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.
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.
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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