Trail Name: Stitca Falls, Dragon’s Tongue & Osprey Falls Lookout
Distance: 3.1 km
Time: 1.5 hrs
Cell Service: No (Make sure you print this off beforehand!)
Trail: Single track switchback trail
Highlights: A high viewpoint of the Clearwater River Valley and Osprey Falls and a short hike to Stitca Falls and Devil’s Tongue.
To get there: This hike is located north of Clearwater at Clearwater Lake in Wells Grey Provincial Park. Take the Yellowhead Hwy (5) about 120km north from Kamloops. When you arrive at the roundabout in Clearwater, take the 3rd exit to head North on Clearwater Valley Rd. You’ll want to follow this road for about 65kms. At around the 32Km mark, you will pass Helmcken falls and continue onto a fairly well maintained dirt road. Keep going past Falls Creek Campground and you should see a sign for Chain Meadows trail on your right with parking on your left. Park here. Get directions from Google Maps here.
Follow the signs for Chain Meadows across the road and into the forest. The trail starts with some mild switchbacks. After about 10 minutes you should reach the top of the hill and a fork in the trail. The trail to the left heads up to Osprey Falls Lookout and the trail to the right heads down to Stitca Falls and Dragon’s Tongue. We went to the left first and headed up to Osprey Falls Lookout first. This part of the trail ascends up a ridge. At one point, you’ll come to some downed trees from the recent windstorm which blocks what looks like it could be a path. Instead, follow the trail around to the right for another couple of switchbacks before reaching the lookout. The lookout gives a beautiful view of the Clearwater River valley, but Osprey Falls themselves aren’t much of an attraction from this distance as they are a mere 3 meters tall. There is a picnic table at the top for you to take a break or have a snack before heading down. You’ll want to head back to the first junction to reach Stitca Falls and Devil’s Tongue.
Back at the first junction, take the trail signed for Stitca Falls and Dragon’s Tongue. This trail continues another 10 minutes down to a small bridge over the falls. For a better view of the falls, there is a side trail down to the falls right before the bridge on your right. Please be extremely careful as this is not a maintained trail and the rocks can be very slippery. After taking some pictures of the falls, continue across the creek and follow the trail around the corner to check out the rock formation known as Dragon’s Tongue. This is the result of the most recent volcanic activity in Wells Gray Park. After you’ve had your fill, head back to the parking area.
If you’re camping up at Clearwater lake, or are spending the day on the water, this trail is a good one to do. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the drive all the way up to Clearwater lake just to do this trail. If we were to do it again, we would not head up to Osprey Falls Lookout as it is less than spectacular, and instead spend our time at Stitca Falls, exploring around the Dragon’s Tongue, and checking out other trails in the area. If you do check out this trail, make sure you wear a TON of bug spray as the mosquitos are especially bad up at Clearwater Lake. Bring enough water, and consider packing a lunch to eat at the Clearwater Campground day use area. There is a cafe with wifi up at the lake as well. This trail is suitable for dogs, but keep in mind the wildlife that call this area their home. Enjoy the trails and make sure you tag us on Facebook or Instagram if you check out any of these spots!
FALLS CREEK FALLS: From the same parking area as this trail, you can access the Falls Creek Falls. Instead of heading across the road to the trailhead, head in the opposite direction following signs for a naturalist hut/shelter. Follow this down until you see a shelter, and to the left of it, a bridge over the creek. Falls Creek Falls is located right below you. However, from what we could tell, there was no good way to view them, other than from above. But if you want to get another waterfall in for the day, you might as well check it out!