Jasper, at its most famous, is essentially an advertisement for the outdoors. I mean that as a compliment, because it’s beautiful in a cliche way, but in such an epic way it overcomes that.
A country as big and rugged as Canada is going to have some spectacular waterfalls, and here’s one of the top examples: Athabasca Falls.
The Rocky Mountains are filled with gems, and one of the most popular are these falls dropping down 24 m. A section of the Athabasca River, the water travels from the Columbia Icefield south of Jasper, giving the water a clean, light blue shimmer as it turns into a boiling, white mass and cascades over the edge.
While the falls on their own might not make this list (there are lots of waterfalls in Canada) the sight is capped off by the surrounding area; few places can looks as movie-perfect as Athabasca Falls at the right angle. Picturesque forest surrounds the water while Mt. Kerkeslin stands tall and rocky in the background, like something from a cliché filled film.
Bonus shot, the canyon after the falls is pretty neat, too.
Getting to the falls is easy enough, just off Highway 93 — aka Icefields Parkway — and in the middle of Jasper National Park is a parking lot, filled with tourists. From there it’s only a couple minutes to the falls, so this is one of the most accessible natural sights on this list. From Calgary or Edmonton you’re looking at more than a four-and-a-half-hour drive, one way, so accommodation in the area is ideal.
While it’s not hard to get to, touring the Rockies isn’t cheap. Just to get into the park is about $10 for an adult per day, and then there’s the gas and food (+$80 + $maybe a picnic for the budget’s sake?). It’s unlikely you’ll want to make it a day trip out of Calgary or Edmonton, so accommodation is needed. Altogether, to do it cheap you’re looking at a couple hundred bucks solo (and that’s if you can get a campsite), but it can be paired with other sights, since the area is dense with spectacular views.
TripAdvisor ranks this as the best thing to see in the Jasper region, which is notable, as (I repeat myself) the area is filled with natural awe. It’s also one of the easiest sights in the area. Here’s the official National Park’s website. If you search Athabasca falls you’ll find over a million hits, and I don’t really feel like going through all of them, but there’s probably some good ones in there.
View this post on Instagram
Athabasca falls. Jasper. Alberta. @hbmertz enjoying the views. Being in the mountains is my happy place. Even more, I am so thankful for the friendships that have blossomed in beautiful places like this. Some of my most cherished memories have been exploring and experiencing the world with new and old friends.
Editor’s Notes —This is an updated version of the post I published last year when I took the first swing at this project.