Della Falls: The Best Trail Guide

Igneel Travel
22 Min Read
Photo by Tim Gouw/ Pexels

Della Falls ranks highest among the hearts of Canada, a beautiful waterfall. If you like high cliffs and camping, this is the one for you.

Della Falls Trail and Love Lake are great attractions you can see. The location is in Strathcona Provincial Park, and you can access it using boats only for the trailhead.

In the wild, you will see many different kinds of species of birds and plants. You can expect Black bears and cougars in the forests. The whole place is just magical and brimming with life.

1. A Guide to Della Falls

A hike that is a little challenging but worth the hard work. A waterfall with a spectacular view from all perspectives deserves your time.

The Della Falls hike is approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) round trip and should take you about 5-7 hours to complete, depending on your pace and trail conditions.

The Della Falls and the great central lake along with Mount Rosseau, a big interior mountain, everything is pretty great. The hike is not that tough if you follow the basic guidelines of the hike and the trail and are physically fit because, by the end of the day, this is quite stressful for your body.

Della falls and Love lake - A lifelong dream come true (Dream)

1.1 Great Central Lake (Della Falls Trailhead)

So, the primary question that arises is how you can reach Della Falls; unlike other trails, the access is only through water, so a water taxi is the best option for you.

The views while you row your way out through the water taxi are amazing, and these stunning views make Della Falls and the journey beautiful and special.

The difficulty level of this hike is medium, and if you are trying this for the first time, use the water taxi to the Scout Beach recreation site to minimize the distance a bit(15km).

This place becomes lush green, and you can enjoy Great Central Lake even more during June and July.

16 kilometers is the hiking range before you reach the dazzling Della Falls, and this trail surely make you fall in love with the journey itself. There is also a trailhead sign to ensure you know this is the right spot.

We can divide the journey into different parts, and this hike is a 10-hour round trip after reaching the main campground or point from where you start. There is also a Buttle Lake route; you can check that out, too.

2. The Trailhead

We are going through the great Central Lake. Paddling can be a little bit tedious, but it is your first day, and you are full of energy, so it shouldn’t bother you that much. Ensure the weather is nice because if the rain is still there, it will be difficult and stressful for you to paddle around.

Take the point that you are not allowed to put on fire in certain areas of Strathcona Provincial Park, and there are only a few designated areas where you can do that.

While you are paddling your way through the great central lake, you will find mountains being your good companion, which is incredibly beautiful.

There are points like party points where the land is slightly flat, so you can camp there and relax somewhat before the trailhead. Being said that this is also the point where you can have a campfire so warm and which is legal. So, off to the trailhead.

You can paddle your way through or have a water taxi for yourself; both options are great. If you have the budget and want to reduce time, then sure, it is best that you go for the water taxi, and if you want more adventure, then definitely go with the other options.

3. The Hike Starts

So, you have many options depending on the kind of money and adventure you are looking for. You can even try a helicopter or a water taxi or paddle your way to the trailhead, so whichever means is convenient for you, go for it. It is at the center of Vancouver Island, so you can expect some hardship.

After arriving at the trailhead, the scenery is again mind-blowing. The nature around you surely catches you by surprise; the lush green trees and the sounds of nature are amazing.

The wilderness surrounding you will be quite refreshing, and the starting part might be a little bit steep, but you will not feel it that much.

  • You can see an old railway grade when you are at the start of your journey, when the trail starts, and this railway grade is a nice friend of yours for about 4 kilometers.
  • The companionship of this grade is till Drinkwater Valley, which is close to Della Falls.
  • You can have your first campground around the lakeside for the amazing view and serenity from the lake.

Reaching the trailhead is quite challenging for beginners, but rest assured, even though it is kind of challenging, the adventure is worth it. Margaret Creek is one of the campsites you will come across after this, which is also just before the cable car.

4. Next Stop: Cable Car Crossing

  • After the challenging trailhead for Della Falls, we had a cable car crossing, which helped us move along some distance and gave us the first glimpse of the Della Falls.
  • While you are on the cable car crossing, you can see a little glimpse of the Della falls through the woods, and believe me it is spectacular.
  • A steep climb can be expected, but things start to slide up once you are on the cable car.
  • The view of Della Falls is great; make sure your camera is ready for the experience you are having right now.
  • Do not worry; the cable car is solid and can carry you well.
  • The experience itself is quite wonderful and exciting while you go on this amazing journey on the cable car.

