had at least one more day to hike and explore.
Helmcken Falls seems to be the best known one. Standing 141 meters high, it’s the fourth largest waterfall in Canada! You can walk along a path on the edge of the ridge high above the river to get an incredible vantage point. Be forewarned though, there’s no fence protecting you from tumbling down to your demise.
Dawson Falls might have been my favourite waterfall. There is something special about the way it spreads out over the ancient lava rock like a beautiful veil.
Dining options in Clearwater are typical of a small town. However, we found one café that was so awesome it alone would be worth a return trip. It’s called The Bears Den Cookhouse. We happened upon on our way home simply hoping to grab a coffee. Once we got inside, we saw all the incredible breakfast offerings so took a sunny table outside and enjoyed their delicious breakfast sandwiches. My favourite part, an abundance of gluten-free homemade baked goods! The owner told us she’s is celiac and just opened in the spring of this year. It’ll be our first stop next time we go back to Clearwater.
I’m told the waterfalls at Wells Gray are incredible in the winter because the water freezes into tall towers. I’m looking forward to seeing that and we’re already planning a return visit!