Want to get away this weekend? Want to feel like you’ve travelled to exotic locations without breaking the bank? Alberta has so many wonderful destinations to view, but waterfalls are on the top of any list. You won’t believe your eyes – or your ears – when you visit these sites.
With most of these Falls located with Alberta Parks/National Parks, you can either camp at the park (cheap/free camping in wilderness parks) or stay at the nearby towns if you want a more cosy accommodation!
1. Waterton Lakes Falls
Waterton Lakes National Park, in the southwest corner of Alberta, is one of the planet’s most distinctive mountain parks and with it come some of the most distinctive waterfalls. Blakiston Falls, Lower Bertha Falls, Lineham Falls, and – one of the most photographed spaces in the park – Cameron Falls will take your breath away. While you’re catching your breath, activities from horseback riding to rock climbing await. Restaurants regularly bring in local bands or experience high tea at the iconic Prince of Wales, overlooking an indescribable view. If you time it right, you can attend the Waterton Wildflower Festival in June or the Waterton Wildlife Festival in September. Take in a shoreline cruise or go paddleboarding for a unique adventure.
2. Lundbreck Falls
The rushing Crowsnest River plunges 12 m down Lundbreck Falls into a deep pool below in a sight that is often compared to Niagra. Watch from the observation deck, then head down into the limestone gorge to take it in from below. While you’re there, visit the surrounding area for history and culture.
Step back into history at Pioneer Place/Kootenai Brown Village to experience pioneer way of life. Pincher Creek’s Lebel Mansion hosts a public art museum, pottery studio, and an annual market each November. No matter the time of year, you’ll find outdoor activities to take part in – fly fishing, kayaking, skiing, and much more. Discover local festivals, outdoor movie nights, and family events all year long.
The falls is also a spectacular site to behold in winter. Combine your waterfall tripping with a ski trip to Castle Mountain Ski Resort!
3. Bow Falls & Johnston Canyon Falls
Movie buffs may find Banff’s Bow Falls familiar – several classic Hollywood films have depicted famous figures being swept over the falls, including Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, and even the Son of Lassie. You’re sure to be more careful than these characters while visiting Bow Fall, though.
Want more excitement, combine your trip to a visit to Johnston canyon and trek to upper and lower falls. See the Johnston creek creating the mighty waterfall from the lower platform and sense the sheer drop of the 30 m canyon from the top-viewing platform. Go ice walking or ice climb at the falls.
There’s no surprise that there is lot to do while in the area – rain, snow, or shine. Get the blood pumping with via ferrata at Mt Norquay, explore National Parks history at Cave and Basin and soak away your worries at Banff Hot Springs.
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4. Elbow Falls
Elbow Falls is a unique set of waterfalls along the Elbow River, just west of Bragg Creek. They’re a great place to spot wildlife, both birds and animals, so make sure you have a camera on hand and a sharp eye on the lookout. They are also in Kananaskis – Alberta’s Mountain Playground.
Whether you’re planning your own weekend getaway or booking a guide to help you out, you won’t run out of things to do in this year round playground. From fine dining with breathtaking views to small cafés filled with locals, there are plenty of places to grab a bite. Travel around on bike, horse, boat, or foot to see all the area has to offer. In the winter, snowshoe, snowmobile, or dogsled your way around.
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Today's featured Canadian location is Elbow Falls, a small set of waterfalls along the Elbow Rivers west of Bragg Creek in Southern Alberta. Explore the Elbow Valley and enjoy a rewarding experience while there. The Elbow Valley attracts hundreds of thousands of visits annually; it is one of the most popular recreational areas in Alberta. #PursuitLife #FlyOverCanada #travelalberta
Other Kananskis Country Falls
The Kananaskis area has plenty of falls, both big and small including many used for ice climbing.
Two other falls –
If you want a child friendly hike- go to Troll Falls in Kananaskis Village. After the first falls (which is a very child friendly hike), there are a number of falls, but the trek is moderately difficult.
Then there is the famous Grotto Creek Canyon, that leads into a narrow canyon with vertical rock walls and a waterfall, which is another popular ice walk and ice climbing place.
5. Crescent Falls
Located on the Bighorn River in west-central Alberta, Crescent Falls is a series of two waterfalls, powerfully moving water from one pool to another. Get a great view from Bighorn Lookout, just 2.5 miles from Highway 11. Play some high tech hide and seek by geocaching in the area, on foot or on horseback. The Falls is located near the David Thompson Highway, making it a great stop for a weekend road trip. Stop at little towns along the Highway, such as Nordegg, find hidden treasures and photo ops, and camping spots that you’ll never want to leave.
