Gattling Gorge Trail

Gattling Gorge Trail

Posted on: May 24, 2018 4:54 pm
by: Doug Smith

The Gattling Gorge Trail has been an informal trail in Wells Gray Provincial Park for many years, but it is now signed and the trail is a good one, with some caution.   the route goes right from the Helmcken Falls viewpoints and continues along the rim, offering fine views for  2 km.   When the trail starts to go downhill into the forest, it is more of an informal route with some rougher sections and some deadfall.   the trail ends at the top of Gattling Gorge, a wonderful spot for lunch.

Gattling Gorge Trail

A trailhead sign misspells the name and cautions us about drop-offs.   There are a number of spots right on the edge of cliffs, not suitable for children or pets.

Gattling Gorge SignThere are a few viewpoints of Helmcken Falls at the start of the trail.


Helmcken FallsThe trail follows the rim of the lava cliffs, winding out of Helmcken Canyon to the Clearwater River Canyon.

Helmcken CanyonThe confluence of the Murtle River and the Clearwater River is 400m away, and 150m below us

Murtle- Clearwater Rivers ConfluenceAbout halfway along the trail is a side trail descending steeplu to the bottom of the cliffs.   this is the Helmcken Canyon route.   It is a difficult, unmaintained route along rock slopes and up the shoreline of the river toward the bottom of Helmcken Falls.   Decades ago I did this trail and found the trail to be non-existent for many sections, and the rocks to be very slippery from the mists.   I can’t recommend this long and difficult route.

Foot of Helmcken Falls Trail

The end of the trail is at a rocky point right on Clearwater River where it funnels down a chute and through a narrow canyon.   The video link below

Gattling GorgeAt high water all the force of the river creates standing waves as it funnels through a narrow gorge.

Gattling Gorge

It is 4 km one-way to the Gorge and the route is out-and-back so we get to experience all the views on the way back.

Helmcken FallsWe recommend this trail, but with some reservations.   There are many drop-offs right next to the trail.   The route down would be more difficult in wet conditions.   With some caution, good preparation, and attention to the hazards along the way, though, it is a rewarding route.

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About the Author

Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at:


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