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Canada’s 3rd Highest Waterfall – Breathtaking Hunlen Falls in BC

Breathtaking is the only word that can remotely describe the beauty of Hunlen Falls in remote Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the West Chilcotin area of British Columbia.

"Hunlen Falls in a magnificent setting"

Hunlen Falls in a magnificent setting

But almost no one has ever heard of Hunlen Falls – and nor do they realize that these waterfalls are Canada’s third highest – plunging 1,316 feet (401 metres). In fact they are the highest waterfalls in Canada IF you measure as a continuous unbroken drop.

"Hunlen Falls drops from the north end of Turner Lake"

Hunlen Falls drops from the north end of Turner Lake

For comparison’s sake consider Niagara Falls. It turns out they plunge a measly 51 metres (167 feet) – give or take a few feet depending if you’re on the American or Canadian side. Granted their volume is considerably greater.

"The approach to Hunlen Falls"

The approach to Hunlen Falls

The best way to see Hunlen Falls is via floatplane. It’s a twenty minute flight from Nimpo Lake. If you have time, you can land on Turner Lake and take the one kilometer trail to the lookout.

View from the plane of Hunlen Falls

Topography of the Hunlen Falls area

"Part of the Turner Lake Chain above and the lake just above Hunlen Falls"

Beautiful Turner Lake above Hunlen Falls

"It looks so calm above the falls"

It looks so calm above the falls

Alternatively you can hike to Hunlen Falls. But take a look at the photos and can see how heavily treed the area is. That means there isn’t much in the way of a view until you reach the falls. That’s not my favourite type of hiking.

But should you still decide to hike to Hunlen Falls here’s what you need to know:

  • The trail is 16.4 kilometres one way with a vertical raise of 800 metres (2625 feet). It’s a great trail if you like counting switchbacks. There are 78 of them.
  • Plan to take 6-9 hours one way so unless you’re a super-fast hiker, you’ll have to backpack into Turner Lake and spend the night. Backcountry fees apply – usually $5 per person per night in cash.
  • The trail starts at the parking lot from an old tote road 12 kilometres in from Highway 20. You need a 4 X 4 vehicle to access it.
  • Stillwater Lake, four kilometres in from the trailhead, is the last source of drinking water before you reach Turner Lake. Fill your water bottles here.
  • There may be a lot of trees down, especially because of deadfalls from a pine bark beetle infestation.
  • This area is famous for its grizzly and black bears. In fact Tweedsmuir Park recommends hiking the first three kilometres of the trail between late morning and early afternoon to avoid them.
  • From Turner Lake you can access several days’ worth of high alpine hiking including the Panorama Loop Trails and the trail to Ptarmigan Lake. Be sure to bring a good map and compass or GPS.
  • As you may have guessed this hike is rated difficult.
"The whole of Hunlen Falls"

The whole of Hunlen Falls

"A closer look at Hunlen Falls"

A closer look at Hunlen Falls

Have you heard of Hunlen Falls or Tweedsmuir Provincial Park for that matter?

Other posts related to this area you might enjoy:

Leigh McAdam

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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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