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Wells Gray Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Recreation Strategy for Wells Gray Provincial Park
In collaboration with First Nations, park users, stakeholders, and local and regional governments, BC Parks is developing a recreation strategy for Wells Gray Provincial Park. The report is due to be completed by mid-2020. Stay tuned!
Cave and surrounding area is closed to public access
Until risks to public safety have been assessed and engagement with First Nations has been concluded, the newly discovered cave and surrounding area is closed to public access as per the Directors Order [PDF].
Any member of the public in contravention of Order is subject to the following:
Under Section 17 of the Park Act, Section 28:
- 28 (1) A person who contravenes any provision of this Act commits an offence and is liable to a fine of up to $1,000,000 or a term of imprisonment of not more than one year or both.
- (3) When a contravention of the Act or regulations continues for more than one day, the person is guilty of a separate offence for each day on which the contravention continues.
- Under Section 17 of the Park Act, Section 28:
- Wells Gray Cave Frequently Asked Questions
- Any member of the public in contravention of Order is subject to the following:
Canyon access to the Clearwater River Trail is closed
Due to bridge damage, the 3rd Canyon access to the Clearwater River Trail is closed until further notice. Please monitor this page for trail condition updates. Your cooperation is appreciated.
About This Park
Wells Gray has something to offer every outdoor interest: lush alpine meadows, excellent birding and wildlife viewing opportunities; hiking for every ability, ranging from a few minutes on a level trail to many days with a map and compass; boating, canoeing and kayaking. Guiding businesses offer horseback riding, canoeing, river-rafting, fishing and hiking; and the history enthusiast can learn about the early homesteaders, trappers, and prospectors, or about the natural forces that produced Wells Gray’s many volcanoes, waterfalls, mineral springs and glaciers.
To simplify finding information, Wells Gray Provincial Park is divided into the following areas:
- Backcountry Areas: Information on some of the longer hiking trails, offering visitors the opportunity to camp in user-maintained wilderness settings.
- Clearwater/Azure Marine: Two adjoining lakes, each 22 km long, are popular with canoeists, kayakers, and motor-boaters. Ride the tour boat, and take photos of the many waterfalls along the lakeshores.
- Clearwater River: An area of limited access along the Clearwater River offering hiking, fishing, wilderness camping and spectacular scenery.
- Mahood Lake: A beautiful, quiet, family – and fishing-oriented campground on the southwestern tip of Wells Gray Park.
- Murtle Lake: 100 km of shoreline outlines this pristine, canoe-only lake in the wilderness.
- Spahats Creek: Noted for its waterfall and panoramic view of the Clearwater Valley, this peaceful day-use area is only 10 km north of Clearwater.
- Trophy Mountain: Approximately 6900 ha contains over 45 sub-alpine lakes and tarns and offers opportunities for hiking, back-country overnight and day trips.
- Wells Gray Corridor Area (includes Pyramid and Clearwater Lake/Falls Creek campgrounds): Vehicle-accessible campgrounds, short hiking trails and spectacular views along the main road from the park entrance to Clearwater Lake. For your convenience, during the summer season this area of the park has a concession managed by the park operator.
Date Established: November 28, 1939
Park Size: 541,516 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Wells Gray Trail Report [PDF] (August 13, 2020)
- Bear Safety brochure for Wells Gray [PDF] (English and German)
- As a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, there are numerous dead trees in the marine camping areas of Murtle Lake. While efforts are ongoing to remove many of the tree hazards at these campsites, we still require you to do your part. When choosing a site please take time to look at the trees and their condition.
- Campsite locations should be chosen with care. Tents and canoes should be placed a safe distance from potential deadfall. Use extra caution choosing campsites in windy conditions.
SnowmobilesOperation of snowmobiles is not permitted in the park unless granted under special exception by a park official.
Horse Riding in Wells GrayHorse use is permitted in many areas of the park.
Personal watercraftPersonal watercraft (i.e. seadoos) are not permitted on Clearwater and Azure Lakes.
BC Parks’ Limited Edition Anniversary Posters
Wells Gray Provincial Park celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014!
- Order your limited-edition Wells Gray poster for only $15.00 – with 100% of the proceeds going back to Wells Gray Provincial Park!
