Best time to travel to British Columbia

Helmcken Falls

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

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin
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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.

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