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3-PBC-Clearwater-Wells-Gray-Moul-Falls
Moul Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park
(Picture BC photo)

Clearwater

Geography

Clearwater is midway between Kamloops and Mount Robson Provincial Park near Valemount, along Yellowhead Highway 5.

Situated 406m/1,332ft above sea level, Clearwater is surrounded by the Trophy Mountains, which includes Raft Peak (2,451m/8,041ft) and Garnet Peak (2,451m/8,041ft). This mountainous landscape combined with more gently rising slopes creates excellent terrain for hiking. Visitors are drawn to the Clearwater for its close proximity to Wells Gray Provincial Park's 540,000ha/1,334,369ac of amazing wilderness.

Volcanic Activity

Clearwater's geography is a resulted combination of volcanic activity and glacial erosion. The Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field began forming about 3.5 million years ago and continues to expand. One of the best places to view this volcanic field is the summit of Pyramid Mountain. The summit is reached by a moderate 13km/8mi (return) hike.

Geologists believe that Pyramid Mountain developed gradually beneath a thick glacial sheet as magma erupting under the ice was chilled and shattered into tiny fragments. Over time, these fragments accumulated around the vent to form a mound-shaped structure. When layers of soft unstable lava filled the glacial valleys, fast flowing rivers eroded it to form the deep narrow gorges seen throughout Wells Gray Provincial Park. When lava encountered harder rock, waterfalls such as Helmcken Falls were created.

Climate and Weather

The differing geographical terrain bordering Wells Gray Provincial Park is the main reason for climate and weather variation in the Clearwater area. North of the community receives more rain and snow and is quite chilly during the winter months. Moving south into Clearwater, conditions are usually drier and warmer. Summer temperatures average 17°C/63°F, while winter temperatures hover around -8°C/18°F.