Canoeing in Wells Gray Park
Wells Gray Park is well known for the ideal canoeing opportunities, possibly among the best canoeing in BC. Clearwater and Azure Lake are accessible from Clearwater, while Murtle Lake is accessed via Blue River. Each lake has its unique qualities and canoeing experiences, but all of these areas share the same incredible beauty and access to nature. Read on below to find out more.
Clearwater and Azure Lake
Clearwater and Azure Lake are located right at the end of the Clearwater Valley Road – the main road accessing the park. It’s ideal for visitors who have a short time to spend in Wells Gray Park, but still want to experience the quintessential Canadian pastime. You can rent a canoe and all your equipment from Clearwater Lake Tours, pack a lunch, and enjoy Clearwater Lake for a few hours – or a few days! On a longer trip, it is possible to make the portage from Clearwater to Azure Lake and experience an area relatively few people visit.
Both Clearwater and Azure Lake offer family friendly camping. There are several camping areas located throughout the two lakes, each with outhouses and picnic tables, bear proof food caches, and fire rings. All campsites are patrolled and maintained on a daily basis.
The Clearwater and Azure Portage
The two lakes are linked by a fairly fast flowing stream. A portage route is available to avoid paddling upstream. The trail is about 500m, rocky with several canoe rests along the way. Just a quick note, there are stair sets and lots of rocks along the way. Also, avoid paddling in the middle of the stream – not only is the flow the strongest in the middle, but powerboats heading up or down the stream will find it hard to avoid you.
Drop by the information center to pick up your free Marine and Park Map
Did you know that Murtle Lake is the largest canoe/paddle only lake in the world! Yes, that’s true – you don’t have to avoid powerboats or hear them on Murtle Lake, except for the single Park Ranger boat.
Murtle Lake is accessed via Blue River – the Information Center staff can provide you with directions. There is also a portage of about 2.5km to access the lake itself. The trail is in good conditions all the way to the lake, bar a few slopes. A canoe cart is a great asset – just remember that if you use a canoe cart you must lock it up. There are provisions made for this, however you need to bring your own lock and chain to do so.
The Lake boasts over 100km of shore line and is “divided” into a North Arm and a West Arm. The West Arm of the lake is known for its white sandy beaches and open scenery. Its also generally the busiest, but well worth exploring. The North Arm has high dramatic country due to the mountainous topography. Here is also a great place to watch wildlife because of the large meadows to be found.
Campsites have picnic tables, fire rings, bear caches and outhouses at each campsite.
Need Equipment, or a guided trip?
Clearwater & Azure Lake:
Equipment/Canoe Rentals & Water Taxi:
Canoes and equipment: