Rearguard Falls Provincial Park
Rearguard Falls Provincial Park is a teeny park, on the road to Jasper, just before you enter Mount Robson Provincial Park. We spent the morning (and the previous day) chasing waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park, so you might think we’d have seen enough waterfalls for the rest of the day. But, when I spotted another waterfall on the map, we couldn’t resist a mini stop off to look at the views and take a peek at Rearguard Falls. There is a car park and a large sign post right next to the highway, so you can’t miss it!
This waterfall is pretty small compared to the epic falls we saw elsewhere, but the scenery around the waterfall is beautiful. Just after we arrived the sun poked out from behind the clouds and this made the water turn into a gorgeous greeny-blue. The other reason you might want to visit here is that you may spot salmons jumping up the waterfall.
Rearguard Falls Map
Rearguard Falls – the basics
Distance from the carpark: 400m
Elevation loss: 30m
Time: 10-15 minutes each way, and then ages to stare at the waterfall!
There are pit toilets, but bring toilet paper.
Dogs are allowed if you keep them on a leash.
How hard is it?
Rearguard Falls Hiking Trail
As you can probably guess from the description above, this isn’t a long hiking trail, it’s more of a taste of hiking. A sort of amuse-bouche-sized walk. This doesn’t mean you should ignore it though! The waterfall in Rearguard Falls Provincial Park is beautiful. Plus, this detour will only take a few minutes, so you’d be mad to drive straight past. We used this as an excuse to stretch our legs from the road trip and to use the toilet.
Rearguard Falls boardwalk
The start of the trail is through trees. You need to walk down a steep slope that leads down to a well-built boardwalk. The boardwalk allows you to walk up close to Rearguard Falls, so you can look right into the bubbling splashing water.
We visited in spring, so the river had swollen from all the melted snow. I have a feeling there might not be quite so much water later in the summer. It may also not always be such a gorgeous colour.
Rearguard Falls Provincial Park
The boardwalk has steps up to a viewpoint. You can’t see the waterfall very well from here, but it will allow you to see great views of the Fraser River and the surrounding geology.
This is the view. Not bad eh?
Watch Chinook Salmon at Rearguard Falls
Apparently, this is a fantastic place to watch chinook salmon leap up the falls. This is the highest the salmon climb on the Fraser River, so they have made a blooming long journey (1200km -ish) to make it this far! The Fraser River is British Columbia’s longest river. It is mad to think this pretty, bright-coloured river is the same as the giant, brown Fraser River down in Vancouver.
Anyway, the boardwalk has a viewing platform right next to the waterfall, so if you visit in August, you’d get a great view of flying fishies!
Rearguard Falls – Be Safe
There were signs near the water asking people to stay on the boardwalk and, not go down closer to the waterfall, but, of course, there were also plenty of people ignoring those signs to climb over the barriers and get closer and take photos. Le sigh. Don’t be that person!
Etiquette for watching the salmon
If you’d like to see salmon run at Rearguard falls you need to come at the end of the summer. We visited the falls in early spring, so we didn’t see any salmon, but Marc and I previously went to watch the salmon run at the appropriately named salmon arm, so I can share the tips we learned back then:
- Don’t wade into the water. The salmon lay their eggs at the edges in the stones, so you might disturb them
- Stay back from the water (shadows can scare off the salmon)
- Keep pets on their leads (don’t let them in the water)
- Don’t litter or throw anything in the water
Any harm you do to the salmon or their eggs can have massive consequences as it can effect the salmon run, and the whole ecosystem in future years. So, please just don’t mess with them.
This is the view just above Rearguard Falls, so this is where the very strongest Chinook Salmon spawn, and then die.
20 thoughts on “Rearguard Falls Provincial Park”
Where I work, there is a river behind the house, and in the early fall we go down and watch the salmon spawning there. There’s a little waterfall and we sat out for hours one night in September just watching them jump up it. It was amazing!
That must have been soooo cool!
We traveled up to Salmon Arm last year to see the sockeye salmon (it was the big year in their four year cycle) but it had been soooo hot, that most of them died further down stream. There were far fewer that we expected.
It was still really cool to see them, just a bit sad to hear how few there were compared to previous years.
Ha ha – an amuse-bouche sized walk indeed! Did you stop at Overlander Falls too?
No! I didn’t spot that one!!
The jewel tones of the water! What a scenic walk it is…then again you have so many of those around every corner. 🙂 xx
There are far fewer with such amazing coloured water! We were really happy to stumble upon it!
The part about the salmon watching is so cool. I would love to witness this one day!
It’s funny isn’t it. I never considered going to watch a salmon run before we moved to Canada, but it is sooooo cool to see them!
Just when I think that there are only some mainstream places in Canada that look so instagrammable, there I came across this post to see that Banff is not the only beautiful place in the country. I always know that Canada is worth visited, and I would definitely go explore the country if only I don’t have a weak passport that require me to do everything irritating to obtain the visa. Plus, the flight ticket is freaking expensive from this part of the world. Hopefully, I could get a chance to see this beauty on my own and meanwhile, thanks a lot for sharing the story and these breathtaking pictures that make me want to go there even more! 🙂
Urgh. It is rubbish to hear that Canada makes it hard for you to come here visa-wise.
I know what you mean about flight prices too. It can be pricey for us to get home to Europe too! 🙁
But yes…oh my goodness Canada is full of places that are not famous at all, that are still incredibly pretty! I hope you’ll be able to explore here at some point!
This looks soooo beautiful! I need to go to Banff and Jasper for like a week, lol. Too many places to explore!!
Each time I go, I realize there is soooo much more I want to see! It’s all good, we’ll never manage to see all the Rockies have to offer!!
That is beautiful, the water is so clear and inviting but at the same time seems as if it could be very cold…
Yes!! I did dip my hand in, and it was freezing! It’s fed from glacial meltwater, so is truly chilly!
Oh wow, what a stunning park. I can see myself hiking here (as I love hiking) and to get away from it all. I havent been to this part of the Canadian rockies and it looks like I missed out. 🙁
This looks like a beautiful fun short hike. I would love to go to the Canadian Rockies. They look so gorgous from the pics.
Watching the Salmon run. This is definitely different, adventure, and calming all at the same time. Lovely pictures and great details. I might have to add this adventure to my travel roster.
Great post! Absolutely love 😊
It is a fantastic view to walk around! I love salmon it would be nice to visit here one day. The picture is fantastic!
This indeed looks like a fantastic place to hike. Oh Canada, you never cease to amaze me.
Rearguard fall is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing precautions as well. These kind of places can get very dangerous if you are not careful.