About Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Valley glacier sheared of hard rock to cause a cliff and the glacial stream whittled away rocks to form the canyon. As glacier receded, Athabasca river which originates at the Columbia ice field flowed through this narrow gorge and fell ~ 23m over a cliff causing a class 5 water fall. Athabasca means ‘there are plants one after another’ in Wood Cree. The water of Athabasca river changes according to season depending on the type of rock flour in the water, which reflects different wavelengths of light.
What to do at Athabasca falls?
Things to do at Athabasca Falls
Walk along the interpretive trail along the Athabasca river and learn about the Athabasca river and the water fall.
Hike along the canyon (stay on trail) and marvel at the deep canyon from various lookouts, caused by the flowing water, which still whittles away the rock floor few millimeters each year.
Cross the concrete bridge , climb down the stairs to the bottom of the falls to see the canyon caused by earlier erosion and appreciate the might of flowing water.
Notice the tiny plants, mosses, litchens, trees that have found a foothold in the narrow crevices of the Canyon.
Try to spot the dark grey bird called Canyon sprite as it zooms down into the gorge.
Athabasca Falls Hike
From the parking lot, the Athabasca falls hike is of ~ 1 km long. The trail is paved and there are concrete bridges over the gorge. Walk along the interpretive trail which explains the science of the water colour, how the canyon was formed and flaura & fauna in the area. Cross the bridge and walk down the stairs to see the gorge caused by the river.
Athabasca Falls in Winter
The falls freezes in winter forming stupendous natural ice formations. The pot holes formed by the rushing waters can be seen clearly Hike/Snowshoe along the trail (wear shoes with good grip) . Cross country along the many ski trails (trail map/guide) that start at Athabasca falls.
How to get to Athabasca falls?
Athabasca falls direction / location
The falls is located on Highway 93A, west of Icefields Parkway. It is located ~33 kms from Jasper town and 200 kms from Lake Louise. See the sidebar for Athabasca Falls map. The falls can also be accessed through Highway 93A, if visiting the falls from Mount Edith Cavell. See map tab for directions.
GPS coordinates : 52.666142,-117.884313
In winter, Highway 93A from Athabasca falls to Meeting of waters is closed for setting of ski tracks.
See road conditions/closure – here
How long to see Athabasca falls?
Half an hour to an hour and a half depending on interest.
When can one visit Athabasca falls?
Athabasca falls hours/timing
How much to see Athabasca falls?
Athabasca falls Admission/fees
Included in Banff/Jasper National Park admission.
Adult: $ 9.80; Senior: $ 8.30; Youth: $ 4.90.
Family (upto 7 people in one vehicle): $ 19.60
What about Athabasca falls amenities, parking, accessibility?
Parking available . Picnic tables. Dry toilets.
The falls view is accessible as the trail is paved, but there are few steps further along the trail. Some of the viewpoints are not accessible.
Hi Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel is open year round, except November. Closed on Tuesdays during Winter.
Wapiti, Whistler Campgrounds are located near the falls and Wapiti campground is open during Winter season.
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