The Falls is also not too far from Rocky Mountain House, making it a great weekend getaway. Take part in events such as Christmas Lightup, Parks Day, and the Big Horn Stampede throughout the year. Teach your kids to fish from the dock, see how high you’ll rock climb, or book a reservation for some fine dining, and make it the perfect weekend for whatever you’re in the mood for.
7. Siffleur Falls
Siffleur Falls, nestled in the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve, is famous for the multiple hikes in the area, staging hikers across the open plains and up the gorge. But there’s so much more than that to consider when planning your weekend getaway. Carpeting the side of David Thompson Highway, the ethereal blue coloured Abraham lake caused by glacial silt deposit against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains is a sight to behold and definitely another reason to visit Siffleur Falls.
Whether you’re lacing up your hiking boots, channeling your inner cowboy while horseback riding, getting the adrenaline pumping on a mountain bike, or just relaxing by a mountain stream, you’ll find the perfect way to relax at the David Thompson Resort, located next to the area.
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Lower Siffleur Falls, Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve. . . #canadaday #SplendidCanada #EarthCapture #wildlife_naturee #wondersofourplanet #lifeisoutdoors #Earth_escape #thegreatmountains #pocket_canada #canadagems #unlimitedcanada #canadiancreatives #nomadstories #alberta #landscapephotography #outdoors #explore #explorecanada #explorealberta #travel #outdoorphotography @alberta_parks #discover #enjoy #visit #hike #amazingview #rockymountains #falls #river
8. Icefields Parkway Falls
Every turn of the Icelands Parkway reveals a new view of nature’s splendour. Athabasca Falls is among the most breathtaking of all of Canada’s waterfalls, impressive for volume and force of water. Sunwapta Falls, on the other hand, has the impressive height of 60 feet. The views don’t stop there. Visit the Glacier Skywalk, a glass observation deck 918 feet over the Sunwapta Valley. You’ll know when you arrive at Big Hill and Big Bend – they’re aptly named and you can’t miss them. Can’t believe a mountain can cry? You’ll think twice after visiting the Weeping Wall, where Cirrus Mountain resembles a wall of tears. No road trip will ever be the same after travelling along the Parkway.
9. Castle Falls
There are two different kinds of camping in Castle Provincial Park, home to Castle Falls. There are four formal campgrounds with first come, first served sites. Designated Camping Areas, on the other hand, are free of charge areas where you can find your own place to pitch the tent. If you’re looking for a getaway to really get away from it all, these are the falls to visit. Surround yourself with nature by hiking, biking, and canoeing far away from the sights and sounds of civilization. Visit Beaver Mines Lake – where you can also buy homemade picnic lunches at the general store!
10. Whitemud Falls
This one is for expert canoeists and for those who love whitewater canoeing:
Nestled deep within Whitemud Falls Wildland Provincial Park, the Whitemud Falls, is a 12 metre drop of Clearwater River in a gorge just 5 kms from the interprovincial border with Saskatchewan. Backcountry camping or canoeing give the opportunity to look for rare plants not found anywhere else and cold springs feed the river, so a fresh dip will certainly wake you up in the mornings! It’s a great place for an adventure you’ll never forget.
Access the river from Fort McMurray or from Northern Saskatchewan.
- Canoeing Guide from Clearwater River – Warner Rapids (Saskatchewan Highway 955) to Fort McMurray.
- Upper Clearwater River 1 & 2, Whitemud Falls to Fort McMurray
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Whitemud Falls. . Just west of the Saskatchwan border, these falls are a highlight of the Clearwater River canoe route. We fly right by on our commute between sampling sites… someday I'd like to paddle to them. . Today I asked Koji if we could stop for lunch. He nodded, circled around, and set the helicopter down in the middle of camp… we had a picnic table and everything! #wbeafieldwork #clearwaterriver #whitemudfalls #explorealberta #alberta #northernalberta #waterfall #rapids #whitewater
11. Ram Falls
With the force of the water rushing down it, you’ll hear Ram Falls long before you see it. Within Ram Falls Provincial Park, the falls are dominated on both sides by sheer rock walls, making it picture perfect. There are few formal trails in the park, but you’ll find plenty of places to hike, bike, cross-country ski, snowmobile – however you want to explore. There aren’t a lot of signs around, but you’re sure to find your way with time and find plenty of surprises along the way. If you need some time out of nature (and away from mosquitoes), take a trip into Nordegg to visit Brazeau Colliers Mine Site & Museum, grab a bite at Nordegg Lodge, or book a hotel room for a real bed.
