Our early morning departure from Prince George, BC began with a ride east on Highway 16, approximately 165 kilometres to our destination of Morkill Falls. We marveled at the beauty of our morning, and the excitement of the day to come. The bikes roll forward while light from a beautiful sunrise filters through the rising mist.
The roadsides are lined with large fir trees and snow-capped mountains in each direction. Each new corner brings another desire to stop and explore, new rivers, mountain views and dirt roads calling us to find out where they lead. As we near the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park (approximately 113km east of Prince George), looming cedar trees begin to take over the forest surrounding us. The mountain peaks become closer, multiplying, and each is more entrenched in snow.
We reach our turn on Loos Rd (Crescent Spur Road) and begin our journey down the gravel road towards the falls. Three corners in and the road crests over a hill to a view that opens to green pastures overshadowed by endless mountain tops. The need to stop and allow ourselves a few minutes to fully take in the beauty of the scene in front of us can’t be overlooked. As we give our legs a stretch, the sounds of the breeze moving through the forest backed up by the gurgle of a nearby creek are the only things we hear. Once we have all had a break, the excitement of discovering what is around the next bend soon creeps back into our minds and we jump back into our travels. A few kilometres down into the valley we cross the Fraser River over a one-lane bridge. Massive jagged rock outcroppings rise out of the river’s blue-green hues, a lone elk drinks from the river’s edge, and I find the need to pinch myself becoming a theme.
After crossing the Fraser River, our path begins to chase the Morkill River as it weaves in and out of the landscape for roughly 35 kilometres before reaching the falls. The gravel road is well maintained and allows us to open up a bit. Our landscape continues to enchant us with movie-like scenes, right up to our destination of Morkill Falls.
We pull into the small dirt parking lot and turn off the bikes, then we hear the rush of the falls drowning out any other sounds. The walk from our bikes leads into the forest and we cannot see the falls for the trees, but in less than a minute’s walk, we are approaching a high ledge overlooking a powerful waterfall spanning at least 15 metres wide. The spray from the falls are flowing far past the viewpoint and the water actually sprays up and over the edge of the falls before dropping down to the riverbed 50-60 meters below. Our view down into the riverbed shows two smaller streams flowing down steep densely forested walls all channeling the water back into the Morkill River.
The walking path follows the top edge of the falls and brings us around to the top of the smooth greenish-blue of Morkill River before it becomes the violence of the top of the falls. Our timing is late fall, which has allowed the water flow to be less and exposed a large slab of rock that has been carved into scallop like waves by the flow of the river at higher depths. The rock is completely smooth from nature’s painstaking sanding efforts making the surface slick (watch your step). As we move in for a better view, we spot a hole carved through the rock a metre and a half in diameter and approximately a full meter deep, which water is bubbling through like a boiling pot on the stove.
We explore a few paths in the area leading to different vantage points of the river and the falls themselves. The opportunities to explore the area look endless, but the sun is beginning to set and our campsite reservation at Lasalle Lakes awaits.
Photos and Story written by Bill Campbell
Directions to Morkill Falls
Morkill Falls has attributes of a national park without the crowds, and could easily make a superb base camp for days of adventures. To reach Morkill Falls from Prince George, take highway 16 east for approximately 159 km then turn left on Loos Rd (gravel road from here on). Stay on Loos Rd for 7 kilometres and then turn right onto Morkill Forest Service Rd and follow for about 35 kilometres. There is a small parking lot on the right just before another Morkill river crossing. Park here and follow the short footpath to the falls.