The Della Falls Trail near Port Alberni leads hikers from the head of Great Central Lake to the base of the highest waterfall in Canada (440 metres high, 1443 feet), a cascade from Della Lake.
This 16 km trail, by way of Drinkwater Creek, is a long hike taking about 7 hours one way, and suitable for intermediate level hikers. The trail was originally built by a trapper, Joe Drinkwater, who also started the Ark Resort. Della Falls is named after his wife.
The trail starts at the lake head's eastern shore at the north western end of the lake. BC Parks has developed a camp ground with a bear-proof cache and a pit toilet. Along the trail, all the suspension bridges have been replaced with timber bridges. Much of the 16 km trail follows an old roadbed left behind from logging and mining early in this century. The first 7 km follows a flat road bed through a mixed second growth forest to Margaret Creek. Once across the bridge at this creek the road bed continues through some old growth forest for 4 km, gently gaining elevation.
Eleven kilometres up the valley a new bridge over a nice gorge crosses Drinkwater Creek and from there the trail continues more roughly to a bridge at 12.5 km. Beyond this bridge the roughest section of the trail passes through a rock slide which pushes you close to the creek. Gaining elevation again, the road bed leads up to the Love Lake trail/Mount Septimus junction at about 15 km. The last kilometre to Della Falls emerges from open old growth forest into an avalanche run-out zone to the base of the falls. Camp fires are permitted, but discouraged.
Map: NTS Map 92F5
Great Central Lake is a 13 km drive west of Port Alberni on Highway 4. Continue on Great Central Lake Road for 8 Km (don't make the mistake of turning towards Sproat Lake) 20 minutes later, around 1km past the Creek Hatchery, you'll arrive at Ark Resort, where you can park (for a fee) and take their water taxi service to the Della Falls Trail head.
The trip will need 3 to 4 days if you're crossing the Great Central Lake by powerboat, and six or more days if you're crossing by canoe.
The Della Falls trail is recommended from late June until mid-September. Any earlier, and you can find yourself hiking through deep snow, and crossing numerous avalanche run-out zones, though the higher water levels associated with the spring melt can make for spectacular viewing of Canada's highest single drop water fall.
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Posted By: StephonMullett
- Mon Jun 04 03:42:10 UTC 2018
CommentHiked this beauty May long weekend 2018. The mosquitoes are horrible while alongside the lake. Once you are past the lake for another 500M they will die off. The path has been cleared for the first 4km or so by a volunteer of fallen trees from the past winters storm. The cable car is MUCH BETTER then years past. I did it in 2017 after labour day weekend. it was really hard for 6 of us. There was snow after the cable car just when you come back down do the river. Be Careful when walking over the snow as by the time we came out it had melted to a point where if you stepped on it you would fall 6ft into the little water below and hurt yourself. when walking over the snow on the trail as it comes and goes be very careful from the melt and voids forming under the snow. Snow at the camp sights but there are places to camp. Hike up to Love lake, avalanche run offs and well more snow.
The trail will hard to see when the leaves start to gain in size. as it was even a little over grown with he snow over it.
Pack out what you pack in!!!
Posted By: kirley
- Sun Mar 07 20:00:45 UTC 2010
I am looking to Hike Della Falls BC on Vancouver Island (outside of Pt Alberni) this summer 2010. I heard a rumour that one of the bridges is in bad shape and until it is repaired you cannot complete the hike. Does anyone know if this is true, or if the bridge has been repaired?
LANSWERS are in this forum: Della Falls , looking to hike it summer 2010, are the bridges all passable?
Posted By: kurtismith
- Thu Aug 13 23:34:47 UTC 2009
QuestionI've been looking at the della Falls Trail, and the Ark resort wants $130 per person for the water taxi. So we've opted to try the Northern Route, can this be done?ANSWERS are in this forum: Della falls Northern Trail.
Posted By: hallison
- Mon Jun 09 05:17:39 UTC 2008
QuestionI am looking into doing the Della Falls hike in a few weeks. Any suggestions of cheap and easy ways to get to the trail head via Great Central Lake? Any good companies to ferry or is it just cheaper to take your own boat and access it by yourself? How long does it take to canoe or kayak to the trail head? Any information on getting to the actual start of the trail would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
AllisonANSWERS are in this forum: Della Falls
Posted By: Park2
- Tue Jan 18 05:14:34 UTC 2005
CommentGPS file is points chosen from Topo map program. Not exact but pretty close.