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Flowing from Columbia Icefield’s huge glaciers, Athabasca Falls pour over quarzite rocks into a small canyon. The reason these falls draw in so many visitors has little to do with their height. At 75 feet (23 meters) tall, there are many bigger waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies. Yet, this sudden drop in the Athabasca River makes such an by impressive noise that people come here for the experience as well as the stunning picture it provides.
To get to Athabasca Falls, follow the paved trails that weave around it. These run closely enough to get the best views, yet at a safe distance away from the falls and river. The mist from the Athabasca Falls causes surrounding rocks to be extremely slippery, and the numerous memorials along the water’s edge serve as poignant reminders to stay behind the railings.
You’ll pass through patches of pine forest and can see the vegetation of the meadows, such as wild mushrooms and berries. Some spots along the trails offer wonderful vantage points to take in the mountainous backdrop of the falls. Don’t miss the photo opportunity on the concrete bridge that crosses the water. From here you can really appreciate the power of the river. Interestingly, the color of the water varies depending on the time of year. It can be anything from icy blue to gray to milky white.
As with most landmarks around Jasper, Athabasca Falls is at its busiest in the summer. Try to arrive early in the morning or early in the evening to avoid the crowds. Some like to make the return journey to Jasper by rafting downstream from the bottom of the falls through Class 2 rapids. Book ahead if you plan to do this.
Athabasca Falls are located in the upper regions of the Athabasca River. The site is about 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Jasper. It’s easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway.
Give yourself plenty of time at Athabasca Falls. Here are some of the best things to do:
Want to experience this famed attraction in the most memorable way? Then you can't go past a Columbia Icefields Day Trip from Jasper.
Take a look at our Jasper things to do page to learn about many more activities while you're in the area.
Situated in a national park, this lodge is within a 5-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls are also within 25 miles (40 km).
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Jasper Artists Guild and Jasper Municipal Library are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 13 minutes by foot.
Situated in a national park, this spa resort is steps away from Jasper National Park and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course. Icefields Parkway and Maligne Lake are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Patricia Lake and Maligne Lake are also within 6 mi (10 km). Jasper Station is 13 minutes by foot.
Situated in a national park, this eco-friendly motel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Jasper Information Centre National Historic Site, Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Patricia Lake is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) away. Jasper Station is 8 minutes by foot.
Located near the slopes, this Jasper hotel is situated in the mountains and within 1 mile (2 km) of Jasper Artists Guild, Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Jasper Municipal Library and Jasper Information Centre National Historic Site are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 14 minutes by foot.
Conveniently near to skiing facilities, this Jasper hotel is located in the mountains within 3 miles (5 km) of Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway and Patricia Lake. Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 16 minutes by foot.
Situated in Jasper, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper National Park. Icefields Parkway and Patricia Lake are also within 3 miles (5 km). Jasper Station is 14 minutes by foot.