Canoe Great Central Lake and Hike to Della Falls and Love Lake

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This multi-day hike is a fantastic escape from the norm as you canoe across Great Central Lake and hike through second and old-growth forest to Canada's tallest waterfall; Della Falls with 440 m of cascade. Hiking Mount Septimus allows you to view the falls in their entirety, and swimming in Love Lake provides rejuvenation from the ascent. The trail is an old mining trail, with various historic artifacts lining the way. It is rich in history, beauty, drinkable water, and swimming. This place has absolutely captured my heart and won't give it back!

To get the the Della Falls trail head in Strathcona Park, you must cross Great Central Lake. This is a 45 km journey via either canoe, kayak, or speedboat. We chose to canoe, and it took approximately 9 steady hours. We parked our vehicles just on the edge of Central Lake Road across from Great Central Lake RV Resort & Marina (formerly Ark Resort.) There is a designated pay parking area but nobody bothered us for leaving ours 5 days nearby. Through the resort you can pay for a charter to and from the trail head that costs about $125 per person.

At the trail head there is a rack to put your boats, as well as the first campsite with many spots, an outhouse and a food cache. The trail to the base of Della Falls is a total of 17 km one way with an elevation gain of 350 m. With a light pack and healthy stance, you could get there in 6 hours. We chose to take our time, enjoying these five days to the fullest. There are 5 designated campsites along the way, and a couple of other non-mapped sites.

Throughout the entire length you are following Drinkwater Creek which flows from Della Falls. This water is pristine. We did not use water filters, though of course precaution is always welcome. This creek flows strong like a river, and there are multiple places to swim in the frigid water. You must cross this creek many times, via cable-car and various bridges. Salmon Berries and Wild Blueberries are in healthy supply along the trail as well, from June to early August you will get your vitamin C.

When you reach the falls, there is only one campsite nearby. The others take a bit of a trek. Reaching the base of the falls, you are rewarded with a beautiful mist. 2015 was a tough year of drought, and the falls were very minimal with no spray. Perhaps if you went a few months earlier or chose a year with good snow pack you could witness them in their glory, however you would need to cross little rivulets of water along the trail.

You cannot see the entire waterfall unless you hike Mount Septimus across the valley, which will blow your mind. We hiked to Love Lake situated at 1231 m. It is a 4 km trail with 830 m of elevation gain. With consistent switchbacks, the ascent is a steady workout. You are rewarded with breathtaking views as you stand eye to eye with the mountains Big Interior and Nine Peaks across the way, where diminishing glaciers melt into Della Lake and cascade as Della Falls. Just a bit after this view point you may plunge into the alpine Love Lake during the summer season. I would recommend planning this as one whole day as it is quite strenuous, especially in the heat.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sleeping Equipment
  • Cooking Equipment
  • Swimming Clothes
  • Warm Sleeping Clothes
  • Camera
  • Rope for Food Cache as there are only two at the first and last campsites.
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How to Get There

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Activities:

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

80.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1148.3 Feet

Features:

Forest
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall

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