Overall, before you reach Della Falls, again, the whole process is adventurous and wonderful; the cable car crossing is one hell of an experience, and reviews from all around the world state that the cable car experience was the most unique part of their experience so yes it is pretty amazing.

5. Reaching Della Falls

So after the cable car and not taking the turn towards the love lake and everything,  you reach Della Falls, and one thing is for sure, it is really loud.

  • Being Canada’s highest waterfall, Della Falls is quite loud. The overall beauty cannot be compared at all; it was loud and calming to the eyes.
  • The whole experience was phenomenal, along with many adventures with friends and family. The magnificent views of the journey and Della Falls will not disappoint you the least.
  • The path of coming here can also be considered the best and almost equally beautiful than Della Falls.
  • The water coming through the Della Falls is melted from the glaciers, and it is pretty cold, so it is best advised not to try and bathe in this water.
  • There is a manual about Strathcona Provincial Park and a Della Falls trail guide that you can use to know and understand the terrain and how to go on easy on this journey of Della Falls.

6. Different Campgrounds For Della Falls

So you have a main campground for camping. The place is nice, and you can easily set your camp here. Along with setting up your camp, you will also find different kinds of historical artifacts here on the ground.

The campground for Della Falls is quite easily accessible, and when you are planning to go to the base of Della Falls, you can easily take off from here. You can try to camp a little closer to the Della Falls to hear the waterfall at night.

You are in the middle of nature, and it gets really quiet around night time, so it can also be considered an advantage to enjoy a nice sleep with soundproof nature.

Along Drinkwater Creek, there is a small beach where if you want to enjoy wilderness camping, then this is the place where you are not allowed to have a lit campfire.

della falls
Image by mostafa meraji from Pixabay

6.1 Campground for Trail Head

So there is a Redfort Motel in Port Alberni which you might want to use when you start your journey for Della Falls trail.

Port Alberni is the closest town which can be used for supplies and everything, and also you can have a place to rest your head here. The whole place is great, and it takes about 30 minutes if you are on a vehicle from the south end of Great Central Lake.

Strathcona Provincial Park has many places where you can camp and have a nice place to rest, so there is no need to worry about whether accommodation is available.

6.2 The Base of Della Falls

The panorama view of the Della Falls is stunning, along with the wilderness surrounding you and some sights of Black Bears and mountain Goats. You can also find different variety of birds here, which are beautiful and can be easily spotted.

This little ecosystem, created near the base of Della Falls, makes it even more magical when you are close to it. This is the chronology for the campsites:

  • The campsite has no reservation system, so you can come anytime when hiking and get some space.
  • After around 7 and a half kilometers, you will find your first campground with a bear cache and everything. The terrain around here is somewhat smooth so you can expect easy camping.
  • You can expect the next campground before the cable car, just before the 10km mark. No bear cache, just a fire pit and a nice flat land waiting for your camp.
  • The third campground is on the river beach with restrictions like no campfire.
  • The next one has a bear cache and an outhouse. The location is quite nice because from camp you can see Della Falls; of course, it will depend on which site you are on.
  • This one is near to Della Falls, and you can actually go for this one rather than the above-mentioned one because of its distance and also it will be easier for you in some ways. This can be much better than the main campsite.

7. Love Lake Trail

So when you are visiting Della Falls, there is a side trip for you that leads to the “love lake”. The Love Lake trail is a stunning walk, and with wilderness all around, you can expect it to be pretty amazing.

Paradise meadows are the starting point for this trail, and after 2.5 kilometers, you will arrive at your destination. The Love Lake trail continues around the lake, and as Della falls, you can find black bears and mountain goats along with many species of birds, which are again really beautiful.

The terrain can be a bit slippery, so it is better to pack some sturdy shoes, along with that, you should watch out for yourself while you are here because of the terrain.

So better pack your bags and be ready for this amazing trail along with the Della Falls because both are amazing, and you can enjoy so much nature and scenic views with very little effort. Bring your camera and be ready for this amazing trail.