Commercial Recreational Opportunities
In addition to the opportunities listed above, this park offers a number of other recreational opportunities (including guided hiking, horseback and canoe tours).
BC Parks initiated an exclusive proposal call opportunity that awarded six seasonal (spring to fall), multi-year permits for guided hiking and canoeing until 2023. There are three companies that can provide only day guiding opportunities, and three that can offer both day and overnight guiding opportunities within Wells Gray Provincial Park.
All campsite and group site reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted at Clearwater Lake, Falls Creek and Mahood Lake group campgrounds and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Group Campsite Reservations
Group campsite reservations are accepted at this park.
Location and Maps
Park can be accessed off Hwy #5 at Clearwater or turn off Hwy 97 at 100 Mile House. Murtle Lake is accessed off highway 5 at Blue River. For more details, see description of various areas of the park.
Please note: The rest of Wells Gray Park is not accessible from Mahood Lake – the nearest reservable campground to Wells Gray attractions is North Thompson River Provincial Park.
Maps and Brochures
- Overall Park Map [PDF] (June 2008)
- Park Map – Clearwater/Azure Marine [PDF]
- Lower Clearwater Lake Trails and Campgrounds [PDF]
- Park Map – Corridor Area [PDF]
- Park Map – Backcountry Area [PDF]
- Clearwater/Azure Marine Guide Brochure [PDF]
- Corridor Brochure – English [PDF] or German [PDF]
- Mahood Lake Brochure [PDF]
- Murtle Lake Marine Guide Brochure and Map [PDF] (May 2017)
- Trophy Mountain Brochure [PDF]
- Bear Information Brochure – English and German Version [PDF]
- Park Brochure [PDF]
Nature and Culture
- History: Established November 28, 1939, the park was named for the Honourable Arthur Wellsley Gray, Minister of Lands for British Columbia from 1933 to 1941. As a result of the Kamloops Land and Resources Management Plan, several land additions have been incorporated into Wells Gray Park. These include the Clearwater River Corridor Addition of 3100 ha and the Trophy Mountain addition of 6934 ha, both designated in April 1996.
- Conservation: Wells Gray Provincial Park offers a variety of topographical features. Extinct volcanoes, lava beds, mineral springs and glaciers are just a few of the wondrous natural attractions at the park. A number of spectacular waterfalls also exist, including the famous Helmcken and Dawson Falls. Dense forest cover characterizes the lower elevations, with excellent examples of Douglas-fir, western red cedar and hemlock. Wildlife abound with larger animals, such as the grizzly bear, and smaller animals including beaver, wolverine and timber wolf. A wide variety of waterfowl, although not numerous, can also be found in the park.
- Wildlife: Wells Gray is noted for a wide variety of wildlife, including black and grizzly bear, wolf, cougar, lynx, bobcat, wolverine, moose, deer, mountain goat, caribou, plus a host of smaller mammals such as fisher, marten, mink, weasel, squirrel, etc. The bird checklist notes 219 species.
- Management Planning Information
Management Planning documents for Wells Gray Provincial Park include:
- Wells Gray Master Plan [PDF 1.69MB], approved 1986, that covers all of the original park area.
- Wells Gray Recreation Area Interim Management Statement [PDF 1.35MB], approved in 1991, that provides management direction for previous recreation areas (Clearwater River, Flourmills and Trophy Mountain) that have subsequently been added to the park.
- Management Direction Statement for Clearwater River Corridor [PDF], approved in 1999, that was subsequently added to the park.
- The combination of the above three documents provides approved management direction for all of the present park area.
Activities Available at this Park
- Murtle Lake: Only canoeists and kayakers are allowed on this lake.
- Clearwater/Azure Marine: A number of companies provide guided trips. Contact the Wells Gray Park Information Centre for more information. Canoeists heading for Azure must use a 0.5 km portage.
- Corridor Area: (see under Clearwater/Azure Marine) In addition to the opportunities listed above, this park offers a number of other recreational opportunities including guided canoe tours.
- Mahood Lake: canoeing and kayaking
- Clearwater/Azure Marine: Lakeshore trailheads lead to stunning views of lesser known waterfalls and viewpoints overlooking the lake.
- Corridor Area: Variety of short hikes available.
- Mahood Lake: Easy, short trails to Mahood, Canim, Deception Falls and Whale Lake.
