Trail Guide: Margaret Falls in Herald Provincial Park, Sunnybrae
Take an easy walk to a spectacular waterfall in Herald Provincial Park.
Margaret Falls is an impressive 90’ tiered waterfall in Herald Provincial Park near Sunnybrae, BC.
The main trail to the waterfall follows Reinecker Creek as it winds through a narrow, scenic canyon. It’s an easy walk and you’ll only be on the trail for 15 minutes before you reach the waterfall. Don’t be fooled by the short walk, though, Margaret Falls is definitely worth a visit! There’s another, more difficult trail, that loops above the waterfall and offers great views of Shuswap Lake.
The area is popular, especially in the summer when people flock to the Shuswap for water activities and camping. Just across the road from the waterfall is the Herald Provincial Park campground.
PS: If you want to explore more local waterfalls, check out this guide to the Okanagan’s waterfalls.
- Difficulty: Main: Easy, Upper: Moderate
- Trail Type: Main: Out-and-back, Upper: Loop
- Length: Main: 1.5 km (see map), Upper: 3.6 km (see map)
- Open Dates: Year-round
- Trailhead: Margaret Falls parking lot
Where is Margaret Falls?
Margaret Falls is located in Herald Provincial Park, just outside of the lakeside community of Sunnybrae. The park is 11 km off the Trans-Canada Highway near Salmon Arm.
The road hugs Shuswap Lake and is a beautiful drive. It’s paved the entire way and is accessible for all types of vehicles; however, it’s a little narrow in a few places.
Directions to the Waterfall
From either Salmon Arm or Kamloops, take Highway 1 to Tappen. Turn off the highway at the Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road intersection; there’s a warning light as well as pull-outs to safely turn here.
Stay on Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road for 11.4 km until you reach Herald Provincial Park. Just past the park sign, you’ll see the Margaret Falls parking lot on your left.
There’s lots of room at the trailhead parking lot. If it’s full or you have a trailer, continue down the road until you reach the Herald day-use parking lot (don’t park on the side of the road). You can easily walk back to the trailhead along the campground’s perimeter fence trail.
What to Expect at Margaret Falls
There are two trails at Margaret Falls: the first is easy and brings you to the majestic waterfall; the second is more difficult and loops above the falls with views of the lake and a small, secondary waterfall.
This is a poplar area and most people visit for the waterfall view trail which can get pretty busy in the summer.
Main Trail to Margaret Falls
1.6 km return, easy
The lower trail at Margaret Falls is the most popular. It’s a super family-friendly hike (I use “hike” loosely) and is doable for most people. You could even bring a wheelchair — it might be a little bumpy, but it’s possible. In the winter, though, the trail gets icy so I recommend wearing microspikes for grip.
From the parking lot, take the trail past the outhouse. It briefly runs next to the road before heading into the forest where you’ll be transported into a lush, magical fairytale landscape! Thanks to the waterfall and creek which run through the narrow canyon, a lot of moisture gets trapped. Moss, ferns, and old growth trees thrive here!
As you make your way to Margaret Falls, you’ll see trees crisscrossing the creek and a few that have been worn smooth from people climbing them over the years. Some of the trees have fallen, but they just add to the charm. The creek can be pretty strong, especially in the spring, so please always watch your kids carefully.
You’ll stroll over three wooden bridges and pass beneath tall rock walls on your way to the waterfall. After a brief incline at the end, you’ll reach Margaret Falls!
Margaret Falls Viewpoint
Margaret Falls is a spectacular waterfall! She’s especially beautiful during spring run-off when water thunders down the narrow canyon, spraying mist and wind everywhere!
As you approach the base of Margaret Falls, a metal platform lets you to walk right up the base of the waterfall. This is a fairly new installation and offers a great view up the falls. It can get quite misty here and the platform is grippy so you don’t slide all over.
Back in the day, there was only a small wooden viewing platform (I’ll include a picture below) and you could swim at the base of the falls or even climb into the little cave behind the water. The new metal platform cuts that all off for safety reasons.
Margaret Falls Upper Trail
3.6 km, moderate
The upper loop at Margaret Falls is an actual hike, not just a nice saunter through the woods like the first trail. There is a small waterfall on a side trail, but you won’t see Margaret Falls. Instead, you’ll see lots of forest and get the occasional glimpse of Shuswap Lake.
Just to warn you, the route on AllTrails is outta whack because it recommends walking through the entire campground and main trail (hint, you don’t actually have to do those parts even though they are nice). Instead, just start with the switchbacks as it loops above Margaret Falls.
The trailhead for the upper loop is near the day-use parking lot. You’ll begin the ascent right away, climbing quickly to the top of the canyon via switchbacks. Once you reach the top of the ridge, you’ll follow it for a little ways before heading downhill towards Reinecker Creek.
Just before crossing the creek, you’ll come to a three-way intersection — take this trail to the small upper waterfall. It’s a short, steep, and difficult detour. When you’re done with that waterfall, return back to the main trail and cross the bridge. The rest of the hike follows an access road back to the main road.
Depending on where you parked, you’ll have to find your way back either along the road or through the campground.
Know Before You Go
Before you head out to Margaret Falls, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The area sometimes floods which closes off sections of the trails. In 2017, the entire trail was washed out and rebuilt by BC Parks. The trail is much more developed than it used to be.
- The trail can get very icy in the winter and boot spikes are recommended.
- Know your bear/cougar safety and carry bear spray as the area is often frequented by wildlife.
- There’s lots of nearby camping at Herald Provincial Park. It’s a popular park and reservations are highly recommended.
Margaret Falls FAQs
The easy, main trail to Margaret Falls is 1.6 km. The upper loop trail is 3.6 km plus extra to return to your vehicle.
Yes, the Margaret Falls trail is open. It closed in 2017 due to flooding and reopened in 2019 thanks to tremendous work by BC Parks.
Margaret Falls is fed by Reinecker Creek when originates in the Shuswap Highlands.