Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

4.5 out of 5 stars 34 Reviews

Ice Field Parkway

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  • Part of the Gorge
    Part of the Gorge
    by RavensWing
  • Where the Water Calms Down
    Where the Water Calms Down
    by RavensWing
  • Athabasca falls
    Athabasca falls
    by Twan
  • JanPeter74's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by JanPeter74 Updated Nov 12, 2004

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    Athabasca Falls (central part)

    The Athabasca Falls can be found along the Icefield Parkway, several kilometres north of Jasper townsite, where Hwy 93 and Hwy 93A join.

    At this place an enormous amount of water is forced through a very narrow part in the river. The falls are not extremely high but the sheer force of the water as well as the shape of the falls make this a very spectacular site.

    The Athabasca Falls are popular and very close to the road, so expect to meet lots of fellow tourists on the 5 viewpoints that surround the falls.

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    ATHABASCA FALLS

    by LoriPori Written Nov 1, 2004

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    Athabasca Falls

    Among the most powerful and breathtaking falls in the Rocky Mountains, the ATHABASCA FALLS thunders through a narrow gorge where the walls have been smoothed and potholed by the sheer force of the rushing water carrying sand and rock. Picnic sites are available.

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  • K.Knight's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by K.Knight Written Jul 8, 2004

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    The rush of the falls

    Melting water from the Athabasca Glacier has carved a narrow passageway through the forest and has resulted in a dramatic and noisy waterfall.
    Access is via the Ice Field Parkway, an easy drive south of the Jasper township and this highway offers a large variety of wildlife on the fringes of the road, including bear!. easy walking tracks and bridges make this an enjoyable experience.

    COST......FREE.

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  • windsorgirl's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by windsorgirl Updated Jun 27, 2004

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    Athabasca Falls, Jasper NP

    As you are approaching Jasper from the south along the Icefields Parkway you will see the turn off for the Athabasca Falls. Only 23m high, it's height does not make it impressive, but rather the sheer volume of water that rushes from the Athabasca River. There is a constant mist here, and the power of the rushing water has carved through the hard quartzite rock.

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls - Lower Canyon

    by kymbanm Written Aug 31, 2005

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    Steps to Lower Canyon

    Despite the crowds, the diversion to the falls is worth it, those visitor center folks were so right! But in order to trully feel this place, you have to wander beyond the initial viewpoints near the falls and parking lots. You have to follow the paths away from the people .... to the lower canyon and the beach (yes, I did say beach).

    The steps to the lower canyon are steep, but well maintained ... this route is actually a former waterway from the falls ... worn down over time by the force fo water ...... eventually, the river found another route, and the falls took on their current path ..... for me, walking through the narrow, steep, rock canyon was a highlight ...... it's hard to describe how this walk made me feel (besides winded) ... the path also decends down to a beach ..... ah, much fewer fellow tourists down here ... tee-hee ... perfect!

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  • Hanau93's Profile Photo

    My favourite Falls-Athabasca Falls

    by Hanau93 Updated Nov 18, 2008

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    The Falls
    4 more images

    Just like the SUNWAPTA FALLS the Athabasca Falls originally get their water from the Columbia Icefields.The Falls are classified as a 6 waterfall, with a drop of 60 ft (18 m) and a width of 30 ft (9.1 m).At certain points you can get sprayed as this is how powerful they are. Pouring over a layer of hard quartzite, the falls have cut into the softer limestone beneath, carving intricate features, including potholes and a short canyon and then continue to flow into the Athabasca river again.I found the canyon quite dramatic and then the cliff where they flow into the river again.i could have stayed at the spot forever..There is also a walk down to the river but since it was getting colder we opted not to do so this time..

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Peering into the chasm at Athabasca Falls

    by zrim Written Dec 3, 2003

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    chasm

    Athabasca Falls is a remarkable place. There is not just one viewpoint to see the falls. The river plunges over a series of steps and through chasms and tunnels. It is several acres of fantastic views always accompanied by the thundering roar of falling water. Those who stumble down to the first viewpoint and then return to the parking lot without exploring the falls in full really miss out. It is a place where you could easily spend a couple hours being mesmerized by the combination of water and rock.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Dry Run

    by zrim Written Dec 3, 2003

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    walk the ancient riverbed

    Eons ago the Athabasca River used to pound the walls of this narrow chasm. Then the river shifted course and left this tunnel completely dry. Parks Canada has constructed a trail through the empty chasm so that the visitor can see firsthand the cutting and polishing effect that rushing water has on rock. This trail is very cool and highly recommended.

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    A cauldron of bubbling boiling water

    by zrim Written Dec 3, 2003

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    what brews in this cauldron

    Round about the cauldren go;
    In the poisoned entrails throw:
    Toad that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Sweltered venom, sleeping got
    Boil thou first i' the charmèd pot.


    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Fillet of a fenny snake
    In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
    For a charm of powerful touble,
    Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble


    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf
    Witch's mummy, maw and gulf
    Of the ravined salt sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digged i'the dark,
    Liver of a blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Slivered in the moon's eclipse,
    Noose of Turk, and Tartar's lips
    Finger of birth-strangled babe,
    Ditch-delivered by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab.
    Add thereto a tiger's chaudron
    For the ingredience of our cauldron


    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Cool it with a baboon's blood;
    Then the charm is firm and good.

    --Thanks to William Shakespeare for the quote.

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  • paradisedreamer's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by paradisedreamer Updated Jun 18, 2003

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    The water comes from the Columbia Glacier about 70 kilometers south. They are amongst the most powerful and breathtaking falls in the Rocky Mountains. The scenery is also stunning, I can imagine it can get quite crowded in summer but on a late winter afternoon you can have the place all to yourselves.

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  • RavensWing's Profile Photo

    Blue Ice

    by RavensWing Updated Nov 21, 2013

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    Where the Water Calms Down
    4 more images

    The Athabasca Falls are breathtaking in both the summer and early spring. In the summer you can see the rainbow in the spray of the water as it courses through the gorge. In the early spring the ice almost looks blue. There are paved paths for you to walk around. It's not exactly stroller friendly because there are areas where there are stairs to get to the different viewpoints.

    A Word of Warning!!
    Every couple of years someone dies at Athabasca Falls. Park staff search for and rescue people who fall into the canyon. Usually only the bodies are found.
    Step off the trail and you risk your life! The rocks, covered by spray year round are as slippery as ice. Within minutes of slipping into the water hypothermia takes over - you cannot pull yourself out of the river. Once over the falls death is swift.
    Stay on the trail!

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  • paradisedreamer's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls (2)

    by paradisedreamer Updated Jun 18, 2003

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    The Athabasca River flows through a narrow gorge of hard, quartz-rich sandstone rock, the walls have been smoothed and potholes are created by the sheer force of the rushing water carrying sand and rock. The colour of the water is a bright turquoise. It is a nice area for a picnic and there are toilets and picnic tables.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by Jefie Written May 4, 2005

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    Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

    Athabasca Falls is another great place to stop for a short, pleasurable walk in Jasper National Park. The falls are 23 m high, which is not very high by Canadian Rockies standards, but the size of the river, which flows from the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, makes the falls quite powerful and very impressive.

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  • dinhyen's Profile Photo

    Athabasca Falls

    by dinhyen Updated May 6, 2003

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    Athabasca Falls

    Waterfalls have a hypnotizing effect that draws your attention like fire draws a moth. The spectacle of Athabasca Falls will mesmerize you and leave you in awe. The paved walkways and platforms at key points allow you to indulge in the sights and sounds.

    The trail takes you to a dry water channel. The curvy and multihued layered walls are simply amazing.

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  • Hermanater's Profile Photo

    Take in the Falls

    by Hermanater Updated Jul 19, 2006

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    4 more images

    Along the Icefield hiway there are numerous stops for sight seeing. A few of these are waterfalls. We love waterfalls and stop every chance we get. This one is located along the highway so it is not out of the way. Makes for a nice break from travelling. It is vary popular so there is always a lot of people around.

    Athabasca Falls is not the highest or the widest waterfall in the Canadian Rockies but it is the most powerful. The full width of the Athabasca River is funneled into a three metre gap and over the brink of the falls.

    The water goes through a narrow gorge where the walls have been smoothed by the force of the water. The water left many potholes behind.

    There are picnic sites and cross country ski trails.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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