Flood Falls and Hell’s Gate (BC Waterfall Road Trip)

One of my goals is to visit as many waterfalls in British Columbia, Canada, as I can. My partner and I decided to take a little road trip to cross a few waterfalls off my list and discover some more on the way. We had less than two weeks so we decided that it would be best if we chose a small area to explore to start. Our trip started in Vancouver, BC. We then made our way along the Highway 1 and then up Highway 97 to Barkerville and back down again. We also did a side tour and stayed four nights in Wells Gray Provincial Park and stayed two nights at the Shuswap Provincial Park.

We chose to visit the waterfalls in the spring because we knew they would be bigger than normal with the winter run off. There was also a chance of there being more waterfalls because smaller ones tend to form near larger ones due to excess ground water and run off. There are also a lot less people on the trails which was nice for us because we wanted to leave the crowds back in the city.

That being said, there are a few unfortunate things about visiting waterfalls in the spring time so sometimes it is good to visit these in the summer or even winter (different views and perspectives every season). A few of the unfortunate things we noticed on our trip were you will see a lot of flood damage due to the high waters and some trails are no longer accessible due to this. Some waterfalls actually disappear because the river water is so high, they get hidden beneath rapids. Some of the waterfalls were sort of a beer colour due to the winter run off. This didn’t bother us because we weren’t swimming in the water.

The biggest disappointed for me was that the water was too high and dangerous to swim beneath the waterfalls. For example, normally, when the water is lower, you can walk behind Moul’s Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park, but I was not able to because the water was far too high and powerful. I love playing in the water no matter how cold it is but even I knew better than to risk my life with some of these.

Instead of cramming our entire trip into one post, I decided to separate it into chunks. The first post will be pictures of Flood Falls and Hell’s Gate Airtram.  

As you near the city of Hope, you’ll notice many waterfalls along the mountain side. We went in the early spring so I believe there were more than usual. Our first stop was Flood Falls just outside of Hope, BC. This waterfall was technically suppose to be on my “Lower Mainland Waterfall Trip” list but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see it twice. It’s not a long hike from the side of the road. It’s easily ten minutes or less and well worth the stop. I feel like it was one of the more elegant looking waterfalls we visited on our trip. I absolutely love water that trickles down rocks like the water at Flood Falls.

Another thing we found ourselves doing on this trip was attempting to identify plants and animals that we were not familiar with. We had a mini library with us in an old milk crate full of identification and reference books! I believe the above photo is of a Wild Columbine flower! I’ve never seen one before. They are beautiful. 

From Flood Falls and Hope, we traveled north along Highway 1. Our next stop was Hell’s Gate. Along the way, we passed through many tunnels and spotted waterfalls on the mountain sides. There were far too many waterfalls to count so instead of adding them to my list, I simply enjoyed them. I am not sure if they are permanent waterfalls or seasonal. 

If you are heading up Highway 1, I do recommend stopping in at Hell’s Gate. It’s a great family roadside stop. We gave ourselves a few hours here because we were not in any hurry. It was well worth it. You ride the Airtram across the river to the other side where there is a fudge factory, candy shop, a restaurant (with amazing vegetarian chili and scones), a gift shop, a little museum, and gold panning. There is a lot of interesting history to learn in the museums and signs posted around the park and if you are lucky, you will see a train pass by while eating your lunch on the balcony of their restaurant.  

View from the Airtram.

Apparently, every October, Hell’s Gate does a pumpkin drop where they allow people to drop their pumpkins from the Airtram in an attempt to hit the targets below. I thought that was a cool idea.
Random drive by shot. I like how it turned out.

Next stop: Spence’s Bridge Waterfall and the Historic Hat Creek Ranch

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