The lodge is just outside Wells Gray Park, which means its a good 35km from Clearwater. This means any trip into town for a meal involves a fairly long, if pleasant, drive.
We ate in Clearwater (warned by previous reviewers) and arrived after 9pm, and were given the impression the owner had either almost given up on us arriving at all, or we were keeping him from closing up.
We had been 'upgraded' to a cabin room - which was nice, but fairly basic. We had to request a hairdryer - come on, this is 2012 not 1912! There was no safe, no fridge, no internet (although it works fine if you pay extra). Again, these are basic hotel necessities these days! We couldn't make a cup of tea, as only a coffee machine was provided - we tried, but the resulting drink still tasted of coffee, of course, so was undrinkable.
As was the tap water - a high concentration of iron and minerals means it is pungent, even for just cleaning your teeth - bring bottled water. That's part of the fun of staying somewhere rural.
We had breakfast one morning - its very overpriced for a cold meal of yoghurt, fruit and cake. Didn't bother the next morning and got a cheaper hot meal in Clearwater.
Its a lovely spot, though, and handy for visiting an amazing park - we spent a day with Gy Ovenden who showed us the highlights and introduced us to plants and birds in the area. Wells Gray isn't as well known as some other parks, but is really a hidden gem. We saw numerous bears on our travels to and from Clearwater in the evenings - though they are much more shy of visitors than the bears around Banff and Jasper, who carried on eating at the roadside ignoring the snap of camera shutters.
Well worth a visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Helmcken Falls Lodge was constructed in 1948 as a Hunting Lodge in Wells Gray Park.The Lodge itself now houses our reception and gift shop and also the 110 seat licensed restaurant and lounge with a balcony overlooking the Trophy Mountains.We have 33 rooms in total comprising 25 standard rooms and 8 log cabin rooms.The original heritage cabin, built in 1926 offers 2 self-contained rooms both with Queen beds.All our rooms have ensuite private bathrooms.Our standard rooms have 2 double beds and our log cabin rooms have 2 extra long double beds.We also offer horseback riding and guided canoeing and hiking in Wells Gray Park. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Helmcken Falls Hotel Clearwater