British Columbia’s Wells Gray and Mount Robson Provincial Parks

At this point in our journey, I’m revisiting some favorite places I’d been to while solo traveling… all of which John has never seen. One of his favorite things to photograph is waterfalls, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate stop than Wells Gray Provincial Park, where there are several. 

Lighting is a hard thing to predict with waterfalls unless you are familiar with them, and even then, weather and time of year are factors. In our case, the weather (and therefore lighting) changed constantly so we spent our two days there revisiting the waterfalls two or three times. As with some of the other provincial parks in BC, drone usage was not prohibited, so getting a different perspective was a good option for us.

First stop was Spahats Falls, which is fed by Spahats Creek and is approximately 250′ tall. This one is tricky to photograph from the view points because of the angle, and obstructions, so the drone was our best option. There are actually two tiers to the falls, one of which is hidden. It was tempting to fly the drone in for a look-see, but it was too far away to see well, and we’re still relative newbies to “droning”.

Drone image of Spahats Falls

Top of Spahats Falls


Next stop was Dawson Falls. This is a beautiful waterfall, but our first attempt there was at the wrong time of day for a good image of the entire fall. Lighting is just too contrasty. The first image is from the drone, the second I’m zooming in with my camera, eliminating the shadows.

Drone image of Dawson Falls

Dawson Falls


One of my favorite “water features at Wells Gray is “The Mushbowl”, a cool cascade of water on the Murtle River, between Dawson Falls and Helmcken Falls.

The Mushbowl along Murtle River

The Mushbowl and tiny rainbow, along Murtle River


And then there’s Helmcken Falls, which the park is best known for. Again we were limited from the view point, so we made use of the drone, which we’ve named Hawkeye. 😁

Helmcken Falls

Drone image of Helmcken Falls

Cascade below Helmcken Falls


On day two we set out early, hoping to avoid the contrasty light. This time we started at Helmcken Falls. When we arrived the falls were completely socked in under a low cloud. We put the drone in flight just to see what we might come up with. What we got was wet, which we didn’t really know until we loaded the images on the computer. I was actually about to delete some of them because of aberrations picked up by the light traveling through the moisture on the camera, but the more I looked, the more I liked the artistic flare it added to the image. So… I played a bit with them, and then shared them with my friends on Facebook. Rave reviews! Especially the brightly colored one below.

Artistic drone image of Helmcken Falls

Artistic image of Helmcken Falls


After our stop at Helmcken Falls, we drove farther into the park to a combination of waterfall and rapids called Bailey’s Chute. Here you can watch Chinook Salmon, who have traveled past their spawning grounds downriver, attempting to get over the falls. If interested, this is an interesting story about The Journey of the Salmon. If find it fascinating.

Drone image of Bailey’s Chute

Drone image of rapids below Bailey’s Chute

Turbulent Clearwater River


Our third stop at Helmcken Falls…

Drone image, Helmcken Falls

Top of Helmcken Falls


And a take-two at Dawson Falls, where we made us of “Hawkeye” once again!

Dawson Falls from viewing platform

“Hawkeye” view of Dawson Falls

Drone selfie at Dawson Falls


Before leaving the park we did a 4 mile (round trip) hike out to Moul Falls. Interestingly, where we saw relatively few people at the easily accessed falls in the park, we found many more at Moul Falls. Most of them young and agile, but not all. It’s not a difficult hike, but getting below the falls takes a bit of work (an even more so getting back up). We did make one little detour up Grouse Creek for a shot I spied from the trail, before heading down to the falls.

Grouse Creek

Red-rooted plant hanging in Grouse Creek

Moul Falls and rainbow

Moul Falls


That afternoon we moved on to Mount Robson Provincial Park about three hours north, and settled into a campsite. The following morning, before moving on to Jasper National Park, we hiked along the Fraser River to Overlander Falls. The river is lovely with a rocky, canyon like shoreline and surrounded by evergreens. We were happy to make use of the drone in this park as well. (It would be the last opportunity for quite some time, as our next several destinations are Canadian and US National Parks.)

Fraser River from the trail

Rapids along Fraser River

Fraser River from the trail

Drone image looking up river toward Overlander Falls

Overlander Falls from viewing platform

Drone image of Fraser River with Overlander Falls in distance

Drone image looking downriver from Overlander Falls

Rocky shore of Fraser River

Fraser River


And this was all we could see of the incredible Mount Robson! Here’s a link to my last post  about Mount Robson, when I did a day trip from Jasper National Park, and hiked to Kinney Lake with Jazzy and Sadie! Such a great memory!  Side Trip- Mount Robson and Kinney Lake

Mount Robson shrouded in clouds


Next up… one of my favorite places from my three years of travel… Jasper National Park!!

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