Located in the middle of British Columbia, Wells Gray Provincial Park spreads across an impressive 5,250 square kilometers (1.3 million acres) offering nature in its wildest form. With mountain communities surrounding the Park and the Clearwater, Thompson, and Murtle Rivers roaring through, Wells Gray is a unique place that has a lot of extraordinary experiences to offer.
If you just want to enjoy nature and not partake in any modern activities, then the park's 39 named waterfalls will keep you occupied (there’s a lot more that are unnamed). An inland rainforest will also offer some of the most meditative hiking experiences you will ever come across.
No matter the season, the Park will have something to offer. During the winter, the park turns into a frozen wonderland, and you can enjoy the rarest of sights as the Park’s waterfalls freeze in unique and beautiful structures. Of course, by protecting the southern, and highest, regions of the Cariboo Mountains, wildlife sightings are also frequent and diverse.
The park caters to almost every taste of adventure you could imagine. On the ground with hiking and mountain biking and in the sky with scenic flights and tandem paragliding. Moreover, the sheer size of the park allows for a peaceful, quiet and solitary camping experience in the alpine wilderness. Whether you have an RV or want to pitch your own tent, campers can immerse themselves in pure nature.
The Park is located around 450 km or 280 miles from Vancouver in the Thompson-Okanagan Region. If visiting by car or RV, the best route to take would be British Columbia Highway 5. The park is near the mid-way point of Vancouver and Jasper, Alberta.
You can also travel to Wells Gray using the Greyhound bus. If traveling by air, the closest airport is Kamloops which is located 134km south of the Park.
Wells Grey Provincial Park has a total of ten campgrounds. Five of which can accommodate RV, motorhome, and trailer camping while the rest of the five are reserved for backcountry camping only and accessible by either hiking or boating to the various locations. In total Wells Grey Provincial Park features 164 vehicle accessible campsites and over 250 tent sites in more remote regions of the park.
Clearwater lake campground has 40 paved campsites in total that can accommodate large RVs., motorhomes and even big rigs. The campsites comes equipped with picnic tables and are located close to restrooms, showers, and a nearby camp store. There is also access to drinking water. The sites offer average privacy and partial shade as well as a fire pit area. Pets are allowed within campgrounds as long as they are leashed. This campground is the closest to the boat launch area and also a popular picnicking destination.
Falls Creek Campground offers 40 large sized campsites that include their own picnic table and fire pit. Pit toilets are situated nearby with the campsites offering shade and privacy from noisy neighbors and views of the Clearwater River.
Apart from these major campgrounds the park also offers many backcountry campgrounds for hiking and boating enthusiast that offer primitive camping facilities for those craving a more remote and rugged camping experience.
The Mahood Lake Campground has about 36 campgrounds with paved and gravel sites that come equipped with a fire pit and picnic table for you to relax and enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by nature. The campsites are smaller in size and offer average privacy and shade. Group campgrounds are also available for reservation. The campground also features a playground and a horseshoe pit with a large grassy playing field.
The park’s white water rafting facilities are for every skill level. Whether it’s churning through white water rapids or a lazy float along a slow running river, you’re sure to enjoy your time. Your ride will take you through volcanic canyons and you can see eagles, bears and high-jumping salmon. For families, the North Thompson River is perfect while extreme adventurers can opt between both the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers.
Hiking through Wells Grey is a truly unique experience. Not only does the Park offer ancient volcanic fields, glacier-fed lakes, and jagged mountain peaks, but it is also and filled with wildlife. What’s more interesting, is long before the Park was established, pioneering families claimed the land and built their homes right in view of the Pyramid Mountain. On your hike, you can check out the Ray Family Farm and the Majerus Homestead by hiking trails just off the Clearwater Lake Road.
Equestrian trails contained in Wells Grey Provincial Park include the Flat Iron, Hemp Creek Canyon Lands, Hoodoo Rim Trail, Green Mountain, and White Horse Buffs to name but a few. Some parts of the park offer commercial horseback riding but RV campers and horse riding enthusiasts are encouraged to bring along their own horses and ride them through this amazing natural landscape.
If you’re a little on the adventurous side and want to experience the gift of flight, then this two and a half hour roundtrip might just be what you have been craving for. Soar along the mountainside in the slipstream of eagles and ravens for a truly once in a lifetime experience. Departures are from the El Nido flying site located on Birch Island.
Whether you want to take a ride on your own or join a guided ride, the Park boasts some very impressive trails. Guided tours through Wells Gray range two and a half hours to a full day's ride, ending at Majerus Falls.
If you opt to go at it alone and are looking for something a little extreme, then the Blackwater Trail will be more to your speed. Make sure you stop by the Visitor Centre in Clearwater to pick up a map, as the 20-kilometer ride is filled with Roller Coaster twists and Corkscrew sections.
The Park offers wildlife viewing around the year. In the spring you can see Cinnamon and Black bears, marmot, deer and eagles in the summer, salmon in the fall, and finally, moose and caribou in the winter. Considering the sheer size of the park, its no surprise to see such diverse wildlife all year round. Do make yourself familiar with the park rules and safety instructions to ensure the safest experience for you and your family.