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.