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.
Clearwater and Azure Lake 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 centre to pick up your free Marine Map 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.
Most frequent questions and answers
Stop at the Wells Gray Park Information Centre on your way to the lakes and we can give you a free map of the marine from the information desk. If you would like a more detailed map we also sell waterproof topographical maps.
CLEARWATER LAKE RENTALS:
If you do not have a canoe, you can rent one at Clearwater Lake Tours for $60/day or $50/day if you are taking it for more than one day. This price includes paddles, lifejackets and safety gear. We highly reccomend you book these canoes in advance. Please contact us with the dates you are interested in if you would like to reserve a canoe!
MURTLE LAKE RENTALS:
Renting canoes at Murtle Lake can be done at two locations which are either, right at the lake from Murtle Canoes, or from the Blue River Campgroud.
From Murtle Canoes, you can rent them right at the lake for $50/day. These canoes must be reserved in advance, which you can do online.These canoes have a pick up and drop off time of 11:00 am and includes paddles, lifejackets and safety gear. Murtle Lake Canoes has a two day minimum. The website is http://www.murtlecanoes.com.
Blue River Campground canoes are booked right from the campground in Blue River, and you have to transport them with your own vehicle up the 27km road to the lake, as well as carry it the 2.5km long portage.They do also rent canoe wheels for transport for the portage and provide you with life jackets, paddles and safetly equipment. The website is http://www.bluerivercampground.ca/
Family rate to Rainbow Falls: $490
($22 transport per canoe charge to be added to price).
Taxes to be added to all prices: 5% for guided trips and 12% for all rentals.
Unfortunely, you cannot reserve any of the backcountry campsites on Clearwater Lake. These sites are all first come first serve, though usually this is no problem as many people only canoe for the day!
Yes! There are some great companies that run amazing guided canoe trips on Clearwater Lake.
These companies include:
If you are interested in availability or would like any help arranging a guided canoe trip. Please contact us as we would love to help you arrange it.