Niagara Falls seems to get all the glory because of its width and volume, but there is nothing more breathtaking than the beauty of Hunlen Falls, Canada’s highest freefalling waterfall at 401 m (1,316 ft.).
Hunlen Falls are located in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the West Chilcotin region of central British Columbia. Named after the Chilcotin Chief Hana-lin who used to fish and trap near the base of the falls, Hunlen Falls drains out of the Turner Lakes and then journeys to the Pacific Ocean via the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers.
There is no road to Hunlen Falls. The easiest and most spectacular access is a 20 minute flight seeing trip by float plane from the town of Nimpo Lake. This is a flight I have made many times with the folks at Tweedsmuir Air. Find them at Stewart’s Lodge where they have been flying tourists to see the Falls and surrounding Coast Mountains for two generations.
The hike to Hunlen Falls is a steep, forested 78 switchback trail, starting from Highway #20 at the foot of the Bella Coola Hill. The trail is 16.4 km (10 miles) with a vertical raise of 800 m (2,625 ft.).
Whichever approach you take, camp a while at the Turner Lake campground. From there, a 30 minute walk on a good trail takes you to an unfenced viewpoint. Be sure to bring a lunch and spend some time there, for it is one of the most stunning and impressive waterfalls in the country.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC
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