Athabasca Falls was our first waterfall stop on our epic drive along the Icefields Parkway. This gorgeous waterfall is just off the main road, and has its own giant car park and teeny trail. The Athabasca Falls are located where the wide Athabasca river has to squeeze itself through a narrow limestone canyon. The waterfall has a drop of 24m, which doesn’t sound massive (after the 141m drop we saw at Wells Gray Provincial Park), however, there is so much water swooshing through this narrow canyon, that it is still awesome to visit!
Is it possible to get bored of waterfalls? Every waterfall I have visited is unique and they change so much through the seasons, I just love them. Well, if *you* think you get bored of waterfalls, you may not like my blog over the next month or so. I have visited soooo many amazing waterfalls recently that I’ll be creating these mini waterfall filled posts for a while!
Athabasca Falls – the basics
How much time do you need: At least 30 minutes
Facilities: Pit toilets (complete with loo roll)
How to reach Athabasca Falls
This is super easy! Athabasca Falls is around 30 km south of Jasper along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). There is a large sign by the turnoff.
There are a few viewpoints around the waterfall and down to the canyon. Keep walking, as one viewpoint takes right right up beside the waterfall.
My favourite view was this gorgeous view up the canyon, with a peek at the waterfall.
Have you ever seen these small circles of bubbles or algae? I’m not sure what caused them, but it was pretty cool to see polka-dots decorating the river.
Athabasca Falls Hike
The walk around the Athabasca falls from the car park is around 1 km on paved paths. I’m not sure I would call this a hike, it’s more of a mini walk to see various views of the waterfall.
There are paved steps down to the lower part of the Athabasca Falls Canyon where you can see how older waterfalls eroded the surrounding landscape. I will need to pop back and visit, as it was sooo icy that we didn’t want to risk slipping. Let me know in the comments if if you explored this lower section.
Icy Athabasca Falls
The waterfall had started to melt by April, but there was still a huge wall of ice on one side of the drop. You’ll hear water flowing beneath the ice. This is the viewpoint furthest from the car park, right up next to the waterfall.
How Busy is it?
Judging by the amount of parking for buses, I have a feeling Athabasca Falls must be very popular in the summertime. However, we arrived early (8:30 am) in April and there were no other people around to start with. Other tourists started to arrive from around 9 am.
It’s a little strange when you’re just above the waterfall. The river seems pretty calm. You can hear the waterfall, but you can’t actually see it until you get right up close to it. I loved looking at the mountains around the waterfall too.
I hope you like the look of this! It’s a great little stop on the amazing Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff. Our next epic waterfall along this route was Sunwapta Falls.
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