Dinosaurs chasing waterfalls—yep, you’re in Tumbler Ridge
Take a walk on the wild side—where dinosaurs used to roam
Tumbler Ridge is located in the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Many outstanding waterfalls are easily accessible by hiking a few kilometres or longer, and all are worth the effort.
Joy McKay, program co-ordinator for the District of Tumbler Ridge, said there’s no doubt the community lives up to its nickname: Waterfall Capital of the North. “Kinuseo Falls is a huge tourist attraction,” said McKay. “It is higher than Niagara Falls and is located in Monkman Pass, just south of Tumbler Ridge.”
At 60 metres high, this natural wonder is an unbelievable sight on the Murray River in Monkman Provincial Park. A short, wheelchair-accessible trail leads from the parking lot to a wide viewpoint at the brink of the falls. Visitors can also take a 1.5-kilometre easy hike to an upper lookout and then down through the forest to view the falls from downstream.
Directions: Take Highway 52 South (Boundary Road) out of town and after 12.7 kilometres turn right at the Quintette Mine turnoff. Drive 50 kilometres on the Murray Road to the Monkman Park entrance. The gravel road past the mine plant site can be rough at times, so give yourself lots of time and enjoy the scenery. Once inside Monkman Park, you are almost there; look for the Kinuseo Falls side road on your right.
A short walk from the parking lot leads to a viewing platform with views of the river upstream and downstream.
The trailhead from the parking lot offers a short, narrow hike to an upper viewpoint with great photo opportunities. A bench marks the end of the maintained trail, with a spectacular side view of the falls and river downstream.
Whether you are interested in taking a short hike to view the Bullmoose Marshes or following the designated trails leading to awe-inspiring waterfalls, there are trails to suit you. Take a short stroll in search of outstanding views or stretch yourself over a more difficult route such as Bergeron Cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for more than 200 species of birds in this region.
Quality Falls is close to Tumbler Ridge at the end of a short hike. The trail is a well-maintained 30-minute walk through a spruce forest, descending to a viewpoint above the falls. From there a short, steeper section can be easily navigated down to the creek.
Directions: The parking lot is well signed, just six kilometres out of town on Highway 52 (Heritage Highway) north towards Dawson Creek.
Flatbed Falls is another picturesque little waterfall, measuring in at only four metres high, with a trailhead just a kilometre out of Tumbler Ridge on Highway 52 South.
The walk down to the falls is along a short, steep gravel path that passes a log shelter and a wetland with several beaver dams. The trail ends at the top of the falls and there is a side trail that hikers can access to walk down to the creek bed below the falls.
Hobby photographer Larry Erlendson has shot photos of the area many times. “The return walk up will leave most people huffing and puffing,” said Erlendson, “but it beats the heck out of your gym StairMaster.”
“This is another location that children will enjoy," he said. "If they are tempted to jump from above the falls into the pool, please make sure to check the pool depth first, and never dive. You might be able to get some great action shots from beside and below the falls.”
Flatbed and Cabin Pool track sites
While the town of Tumbler Ridge is only 35 years old, its history dates back 230 million years to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. However, it wasn’t until 2000—when two boys were tubing down Flatbed Creek near Tumbler Ridge—that a dinosaur trackway was discovered.
Since then, more than 700 dinosaur bones have been found. In 2003, the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) was established, and the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery opened in 2007. Here, visitors can see numerous displays of fossils collected from around the region.
“Exploring the original track sites is now easily accessible, thanks to the local Wolverine Nordic & Mountain Society, a local hiking group, who built a trail to the tracks,” said Lisa Buckley, curator and collections manager of the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery.
The dinosaur trackways can be viewed by taking a walking tour along the Flathead Pools Hiking Trail near Tumbler Ridge. Cabin Pool, the first pool that hikers will come across on the trail, has almost 200 dinosaur footprints—the largest concentration of dinosaur footprints in B.C.
Kelly Bryan, the community development officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge, said the discovery of dinosaur bones in the area and the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery itself are important to the community.
“Paleontological discoveries taking place in the region are turning Tumbler Ridge into a Shangri-La for adventure enthusiasts,” said Bryan, “combining great outdoor recreation opportunities with an immersive dinosaur experience.”