When I first moved to the Okanagan, I was anxious to start exploring my new neighborhood. One of the first places I wanted to visit was Hardy Falls, on the outskirts of Peachland. Although Hardy Falls is a well-known attraction, I had never been and because it’s listed as an “easy” trail, I thought it would be a great place to start. I was disappointed, however, to learn that it was closed, due to major flood damage that occurred in the spring of 2017. Here it was already a year later, and there was still no word on when it would reopen.
All that changed late last month, when it was announced that the trails were open after what ended up being a two-year closure. Still, I hesitated, unsure of whether or not the walk was “easy” as advertised. Then a friend posted pictures on her Face Book page and I was able to ask someone I trust, “How long does it take, really, to walk to the falls.”
“About ten minutes,” she said.
The day was perfect for a walk. The sky was overcast, but there was no rain. The forest and canyon were cool and quiet. Santana and I had arrived quite early, and there were no other cars in the parking area. Mock-orange blossoms were everywhere, cascading down the canyon walls.
Mock-orange Blossoms on Canyon Walls
The air was filled with morning birdsong.
We took our time. The trail has been resurfaced and it’s wide and smooth. There are benches strategically placed along the way to stop and rest, and I made sure to test them all. They’re good, by the way.
Robert Lynd once said, “In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.”
We were pretty quiet.
There are eight bridges that criss-cross Deep Creek on the way to the falls. Two of the bridges were destroyed in the flooding. The replacement bridges were brought in by helicopter this spring. The fact that they were able to do that is kind of impressive, as the canyon walls are steep and close.
We arrived at the falls. The trail has been shortened somewhat, due to a rock slide that occurred in 2009. It was determined that the likelihood of another slide was inevitable and so for reasons of public safety, that section of the trail was permanently closed.
I was delighted to spot an American Dipper splashing and diving in the fast flowing creek and amused myself with trying to capture of photograph of him standing still. They don’t do that very often.
In hindsight, I wish I had taken note of the information provided on the platform at the falls, with regard to the geographical makeup of the area. There are many different types of rock visible, and the canyon was formed in part to some of that rock being softer than the rest. The various rock formations are beautiful, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of moss.
Moss and Blossoms
There was Meadow Buttercup growing along the shore of the creek, and many other wildflowers that I would be seriously challenged to name. There are warning signs for Poison Ivy but as long as you stay on the trail, that isn’t an issue.
This stream is important to spawning Kokanee Salmon, and I fully intend to come back in the fall to watch.
By the time we got back to the Kia, more than an hour had passed. But my friend didn’t lie. It really SHOULD only take ten minutes to walk to the falls. There just wasn’t anywhere I would have rather been.
Foreground to Hardy Falls