Dawson Falls

Wells Gray Provincial Park / Thompson Nicola Regional District, British Columbia, Canada

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Dawson Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Dawson Falls, which Julie likes to refer to it as "Dawson's Creek Falls" because of the TV show she used to watch, was a wide river-type waterfall said to be on the Murtle River. Due to its broad characteristic, Julie seemed to like this waterfall better than the nearby Helmcken Falls, even it wasn't as famous as Helmcken Falls (the Wells Gray Provincial Park's most famous waterfall).

This waterfall took us by surprise since we hadn't planned on visiting it (we didn't even know of its existence until we saw a sign at the Spahats Falls car park making us aware of its presence in the park.

In any case, after parking the car and getting onto the trail, the first thing we noticed was that there was a view looking down towards the Murtle River where there was a small waterfall and bridge before it. It took us a while to figure out that the waterfall down there was Mus' Bowl, which we passed by en route to Helmcken Falls.

Nonetheless, the walking path took us around 15-20 minutes to get to the fenced overlook of Dawson Falls. At first we didn't think we were going the right way because the trail strangely veered back towards the main road, but fortunately there was a sign there indicating the trail continued on (just as we were about to question the validity of the trail).

Curious to see where the main trail continued onto (as the fenced overlook wasn't the end of the trail apparently), I walked for a few minutes in the upstream direction until I saw a trail junction where a primitive, steep, and slippery trail descended towards the base of the falls. Given the amount of rain that had fallen on the day of our visit, this trail wasn't particularly easy due to its muddiness as well as the presence of fallen trees. But once I got to the bottom, I was able to get right up to the base of Dawson Falls where I could appreciate its size from up close.

Since I was content with going this far past the main overlook, this marked my turnaround point. Thus, I didn't explore any more of the main trail as it continued to keep going so I wouldn't know if the main trail would yield additional ways to see the falls.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Looking down towards Mus' Bowl and the road bridge going right in front of it.  This view was right at the car park for Dawson FallsLooking down towards Mus' Bowl and the road bridge going right in front of it. This view was right at the car park for Dawson Falls
A closer look at the impressive Dawson Falls after hiking and scrambling right up to its baseA closer look at the impressive Dawson Falls after hiking and scrambling right up to its base
The fairly large car park right at the trailhead for Dawson FallsThe fairly large car park right at the trailhead for the falls

Initially the trail passed through a wooded areaInitially the trail passed through a wooded area

The trail strangely heads back towards the Clearwater Valley RoadThe trail then strangely headed back towards the Clearwater Valley Road before veering away from it and ultimately towards the falls.

Follow this arrow and make sure you don't walk along the Clearwater Valley RoadFollow this arrow and make sure you don't walk along the Clearwater Valley Road

View of Dawson Falls after making it to the main overlook areaView of the falls after making it to the main overlook area

The steep path I took to get closer to Dawson Falls' baseThe steep path I took to get closer to the falls' base

Closeup look at Dawson FallsCloseup look at Dawson Falls

I had to negotiate this steep muddy section when I was headed back to the main trail and ultimately back to the trailheadI had to negotiate this steep muddy section when I was headed back to the main trail and ultimately back to the trailhead. A few other folks just so happened to show up as I was about to leave.


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep of the river and falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Clearwater, drive about 42km north on the Clearwater Valley Road. The signposted turnoff for the falls is on the right side of the road. Shortly after the turnoff is a fairly large car park.

For specific driving directions pertaining to the whereabout of Clearwater, see the Helmcken Falls page for details.

That said, the general context of Clearwater is such that it's 318km (over 3 hours drive) southwest of Jasper, 562km (6.5 hours drive) west of Banff, and 478km (under 5 hours drive) northeast of Vancouver.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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