- Spahats Creek: Easy walk to viewing platform provides spectacular views of Spahats Falls and the canyon where Spahats Creek has cut through layers of volcanic rock. Shaden viewing platform provides a view of Clearwater River Corridor.
- Wells Gray Trail Report [PDF] (August 13, 2020)
Trail updates will be posted in the Important Notice section above. For your own safety and for the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
In addtion to the opportunities listed above, this park offers a number of other recreational opportunities, including guided hiking tours.
Horse use is permitted in many areas of the park.
In areas of the park used by those commercial park Use permit holders offering horseback riding opportunities, horseback use is permissible by the general public without additional authorization. These trails include: the Flat Iron, Hemp Creek Canyon Lands, Hoodoo Rim Trail, Green Mountain, White Horse Bluffs, Tote Road, Still water, Majerus, Blackwater, and Bee Farm.
The Green Mountain trail system, in the corridor area is open to horse use.
Companies along the Wells Gray Park Road offer guided horse riding and the park offers a number of other recreational opportunities (including guided horseback tours).
All trails authorized for horse use will be marked by an appropriate sign at the trail heads.
In addition, some other areas in the park are open to horse use through a Letter of Authorization process. These areas include, but are not limited to, Battle Mountain, Table Mountain, and Pyramid Trail to upper Murtle River.
Those wishing to access these areas by horse must contact the Area Supervisor responsible for Wells Gray at the Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops: 250 371-6200 to provide additional details of your request. Letters of Authorization, if issued, will be issued from the regional office and will contain any additional restrictions or requirements necessary in order to access those areas of the park. Letters of Authorization are free of charge.
Pets on Leash
There are backcountry skiing and snowshoeing opportunities in various areas of the park. There are groomed cross-country ski trails in the Majerus Farm area.
Operation of snowmobiles is not permitted in the park unless granted under special exception by a park official.
Facilities Available at this Park
Some facilities and hiking trails in the park are wheelchair-accessible.
- Clearwater/Azure Marine: There is a boat launch located at the end of Wells Gray Park Road, near the southern end of Clearwater Lake. It is paved and gravel maintained.
- Corridor Area: The boat launch is located at the end of Wells Gray Park Road, near the southern end of Clearwater Lake.
- Mahood Lake: There is a paved boat launch. If parking overnight, advise the park operator of your return time.
Cabins / Huts
There are a few rustic public cabins in the park. These facilities are intended for emergency use and are not regularly maintained.
Youth group camping charges per night are $1/person (6+), with a $50 minimum and $150 maximum. Read the Youth Group policy about criteria for youth groups.
Regular group camping charges per night are the base rate for the site, which is $20.00/group site/night, plus $5/adult (16+, minimum charge for 15 adults), plus $1/child (6-15). Children under 6 are free!
- Clearwater/Azure Marine: Campsites closest to the boat launch are popular with day-use visitors for picnic sites.
- Corridor Area: There are 10 picnic/day-use areas, with a number of tables at each. Campfires not permitted in the picnic area.
- Mahood Lake: There is parking for approximately 40 vehicles in the picnic/day-use area. Campfires are not permitted in the picnic area. Water is not provided in theday-use area.
- Spahats Creek: There is parking for approximately 40 vehicles in the day-use area at the Clearwater Valley viewpoint.
Pit or Flush Toilets
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Vehicle Accessible Camping
Clearwater Lake, Falls Creek, and Mahood Lake Frontcountry Campgrounds
Pyramid Frontcountry Campground
- Azure Lake: Access to these sites by boat only. Four camping areas with a total of 21 tent sites.
- Clearwater Lake: Access to these sites by boat only. 12 camping areas with a total of 33 tent sites.
- Mahood Lake: There are three user-maintained lakeshore sites that are accessible only by boat. No fees are collected at these sites.
- Murtle Lake: Access to these sites by canoe only. There are 69 sites. No combustible motors on this lake.
For your safety, even if you have pre-paid your camping fees, please fill out a registration form, with your name and the colour of your canoe or kayak, upon arriving at the park. Please add a copy of your camping permit to the envelope. You also need to carry a copy of the permit on your body, while you are in the park. (If you have pre-paid online, print two copies of your permit and bring them with you).