Outdoor enthusiast pens new guidebook on family-friendly waterfall hikes in B.C.

·3 min read
Margaret Falls near Salmon Arm, B.C., is one of the 100 waterfalls featured in a new hiking book by outdoor adventurer Steve Tersmette. (Steve Tersmette - image credit)
Margaret Falls near Salmon Arm, B.C., is one of the 100 waterfalls featured in a new hiking book by outdoor adventurer Steve Tersmette. (Steve Tersmette - image credit)

It doesn't need to take several hours of hiking to enjoy many of the spectacular waterfalls in British Columbia, says a West Kootenay outdoor enthusiast in his first book about the cascading water features.

Waterfall Hikes in Southern British Columbia will be published next month. In it, Steve Tersmette provides hiking directions to more than 100 waterfalls across the southern half of the province. Many of them are suitable for families with young children who may not be capable of longer walks.

"I was looking for a really family-friendly hiking book, [but] a lot of our hiking guides currently in publication are intended for backpacking or longer-day hikes," Tersmette told Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South. "90 per cent of the hikes in this book are two hours or less as a round trip."

Tersmette has been living in Kimberley, B.C., since 2006. He grew up backpacking with his father in the Canadian Rockies, and he now actively volunteers with the East Kootenay Climbing Association.

He says there's something captivating about waterfalls that motivated him to write the book.

'They're hypnotic'

"I've been hiking since I was a little kid, and I know that I always lost my mind driving through the Rogers Pass [through the Selkirk Mountains]," he said. "You'd be looking out the window and [the] waterfall would be on the side of the highway and everyone would [be like] 'Oh, look, look, look! A waterfall!'"

Steve Tersmette says there's something captivating about waterfalls that motivated him to write his guidebook.
Steve Tersmette says there's something captivating about waterfalls that motivated him to write his guidebook.(Submitted by Steve Tersmette)

"They're hypnotic. There's a little bit of magic there ... not just for kids but adults too," he added.

Tersmette says it took him several years to visit all the waterfalls introduced in his guidebook. He took his children, who were six and eight at the time, on half of the adventures.

One of his favourites is Margaret Falls in Herald Provincial Park near Salmon Arm, which he says can be accessed by just a 15 minute walk.

"You walk through this narrow, dark little canyon and there's all these built wooden bridges that crisscross over the creek, and you get to the back and you're standing on the catwalk," Tersmette said.

"You don't see the waterfall until you're on this catwalk over the creek, and you turn the corner and all of a sudden, you've got this gorgeous cascade tucked in."

Tulip Falls near Castlegar, B.C., is one of Tersmette's favourite waterfalls.
Tulip Falls near Castlegar, B.C., is one of Tersmette's favourite waterfalls.(Steve Tersmette)

Tersmette also recommends Tulip Falls in Syringa Provincial Park near Castlegar — which he says is only five minutes from the parking lot — and for a more substantial endeavour, Twin Falls in Yoho National Park, which takes about three hours of walking to reach.

For parents bringing their kids along, Tersmette has some tips to keep them motivated.

"You can get a lot done with a bag of candies and the promise of ice creams," he said.

Twin Falls in Yoho National Park is a bit more challenging for family hikers, requiring about three hours of walking from the parking lot.
Twin Falls in Yoho National Park is a bit more challenging for family hikers, requiring about three hours of walking from the parking lot. (Steve Tersmette)

Tap the link below to hear Steve Tersmette's interview on Daybreak South: