Middle North Saskatchewan Falls or Ci Fuentes is an impressive waterfall that forces it’s way through a slot canyon near the Big Bend of the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies.
This waterfall is not famous. I couldn’t find it listed on the tourist maps, although there is a viewpoint listed at the apex of the Big Bend. We only stopped to investigate because we spotted a waterfall marker on the BRMB Map book for the Rockies. However, although there is no pathway on maps, there IS a clear, easy to follow path to this fabulous waterfall.
Middle North Saskatchewan Falls – the basics
Waterfall details: The North Saskatchewan river flows down from the Saskatchewan Glacier and squeezes through a narrow canyon at Ci Fuentes
Dimensions: 8m drop
Cost: You need a discovery pass to enter Canadian National Parks. Once you have that, it is free.
How much time do you need: Less than 30mins.
Facilities: Just parking on the big bend
Mini hike distance: 1.2 km
Elevation gain: 50m
Good in winter: It must be amazing in winter when the falls are frozen, but the steep climb up the rocks would be hard.
Dogs: It would be hard to most dogs to climb up the steep cliff section.
Middle North Saskatchewan Falls (or Ci Fuentes) Map
There is no map on alltrails, but I recorded our visit, so you can see the way we went below.
Park at the large pullout at the apex of the Big Bend (a big hairpin turn along the Icefields Parkway.) If you look to the left, there is a good view of Sideway falls, a huge waterfall with an 87m drop. The pathway is straight forward towards Big Bend Peak. You can see the obvious trail in the photo above.
North Saskatchewan River
The trail runs alongside the North Saskatchewan river, which was pretty impressive in early August. This river is fed by the Saskatchewan Glacier (that we’d seen on our Parker Ridge hike) so it has a cool blue/grey colour from all the rock flour ground down by the glacier.
Marc walked straight towards the slot canyon, but I loved the flower covered banks of the river, so I climbed up and wandered along up high.
Leave no trace
I feel like I have mentioned this on all my recent posts; You should never feed wildlife in Canada. We met a cute ground squirrel by the river. Despite their sweet, fuzzy faces, resist the cuteness and do not feed the critters. It’s one of the principles of leave no trace.
Where did the river go!?
As you get closer to the hills, the river seems to disappear. Looking from afar, it seems like the trail stops here, but actually it continues up the cliff, where you can peek down into the slot canyon and the crazy rushing water.
This trail is pretty steep, so it takes no time at all for you to be looking down to the North Saskatchewan river and into the narrow canyon.
Middle North Saskatchewan Falls
This is one of those waterfalls that *feels* even more impressive than it looks. All that glacial water has to squeeze through SUCH a narrow gap that it thunders through, and seems to make the air and surrounding rocks vibrate. It’s loud and impressive, but we had the views all to ourselves.
I’m not 100% sure I have the right name for this waterfall. Online maps seem to call this waterfall “Ci Fuentes,” while it is listed as Middle North Saskatchewan Falls on the world waterfall database. Whatever it is called, it’s glorious.
This is the view backwards towards the Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway (after we’d climbed back down.) This may not be a famous stop in the Canadian Rockies, but it is a really impressive, raging waterfall. If you can spare a few minutes as you drive through this area, it is a great place to stop!
Other Waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway
I have a whole post about the hikes and highlights of the Icefields Parkway There are sooo many fabulous waterfalls in this area! I will add more to the map below as I create posts for them. In case you are looking for other waterfall adventures.
Please click on the pins below if you’d like to save the information for later.