If you've ever seen any material on Wells Gray Park then you've surely seen photographs of the place we headed to after our horseback ride; Helmcken Falls. It's the highest of the thirty nine falls that grace the park and arguably the most spectacular. It's on the Murtle River and at 141 metres it ranks as the fourth highest waterfall in Canada.
This view is easily accessed by turning east off of Clearwater Valley Road and parking in the lot at the end of the four kilometre Helmcken Falls Road. The viewing platform is a short walk from the lot. If you're keen to see the falls from another perspective, there's a 4k hike (4 hours one way) rated difficult, that gets you to the bottom of the falls and a 3 3/4k hike (1 hour one way) rated easy, that takes you to the brink of the falls.
Helmcken is located off the 26K mark on Clearwater Valley Road and we took the rest of the afternoon to head back south to our cabin, stopping to see the sights along the way. Just before the road does a sharp turn and crosses the Murtle River, there's a pull-out on the right where we parked the truck. We walked across the road, led by a small brown sign that said "Mushbowl Trail". The photo below looks down the creek from the trail. You can see the spray from the Mushbowl, or Devil's Punchbowl as it was once called.
The trail wasn't very clear but it wasn't difficult to make our way along the water. I'm so glad hubby noticed this because it wasn't mentioned in the guide book and it was a great walk along the rushing river.
We were well rewarded for our efforts at the end. This is definitely the best spot from which to view Dawson Falls, pictured below.
When we left the cabin that morning I'd forgotten the camera inside. We hadn't gone far and so my hubby turned back. In a typical senior moment that's becoming all too frequent, I returned to the truck with my hat, hubby's sunglasses and no camera, which I didn't notice until we were half way to Helmcken. Luckily hubby had his little pocket Sealife camera with him and he got some great shots and couple of videos.
The Mushbowl from the Murtle Creek bridge.
Back in the truck we continued over the bridge and followed the road which now headed up river. The trail to view Dawson Falls was well marked. A short hike gave us a different perspective and we were able to stand at the brink.