Sunday, June 18, 2023

Elk Falls

Although many hikes or walks are just a chance to get out and enjoy the outdoors in the natural elements in the area you are visiting, It is nice when you have an attraction to look forward at the end of the trail. Our hike to Elk Falls was one of those, with the anticipation of a spectacular waterfall and a suspension bridge our goal. 

You can always tell when a waterfall is going to be a good one when you start hearing it well before you can see it, and this was very true of Elk Falls. Well before we arrived at the falls we could hear the roar of the falling water. 

Historical photo of the wooden pipes

The trail to the falls leads through typical BC forests with the tall trees we have enjoyed on the previous walks, and across a construction site where old wooden Penstock Intake pipes which once carried water from the lake down to the hydro plant had been replaced with underground modern pipes. Pictures of the original wooden pipes show how impressive they must have been. The trail then entered a heavily wooded area with some huge trees and started sloping down to the waterfall, which although clearly heard was still a long way off. The trail switched back and forth down the hill until we finally reached a viewing area where you could see the falls still a distance away. The trail

Lots of stairs

then became a series of steep metal steps to get down to the top of the gorge where a nice modern steel suspension bridge crossed the gorge. There was a viewing platform before the bridge where the falls could be seen, but the best viewpoint was from the middle of the suspension bridge hanging over the deep gorge where the water plunged down into. When you walk across the bridge to the viewing platform at the other end where you can’t actually see anything you realize that the best views are from the bridge itself. 

The location of this lovely waterfall makes it very difficult to actually get a good view, so the BC Hydro have wisely built the suspension bridge to make viewing safer for the public. The gorge the water lunges into is steep and deep, and apparently tourists have slipped and fallen to their death in the past trying to get a better view of the falls. My Nova Scotian friends will be familiar with this situation in our famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse rocks where the same thing has happened many times. 

Elk Falls Provincial Park surrounding the waterfall has campground and many other hiking trails along the river and through the woods, and once we had our fill of the falls, we did walk a couple of kilometres of the trails, discovering massive trees that survived forest fires leaving them still growing but with blackened hollow insides large enough to walk into. 

Another wonderful adventure in the BC outdoors and no elk actually fell (As far as I know).


  1. I remember those falls! Very cool spot. I think I have a picture of the boys in that same tree! ☺️

  2. Yes, I believe they did get into that tree!