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. Sunrise at Ram River Falls. Waterfall season will soon be returning in Alberta 😁👍 Great accounts tagged in the image above. Shot on @lexarmemory #lexarmemory ======================================= #dolica #explorealberta #bestnatureshot #alberta #artsyheaven #nature #opcmag #ourplanetdaily #leefilters #worldprime #ImagesofCanada #enjoycanada #tourcanada #becausecanada #amazing_longexpo #explorecanada #banff #canada #longexpoelite #exceptional_pictures #canadiancreatives #arteobjetiva #longexpo_addiction #longexposure_shots #ig_shotz_le #master_gallery #amazing_fs #mthrworld #nikonca
12. Kakwa Falls
If you really want to get away from things, consider Kakwa Falls. Located 160 km southwest of Grand Prarie and deep within the Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park, you’ll find Alberta’s tallest waterfall at 30 m high. You’ll have to 4×4 (4 wheel drive is required to get to the view point or an ATV) your way in – this isn’t your grandmother’s waterfall vacation. The park is remote and rugged, 650 square kms of valleys, forests, creeks, lakes and mountains, teeming with birds and animals. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot bear or caribou on your trip. Go hunting or horseback riding for different wildlife experiences, or just relax under the canopy and listen to the sounds of nature lulling you into contentment.
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Upper Kakwa Falls, Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park, Alberta. . . . . #canadaday #EarthCapture #wildlife_naturee #findtheworld #wondersofourplanet #Earth_escape #thegreatmountains #BDAmerica #pocket_canada #canadagems #unlimitedcanada #canadiancreatives @alberta_parks #wildlandprovincialpark #kakwawildlandspark #falls #explore #explorecanada #explorealberta #enjoynature #travel #travelphotography #river #beautiful #scenery #specialplace #landscape #landscapephotography #landscape_captures #backcountry #rainbow
13. Grand Cache Area Falls
Located 4 hrs from Edmonton, Grand Cache and area (+Wilmore Wildnerness Park) has several different waterfalls to visit. Muskeg Falls is on a fairly short hike, but footing can be steep and tricky, so watch your step. Twin Falls, on the other hand, is great for families. Surrounding terrain can change, so you may be doing a little route-finding. Eaton Falls is usually a visitor’s first stop. Keep an eye out for an old moose antler inscribed with Eaton Falls to point the way. While you’re in Grand Cache, take a deep breath and meditate on the Labyrinth Path, walk right through a rock at the Crack of Doom, and see the dramatic rock foundation on horseback at the Sulphur Gates. Enjoy best of Canadian Rockies without the crowds at Wilmore Wildnerness Park with a hike to Pauline Creek Falls.
14. Sheep River Falls
Sheep Falls is not one of Alberta’s most well-known waterfalls, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a trip out there one weekend. You’ll find it near Turner Valley. But there’s more to a trip out here than hiking and looking for animals.
An absolute must (though, admittedly not for minors), is Alberta’s first single malt whiskey craft distillery: Eau Claire Distillery. Generations-old family farms provide grain for this distillery, voted a local treasure. Book a tour, or just show up on the day and see what’s going on to get the inside scoop. Visit Turner Valley Gas Plant and venture into the past of one of the British Empire’s major suppliers and a glimpse into the colourful lives of the workers who were part of this era. The nearby Turner Valley’s relaxed atmosphere is great for families to reconnect and make new memories together.
15. Maligne Canyon
The bright blue colour of Maligne Canyon’s water will make you look twice – it almost doesn’t look real. And within the Canyon, Maligne Canyon Waterfall is there to greet you. There are lots of viewpoints, and if you do decide to do some hiking, the trail from the sixth bridge is a must. If you go in the off-season, the prices of food and accommodation in the area will be cheaper, but the experience no less incredible. There’s nothing like a waterfall in the winter when the water freezes into vertical towers. Climb rocks or ice, canoe in the lake, and find great picnic spots where the kids can play before the meal, and won’t want to leave after.
What else to do – there is the whole Jasper National Park waiting for you!
There are breathtaking and unique locations throughout Alberta; you’ll want to see them all, but it will be hard not to keep going back to places you’ve already been as each one will soon become your favourite. Where will you go next?