Panther Falls (& Bridal Veil Falls) – Icefields Parkway

Panther Falls (& Bridal Veil Falls) – Icefields Parkway

Panther Falls is large waterfall cascading into an energetic plunge that is possible to get right up close to. It’s incredible and very wet! You can’t see this waterfall from the road, and it is not listed on most maps/brochures for the Icefields Parkway. While you visit, you’ll also be able to see the long string of Bridal Veil Falls which drops down the mountain on the opposite side of the valley.

You can visit Panther Falls and Bridal Veil Falls both from the same easy to reach trailhead at the top of the Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway. Can you get tired of incredible waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway? I guess lots of people can!? Because even though both of these waterfalls are easy to reach and very impressive, very few people seem to stop for them!

Panther Falls map

We found the trail down to get closer to Bridal Veil Falls was mostly washed away and dangerous in 2021, so you will probably have to make do with viewing Bridal Veil falls from afar. You can see the Strava map of our tracks here.

Panther Falls and Bridal Veil Falls – the basics

Distance: 1.2 km
Elevation gain: -75m (ish)
Time: 30-40 mins
What to bring: Waterproof coats! We also brought bear spray and our cameras.
Facilities: Nothing here. Find loos, cafe and shops at the nearby Columbia Icefields Center.
Dogs: Dog friendly (on a lead)
How hard is it? Super easy to the main viewpoint.
Extra Note: If you scramble up to the (amazing) outcrop/viewpoint, it is slippery with a large vertical drop. Be really careful, especially if you bring children.

Panther Falls and Bridal Veil Falls – Getting started

The trailhead is right at the top of the Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway. There are two places to stop; One is labeled the big bend viewpoint on google maps. The one you want is about 400m further north. It’s not listed on google maps, but there is a large loop car parking area. Find the trailhead at the southeast side of the car park.

The main trail is easy to follow. You hike down some switchbacks next to some impressive cliffs with peek-a-boo views of Bridal Veil Falls through the trees.

Bridal Veil Falls details

There are a few places where you get a pretty decent view of the long, skinny Bridal Veil Falls.
Waterfall Type: Tiered Plunges
Height of drop: 86m
It is fed by the Huntington Glacier on the slopes of Cirrus Mountain, so it is pretty impressive even late in the summertime.

High viewpoint for Panther Falls

Just before you reach the waterfall, there is a faint trail that branches off to the left. It is a bit of a muddy, slide-y scramble, but if you follow it, you’ll reach a rocky outcrop near the top of Panther Falls.

This was my favourite view of the waterfall. Just make sure you bring a waterproof jacket as there is so much spray!

Panther Falls details

Waterfall Type: Veiling Plunge
Height of drop: 86m
The thing that makes Panther Falls so impressive is the way it squeezes through a narrow crack, then swooshes down the rockface until it slams onto a crag that protrudes from the main cliff. This churns up the water into a cloud of spray.

I don’t really recommend this (as Marc got mad at me for getting too close to the edge.) But you can lean forward and peer down right into the spray-filled plunge of Panther Falls.

Main Panther Falls Viewpoint

The regular viewpoint is also pretty fabulous. I love the way the water is so pulverized by hitting the rocks that the shape of the waterfall is constantly changing.

Head down to Nigel Creek?

My map of the area made it look like you can climb down to Nigel Creek for a better view of Bridal Veil Falls. However when we attempted to find that route, the path had mostly been washed away, and it did not look safe. In the end, we turned back and simply hiked back up to the car park.

It’s always fun to see waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway, so having a spot with views of two good’uns was brilliant! I liked seeing the incredible drop of Bridal Veil Falls from afar, but it was Panther Falls that really stole the show. I think this was one of my favourite waterfalls between Jasper and Banff. I know I know; That is a hard thing to choose as there are so many incredible waterfalls. It’s the ease of access, lack of crowds and impressive, ever-changing spray that completely won me over.

Other Waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway

I have a whole post about the hikes and highlights of the Icefields Parkway. The closest is Middle North Saskatchewan Falls (at the bottom of the Big Bend) 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.

Panther Falls and Bridal Veil Falls on the icefields parkway Bridal Veil Falls and Panther Falls on the icefields parkway Bridal Veil falls and Panther Falls Canada

25 thoughts on “Panther Falls (& Bridal Veil Falls) – Icefields Parkway

  1. I love a waterfall adventure! Like you, I’m drawn to those with less crowds and this looks like a great option. Thank you for the reminder about a rain coat, looks like its necessary!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! Yeah, the coat was super helpful. Although I guess on a hot day, it might also be nice to get waterfall soaked!?

  2. I love the fact that you can’t see this from the road. It means it’s a true hidden gem. So glad you warned us about getting wet. What an incredible sight!

    1. These falls are so awesome with the power of their flow. It’s so fun to stand in the spray and feel the power. Good tip to bring a raincoat.

  3. I’ve wondered about those falls and wow are they ever spectacular! Don’t blame you for wanting to peer over the edge – I’d’ve done the same 🙂

    1. I guess next time I need to bring a rope or something so I can get Marc to hold the other end and worry a bit less. That might make it worse though.

  4. I understand why you’d want to lean over the edge to see the eye-catching waterfall but agree with Marc, too dangerous, especially with the wet surface! This looks like a nice hike and I am loving the names of the waterfalls!

    1. Yeah, he was probably right about that. I’ve tried to be more careful since then. It didn’t feel too scary at the time though…

  5. I never get tired of finding waterfalls! The trail looks so pretty which makes it even more rewarding to hike to the falls. I’m definitely like you and would be peering over the edge too!

    1. It didn’t feel *too* dodgy to be honest. It was just when I turned around to see my husband’s horrified face that I felt bad!

  6. I love hiking back to waterfalls. It’s very neat that they’re not very visited, it must have been so relaxing out there listening to the water without other people around. I am always amazing by how much they can spray even if you’re not right next to it!

  7. These are a couple good looking waterfalls! Sometimes it’s nice when people oversaturated with waterfall viewing opportunities – means more fun hikes for you guys!

    1. That is a great way to look at it Ada! I guess you can get bored of anything when you have seen so many good examples so close to each other!

  8. Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said there are a lot of waterfalls in the area! I love that you can see Bridal Veil Falls right from the parking lot, and it’s good to know that a waterproof jacket is needed. The mist makes for some really good pictures too!

    1. Lol yeah there are sooo many! I found a bunch that we didn’t visit after I got home and looked at more maps! 😀

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