The Best Waterfalls of Canada's Icefields Parkway
Banff & Jasper National Parks | Alberta, Canada
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The Icefields Parkway is one of the most beautiful highways in the world and it should be top of your road trip travel list. The raw power of water flowing over a cliff edge or cutting through rocks is always a pleasurable sight to behold. This is not an extensive list of all waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway, but these are my favorite Canadian waterfalls and I recommend each stop and hiking in both Maligne Canyon and Johnston Canyon.
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Sunwapta Falls – Icefields Parkway
When you see signs for the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, you need to pull in. There is a short road by the lodge that will take you up to a parking lot that is a short walk to the viewpoint for Sunwapta Falls. There is lots of water flowing over the falls that is fed by the Athabasca Glacier. The main upper falls drops almost 60 feet (18 meters) and goes under the bridge you are likely standing on. My sister and I made our way through the trees down to the top of the falls which was interesting, because the second day we visited the falls, the location we stood the day before was under water. In other words, be very careful if you get close to the falls. We also stayed at and recommend the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, to learn more about the Icefields Parkway, you can read the Ultimate Banff & Jasper Icefields Parkway Road Trip.
Photo of Sunwapta Falls located just off Icefields Parkway
Athabasca Falls – Icefields Parkway
This waterfall stop is packed with tourists and the parking lot is literally right off the Icefields Parkway (highway 93). Make sure you walk around to see more of the area and there are a few cool spots for photos beside the beautiful falls. We lucked out and visited when the lighting on the mountain behind the falls was remarkable. The Athabasca Falls drops about 75 feet and cuts through a beautiful canyon.
Photos of Athabasca Falls just off the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada
Waterfalls of Maligne Canyon – Jasper National Park
In Jasper National Park, you will want to hike through Maligne Canyon. Plenty of waterfalls and crystal-clear blue waters flowing through the canyon. I want to go back to see it all frozen in the winter. There are labeled bridges throughout the hike. You will hike out and back from the parking lot, but there is a lower and upper trail that we took for different views.
Photos of waterfalls in Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park
Bridal Veil & Panther Falls – Icefields Parkway
Bridal Veil Falls can be seen from the Icefields Parkway, but there will be a sign and a small parking lot. The parking lot is on the right-hand side of the highway if you are driving north toward Jasper. Bridal Veil can be seen in the distance across the valley and isn’t over-the-top impressive, but if you listen closely, you will hear another waterfall nearby.
Photos above are Bridal Veil Falls on Icefields Parkway
From the parking lot walk to the left to find light turquoise water flowing through small drops in rock, but you will want to find the trail that you take down to Panther Falls. You can walk behind Panther Falls and it is much more dramatic than Bridal Veil. I use Bridal Veil to tell people how to find Panther Falls. Not sure why this fall isn’t listed on park website, but there are a few parts of the trail with very steep drop offs, but an easy trail for all hiker levels to navigate once you find it.
Photos of Panther Falls including from a walk behind the waterfall
Waterfalls of Johnston Canyon – Banff National Park
The unique walkways in Johnston Canyon alone are worth the hike, so the waterfalls just add to the dramatic landscape. The final photo is a location that can only be found off the beaten trail and you can read about how to find this spot at The Secret Treasure of Johnston Canyon.
Photos of waterfalls in Johnston Canyon
Our sister adventure road trip in 2017 was Banff, Jasper and the Icefields Parkway, we drove down to Glacier National Park in Montana, but unfortunately there were severe wildfires and we literally couldn’t see any of the park on the entire circle around it on our way back to Calgary.
If you enjoyed these waterfalls, you won’t want to miss the Lakes of the Canadian Rockies.
Best Waterfalls of the Icefields Parkway
Banff & Jasper National Parks | Alberta, Canada
The amount of water flowing over Canada's waterfalls is impressive, but do not miss the smaller falls in canyons.