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Helmcken Falls in British Columbia

The waterfall, accessible all year round, looks especially stunning when frozen into a snow crater

Helmcken Falls is one of the 39 falls found within Wells Gray Provincial Park. This iconic waterfall is located on the Murtle River and has a height of 463 ft (141 m), which makes it the fourth tallest waterfall in Canada. Along with the rest of the falls in the park, it's accessible all year round. Even though the most popular season is summer, Helmcken Falls takes on an exceptional appearance of a surreal snow crater during the winter.

Frozen Helmcken Falls

The best place to behold the beauty is from the viewing platform which promises to be an easy hike even for newbies. You'll see the crown of ice built up around the base of the falls. What's even more stunning, you can feel the mist and hear the roar of water that doesn't freeze completely. If you wish for more picturesque lookouts, try the 5-mi (8-km) out and back Helmcken Falls Rim Trail that takes nearly three hours to complete. However, the route requires appropriate gear (snowshoes in winter) and some hiking experience.

Ice climbing

Another reason why winter tends to be the best time to visit Helmcken Falls is ice climbing. The area is celebrated as the world's hardest ice to climb, so it's a challenge for experienced climbers only.

Summer hiking, birdwatching, and camping

If you prefer a summer trip, note that the campsite at Helmcken Falls Lodge usually operates from June through September. Summer hiking and birdwatching season runs roughly from April to October.

Where to stay

Wells Gray Provincial Park is about a six-hour drive from Vancouver. The nearest town to stay overnight is Clearwater, the heart of Wells Gray Country and all of British Columbia.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Helmcken Falls?

One of the perfect times to visit Heidi Falls is from December to February when the ice and snow combine to create an exceptional sight, the frozen falls. Though, the area is accessible all-year-round. The Helmcken Falls camping season starts from June to September, which is perfect for activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and photography. Show more

Where is Helmcken Falls located?

Helmcken Falls is situated in the Wells Gray Provincial Park in Canada's beautiful British Columbia. The waterfall is the fourth highest in Canada, and the park surrounding the fall offers a breathtaking view of Canada's natural landscape. If you're driving to the park from Vancouver, the journey takes about six hours. Show more

What is the height of Helmcken Falls?

The Helmcken Falls is approximately 463 feet, equivalent to around 141 meters. It is the fourth tallest waterfall located in Canada. Regardless of the time of the year, visitors can always enjoy the stunning views of the waterfall and the beautiful Wells Gray Provincial Park surrounding it, as the site is accessible throughout the year. Show more

What is the activity available in winter?

During winter, the frozen Helmcken Falls is a surreal sight to behold, with mist floating around the falls in a magnificent snow crater view. Additionally, ice climbing through the frozen Helkem Falls offers the world's toughest and most challenging ice climb. If visitors prefer hiking during winter, they would need appropriate gear like snowshoes. Show more

Are there camping and hiking options available in the area?

Exploring Wells Gray Provincial Park is fun with activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and photography. Helmcken Falls remain open throughout the year, and there's a campsite within it that usually opens from June to September. The park has a beautifully located trail know as Helmcken Falls Rim Trail, which is about 5 miles long, and it offers stunning surrounding panoramas that require a certain amount of hiking experience and an appropriate gear. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych