Rainbow Falls in Monashee Provincial Park

Rainbow Falls is a beautiful, magnificent waterfall in Monashee Provincial Park and is roughly 1 hour from Cherryville, BC. Accessible only by unpaved, bumpy forest service roads, this waterfall is a great pit-stop if you’re hiking or camping in the area.

Fed by Spectrum Creek directly out of the Monashee Mountains, it’s no surprise Rainbow Falls is stunning all year long. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the trail to the waterfall is short and fairly easy – only 0.5km return which takes roughly 5-10 minutes to hike down.

It might be a long drive in to see Rainbow Falls, but it’s 100% worth it, I swear!

CHERRYVILLE WEATHER

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Trail Details for Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is a must-see stop if you’re visiting Sugar Lake or Spectrum Lake. The hike is short, totaling about 0.5 km return and fairly easy. However, it does descend fairly quickly and has plenty of dirt, roots, and mud along the way.

Rainbow Falls Hike Stats

Rainbow Falls is a fairly easy hike, but I’ve rated it as moderately easy due to the mud, roots, and quick descent. It’s certainly doable for most people, but it is more than a walk in the park.

DifficultyModerately easy
Length~ 0.5 km
Duration10 – 30 minutes
Trail TypeThere-and-back
GPS FilesDownload GPX, JSON, and KML files
TrailheadsParking lot

What to Expect on the Rainbow Falls Trail

At the Rainbow Falls trailhead, there’s a large gravel parking lot with plenty of space. Unlike many provincial park trails, there’s no info boards or signage at the Rainbow Falls trailhead – it’s very much a backcountry trail. The trailhead is directly opposite the parking lot entrance.

After climbing a small embankment off the parking lot, you’ll see the trail head into the forest. A few meters in, another trail branches off to the left – continue straight. There’s a small post marker at this fork that’ll point you in the right direction.

As you head into the forest, the trail starts descending fairly quickly. The trail is narrow and well trodden, but a little rough in places. It can also get pretty muddy. Overall, the trail is very well maintained.

Luckily, there are a few boardwalks along the way that keep you out of the worst mud and water. Plus, they look pretty damn cute surrounded by the lush forest!

The forest is abundantly lush and clearly loves the moisture from the nearby waterfall. The trees grow tall, reaching for the sky and the ferns and underbrush thrive off the humidity. 

Rainbow Falls Viewpoints

As you approach the waterfall, Rainbow Falls thunders just out of sight. When I visited in early summer, the waterfall’s mist created a picturesque, fairytale-esque ambiance through the trees. It was truly spectacular!

There are two viewpoints for Rainbow Falls. 


Lower Waterfall Viewpoint 

The lower viewpoint at Rainbow Falls is the most obvious. When you approach Spectrum Creek, a wooden platform on the edge of the water is clearly visible. Large trees frame the entrance and a small boardwalk bridge brings you to the platform. 

The lower viewpoint juts out over the water and gets quite wet and slick – watch your step! If you have kids or pets, hold them tight because it would be easy for them to slip through the railing.

However, when I visited in early summer 2022 the boardwalk bridge was in disrepair and the viewing platform was closed. Instead, we walked a few feet to the left of the platform and were able to just see the waterfall. I assume, had the platform been open, that we’d have been able to actually see the waterfall.

Upper Waterfall Viewpoint

The best view of Rainbow Falls is from the upper viewing platform. Unlike the lower viewpoint though, this one is easy to overlook. But don’t overlook it, because otherwise you’d really be missing out!

Just before the entrance to the lower platform, there’s a metal sign that reads “Rainbow Falls Viewing Platforms donated by Gormans Bros. Lumber Proudly Working for the Future with BC Parks 2000”. Look past this sign for faint trails that head uphill next to the rocky cliffside. The trail is covered in rocks and roots. 

Follow this trail up and you’ll soon see wooden railings and steps. As you reach the steps, Rainbow Falls’ full power will rush over you. The view of the waterfall is truly spectacular!

From the upper viewpoint, you’ll have a clear, uninterrupted view of the waterfall in all her glory. The waterfall tumbles down roughly 60 feet, thundering over the rocks and letting off a mist that’ll soon have you drenched. 

The platform will be wet and can be a little slippery and muddy. 


Safety Note

I’ve heard that you can walk down to the base of the waterfall, but I have no experience with this. When I visited Rainbow Falls, there was no way it would be safe to approach the creek or waterfall – in fact, it would likely be fatal. 

While I can’t recommend doing this because I have no personal experience, if you do attempt it, only do so when the water is low and the waterfall is smaller (likely the late summer or fall). Obviously, this is at your own risk.

Important: There’s no cell service at Rainbow Falls, always let someone know where you’re going and when to expect you back. Consider bringing a satellite GPS such as the Garmin inReach in case of emergency. 

Directions to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is 44 km from Cherryville, BC – roughly 45 to 60 minutes. The forest service road is unpaved, bumpy, and an active logging road. Watch for logging trucks.

Cherryville is 53 km (45 mins) from Vernon and 141 km (2 hrs) from Nakusp. On the outskirts of Cherryville, find Frank’s General Store (highly recommend visiting the local artisan store there) and take Sugar Lake Road.

The first few kilometers of Sugar Lake Road are paved, but they soon turn to dirt. Stay on Sugar Lake Road. At 24 km you’ll reach Sugar Lake itself – cross the bridge and keep driving on the same road for another 22 km. 

Watch for a small sign pointing to Monashee Provincial Park where you’ll turn right onto Spectrum Creek Road. Stay on this road for 3 km and watch for signs for Rainbow Falls. You’ll turn left onto a narrow road; follow it for 0.5 km until you reach the Rainbow Falls parking lot. 

Tip: If using Google for directions, make sure you set it up before leaving Frank’s General Store because you’ll lose service. Google can bring you most of the way, but it doesn’t recognize the 0.5 km road to the parking lot so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for the small signs. 

FAQs

Rainbow Falls is open 24/7, all year long. However, it’s very difficult to access in the winter when the snow covers the road.

A 4×4 or high clearance vehicle is recommended. The FSR’s conditions can range drastically, so it’s best to use a vehicle that can navigate potholes and potential (light) water on the road.

There’s no cell service at Rainbow Falls. You’ll lose service shortly after leaving Frank’s General Store in Cherryville. Consider bringing a satellite GPS such as the Garmin inReach in case of emergency.

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