Time: 3-5 hrs
Distance: 5km return
Trail: There and back
Difficulty: Moderate (quite steep)
What to bring: water, snacks, sun protection, hiking sticks, proper shoes, waterproof case for the phone (if hiking to base).
Road conditions: Accessible by car
Other information: Osprey Viewpoint is a 10m walk offering views over Clearwater River. To get to the base of the falls, walk straight past the bridge and follow the trail.
**Depending on the time of year you go (early summer vs late summer) will determine the amount of water flowing from each waterfall**
Hands up if you have ever gone on a hike with doing the bare minimum research for it? And with bare minimum research, I mean looking up what the distance and difficulty were and figured you got this? With this in mind, I’ll let you guess how much research was done for this one. As an avid hiker, anything classified as moderate and under 15km doesn’t phase me. According to AllTrails, Candle Creek and Triple Decker Falls are classified as a moderate, 5km return trip. Easy peasy or so I thought.
I prefer to prepare as much as possible but to give you a little bit of background, Wells Gray Provincial Park ended up being a semi-last-minute adventure (AKA. It wasn’t going to rain, so we decided to go). Nevertheless, we quickly researched ‘Top Waterfalls to See’ and trails that could be completed in the short 2 days we had. It also didn’t help that our internet stopped working just after Spahats Falls (along with all our attempts to do a bit more research).
It can be a challenge finding the trailhead unless you have pinned Candle Creek or Triple Decker Waterfalls on Google Maps or are following a hiking app like AllTrails. There’s a good chance that you are probably going to miss it as there are no signs along the road. There is just a little pull-off into a hidden parking area before (if going towards Clearwater) or after (coming from Clearwater) a bridge with enough spots for about 5 cars.
At the start of the trail, there is a sign warning you about the steepness of the trail and offers poles and sticks to those who need them; however, I would highly recommend bringing your own poles if you have some (click here)for other hiking recommendations). One section even has ropes to help you get down and back up.
Follow the blue dots and signs
The trail is basic to follow, with blue dots leading you all along the way. You will first come across the trail to Triple Decker Falls or you can keep going to Candle Creek Falls. If you veer towards Triple Decker Falls, it’s a 3-minute downhill hike that leads you a little distance from the falls. Depending on the water flow, you can cross the creek and follow the path on the other side to the base.
Triple Decker Falls in late June (left) vs. late July (middle and right)
The fun part starts around the 1km mark as you continue to Candle Creek Falls. If you didn’t enjoy walking downhill yet, you sure will now but with the courtesy of ropes. This is the steepest part of the entire hike and unfortunately, the ropes do not go all the way to the end and the last little section will have to be done yourself.
Using the ropes as support to go down and up
As you’re approaching Candle Creek Falls, take a right at the Osprey Viewpoint sign and walk 10m to get views overlooking the Clearwater River.
View from Osprey Lookout
Reaching the Base
The bridge will be the end of the trail or can cross over and continue following the path to Clearwater River. To get to the base of the falls, instead of crossing the bridge, continue straight where you will see a well-used path. Use caution as the trail becomes slippery. Before your phone/camera becomes too wet, take as many photos as you can.
Candle Creek Falls
In the end, Candle Creek Falls ended up being one of my favourite waterfalls so far. It was well worth the trek to get close and personal with a waterfall.
Looking to explore Wells Gray Provincial Park a little more? Click here on what to see and do.