Della Falls

Della Falls may be the crown jewel of the Valley of Trails. It has been called the highest waterfalls in Canada. It depends who you talk to and what your definition of a waterfall is. But no-matter what, it's still pretty incredible, and it's a popular challenge to do.

This is a challenging back-county hike for fit people who can carry as much as 15 kg (40 lbs) on their backs for several hours over very uneven terrain. The trailhead is a dock reaching out into a shallow part of Great Central Lake where the water is nice for swimming. To reach the trailhead you'll need to hire a WATER TAXI service. Nearby you will see a forest of old dead trees, drowned when the dam at the mouth of the lake was built. Past the dock in the trees there is room for a large group of hikers. Ambitious people might even consider camping here and doing the whole trail in a day with day packs.

There are things to see along the way on this popular Vancouver Island hike. The first part of the trek is along an old road built by miners in days gone by. Along the trail you will sometimes see artifacts. The first point of interest is Margaret Creek where there are a few rough campsites and an incredible waterfall. When you reach it you'll be almost half way there. Swim if you dare - the water is never warm.

The road continues and gets steeper and in poorer shape, with several old slides trespassing across it.  The cable car marks the end of the road. By then you will be almost 2/3's of the way there. Beyond the cable car the trail gets much rougher and more incredible. Monster boulders, huge trees and towering cliffs, avalanche chutes and brush fields. After 1.5 km more hiking you'll notice a small campsite on a gravel bar in the river. By then, it's about 3 km to the falls. Before you get to Della Falls you’ll come to a fork in the trail. The right fork takes you up the incredibly steep wall of the valley to a cirque with a little lake in it - Love Lake. It's from Love Lake that the best views of Della Falls can be had. It's a steep, 1.5 hour, 3 km climb with a 675m elevation difference.

About 250 m past the fork is the best camping in the area. The campsite is quite large and can accommodate a group of 10-12. 900 m beyond is the base of Della Falls, because the rock cliffs bend back out of sight. The falls is a series of plunges down the canyon wall. Enjoy – you earned it!

Now if you'd like to visit Della Falls without...earning it...there is a way! Check out a SEAPLANE TOUR.

3 days return (31.2 km return)
Vehicle Access: 
Elevation Gain: 
Trailhead Coordinates: 
49.39181, 125.40838
GPS File: 
GPS Map: 


UPDATE - The BC Wildfire Service has declared a ban on all Category 2 fires.  This means anything larger than a campfire (0.5 meters wide and 0.5 meters high) is presently prohibited. The forest is extra dry this spring so please be very careful!

IMPORTANT – Any of the various trails described on this website might be accessed through, or pass over, privately owned land. It is solely your responsibility as a hiker to ensure that you have the appropriate permission from the landowner before travelling on any privately owned land. When travelling on privately owned land, please be respectful and responsible, to help ensure the landowners future cooperation with hikers.  

When travelling on privately owned forestry roads, make sure to stay aware and follow all posted signs. Do not enter any areas that are marked closed for active logging, and never approach any logging equipment. Island Timberlands kindly provides information on access restrictions and other important info on their BLOG.

Whenever you venture into the wilderness it is important that you make someone aware of your travel plans, in the event that an emergency situation occurs. Always make sure that you bring with you appropriate survival equipment when venturing into the wilderness for even the shortest hikes. Be mindful of the difficulty of individual trails, and do not attempt hikes that are beyond your physically abilities or training. The volunteers, and owners, of the Valley of Trails website provide information about trails and outdoor activities in the Alberni Valley, but in no way assume responsibility or liability whatsoever in regards to your safety when venturing into the wilderness. It is your responsibility to stay safe in the Valley of Trails.