To sum up how to reach here:

  1. After about 1.5 miles, you’ll reach a suspension bridge that crosses over the Callaghan Creek crossings.
  2. Look for a sign pointing the way to Love Lake from the suspension bridge. It’s a short detour off the main trail but well worth it for the incredible views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
  3. After taking in the view from Love Lake, head back to the main trail and continue to Della Falls. The falls are located about 1.5 miles past Love Lake. Take some time to admire the falls and snap a few photos. Don’t forget to enjoy the surrounding scenery, too!
esther tuttle dyjH3YMblpo unsplash
By Esther Tuttle on Unsplash

7.1 Mount Rosseau- The Beauty

You can enjoy the views of Mount Septimus and Mount Rosseau while going to Della Falls. After the cable car, there is this junction while you are on the trail leading to Love Lake.

The climb is a bit steep but provides a view of Mount Rosseau, and if you want to have a nice swim, the lake is available for you. Mount Septimus can also be seen here.

There is Della camp, or Della Falls camp which can be a nice spot to sleep and rest.

8. Some Important and Basic Points For This Hike

Be prepared by knowing the following important and basic points which will enhance your knowledge about the hike.

8.1 Be Aware Of Wildlife

Strathcona Provincial Park is home to various wildlife, including black bears, mountain goats, and cougars.

Try not to leave food trails around, and also make your presence known so that the wildlife which is here is not surprised by your visit and get agitated. You might not wanna surprise a Black Bear.

8.2 Use The Maps

Now you might be bad on the cell phones here because the signals in some regions are weak. Communications, as well as directions, have their limitations.

The maps are your good friends here, and if by any chance you find yourself on a new route, use that map nicely still; there won’t be much problem because there are signs and boards, but make sure to keep the map with you.

8.3 Della Falls Trail Can be Steep and Slippery in Places

Take your time and hike at a pace that feels comfortable for you. If you’re unsure about your abilities or the trail conditions, check with a local park or forest service for more information.

8.4 Stick To The Trail

Sticking to the path is the best way to complete the hike and reach your desired destination efficiently. Also, your impact on the wilderness and nature will be very limited because of your limited path and will greatly benefit the flora and fauna here.

8.5 Pack The Best

Pack everything smartly, from Bug spray to a first aid kit, so it consumes less space and provides maximum benefits to you and your group.

Pack those sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing in case things go south regarding weather or anything; you will be prepared.

8.6 Strathcona Park Has Rules Regarding the Campfire

it is very important that you follow the law and only use campfires where they are legal and do not cause you or the authorities trouble.

9. Frequently Asked Questions

9.1 What is the Best Time of the Year to Hike Della Falls?

The best time is from June or mid-June to September, it is green, and the overall conditions are great, but the weather conditions are a little fickle around here, so keep yourself updated with the weather news report and everything.

9.2 How is Cell Phone Service Along the Della Falls Trail?

Cell phone service can be limited in remote wilderness areas like the one around Della Falls. Visitors should not rely on cell phones for navigation or emergency services and should bring a map, compass, and other navigation tools.

9.3 Are There Any Fees to Access the Della Falls Trail?

Accessing the Della Falls trail is free, but visitors may need to purchase a parking pass if they plan to park near the trailhead. It’s best to check with a local park or forest service for more information.

9.4 What Should I Bring on the Della Falls Hike?

You should bring plenty of water, food, and a first-aid kit to ensure a safe and comfortable hike.

Other important items to bring include sturdy footwear, clothing that is appropriate for the weather, and a backpack to carry essentials. You may also want to bring a camera to capture the stunning views along the way.

9.5 What is the Difficulty Level of the Della Falls Hike?

The Della Falls hike is considered moderately difficult, with steep and potentially slippery sections along the way. Having a good fitness level and being comfortable hiking on uneven terrain is best.

9.6 Are Dogs Allowed on the Della Falls Trail?

Dogs are generally not allowed because of the wilderness and sensitive environment. Still, these rules can alter and before you go in, you can check with the forest services or the main authorities whether or not you are allowed to bring dogs.

10. Conclusion

There are some stressful parts, like some slippery areas, but the whole Della Falls experience is too good. The love lake was beautiful, Della Falls was majestic, and the great central lake and even the Della Falls trail was adventurous and exciting.

You can hike from Buttle Lake through the old-growth forest, which is a different route, but still, everything is almost the same with timings and water taxis.

The Della Falls is beautiful, and so is the surrounding wildlife, so make sure not to miss anything around you. This return trip will surely bring lots and lots of amazing memories.

Last Updated on by Narayani Bhardwaj

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1 Comment
  • This guide not only serves as a practical handbook but also paints a vivid picture of the beauty and challenges that await. I appreciate the emphasis on responsible hiking and preserving the natural environment.

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