Helmcken Falls

British Columbia, Canada

Helmcken Falls is a waterfall of the Murtle River in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Shortly before the river flows into the Clearwater River, it falls from the Murtle Plateau 141 m below. This makes it the fourth highest waterfall in Canada in southeastern British Columbia.

Sediments of magmatic rock once formed the Murtle Plateau layer by layer. It was flooded in the last ice age, and so the rugged walls on the banks of the Murtle River were formed.

The protection of the waterfall was one of the main reasons for the emergence of the partly wooded nature park inhabited by bears. Another reason for the establishment of the park is the volcanic activities in this extensive wilderness of about 5000 square kilometres in the middle of the Wells-Gray-Clearwater volcanic field.

The waterfall was named after John Sebastian Helmcken, a physician of German descent who worked for the Hudson's Bay Company in British Columbia and helped annex the country to the Canadian Confederation. Helmcken himself never saw the waterfall.

How to get there On the north shore, the waterfall can be seen after 3 minutes of walking and a landscaped terrace that provides its best views. On the south shore, you have to walk about 2 1/2 hours to see it, not as much, but the path leading to it is easy and very pleasant in the forest. The temptation is great to approach the edge of the cliff to see it better but it is of course not to do (beware of children).