No other liquid landmark captures the imagination quite like a waterfall. Perhaps it’s the sound, or the power, or the cascading water droplets reflecting sun spots. Or maybe it’s the reminder that earth’s lifeblood, our own lifeblood, is forever flowing. Whatever the reason, waterfalls are beautiful to behold and luckily, we have many of them near Castlegar to enjoy.
Whether you’re keen to go for a hike to discover a beautiful waterfall tucked among the evergreens, or prefer to just pull over in the car and photograph one, there are a number all within easy driving distance of downtown. Here are our six favourites.
Waterfalls Near Castlegar
Cayuse Creek Waterfall
By far the most fun waterfall near Castlegar is the one at Cayuse Creek, because not only is it pretty to look at, it’s also a lot of fun to slide down! (See video above.) The four-metre-high waterfalls cascades over perfectly smooth rock shaped like a natural water slide that takes you into a beautiful turquoise swimming hole.
Location: You’ll find these falls on the Deer Park FSR, past Tulip Falls. From Castlegar, drive across the bridge to Robson and follow Broadwater Road to Syringa Provincial Park. Just before the park entrance, turn right onto the gravel road and follow this for 10km.
On your way to the Cayuse Creek waterfall and natural waterslide, you’ll pass Tulip Falls, which is a part of Syringa Provincial Park. This beautiful 6-metre waterfall is tucked in a deep, cool, fern and moss-lined canyon that’s an easy five-minute walk from the car park.
Location: As for Cayuse, drive 19-kilometres northwest of Castlegar on Broadwater and then Deer Park roads.
Deer Creek Waterfall
Of all the waterfalls listed here, the Deer Creek Falls are the furthest away from Castlegar (about 20km) but they’re well worth the drive. For one thing, they’re one of the only two-tiered waterfalls located near the city and the beautiful setting makes it the perfect afternoon picnic spot, especially in the summertime when the temperatures are hot. The 20-metre-high falls cascade through a beautiful gorge framed by a lush cedar forest that boasts an easy walking path that is suitable for all ages and abilities.
Location: Follow the Deer Park FSR for 13.5 km (you’ll pass Tulip Falls and Cayuse Creek) and turn right onto Deer Creek FSR. Follow this for 3.5 km then turn left onto a dirt track. Park at the trailhead.
Although not the most aesthetically pleasing waterfall in the region, the Allendale Creek Waterfall is definitely the easiest to access. In fact, you don’t even have to get out of your car to see it. That said, it’s important to note this 25-metre-high waterfall is seasonal and typically dries up in the summer months. The interesting thing about it, though, is you can typically see rock climbers scaling the cliffs to the right of the falls, making for even more visual entertainment.
Location: On Broadwater Road just north of Scotties Marina.
Glade is a tiny community located 20km north of Castlegar that’s accessible via a very short cable ferry ride across the Kootenay River. In fact, the crossing only takes three minutes and the ferry runs on demand from 5am to 2am. The waterfalls here are accessible via a short hike along a thin creek. Don’t let the small size of the stream fool you though, because the waterfalls are large and stunning. Hidden in the midst of a coniferous forest, the 20-metre-high falls are full, loud and awe-inspiring. You can also hike to the top of them to enjoy views of the surrounding area.
Location: Drive north on Hwy 3A, then turn right at the Glade Ferry sign. Cross the Kootenay River on the ferry and take the first right on Glade Road. Park when you reach the creek. Take the trail on the right as it’s easier and brings you to the bottom of the falls.
Little McPhee Waterfall
Of all the waterfalls listed here, Little McPhee is the most challenging to access because it requires a five-kilometre round-trip hike. But it’s definitely worth it, especially in the spring and early summer when the water is really flowing. The Castlegar Parks and Trails society does an excellent job maintaining the trail that is graded as intermediate in difficulty. There is an entire network of trail systems here but follow the directions below (or visit the CPTS website for more details) and you’ll be lead into a cool, moist and green grotto at the base of the 5-metre high falls cascading over a sheer, mossy rock wall.
Location: Drive north on Hwy 3A and, before the Brilliant Bridge, turn right on Ootischenia Road. Follow signs to the golf course and turn left on Corrigan Road, then left on Aaron Road and right on a gravel road with gate before the golf course (note gate closure times) and follow for 4kms, keeping left at the fork. Turn left into the parking lot before the Substation and hike the well-signed Skattebo Reach trail for 2.25km passing the Brilliant Overlook and Doukhobor Waterline trailheads. Turn right at Little McPhee Creek Waterfall trail junction.