Banff Jasper Collection

Alberta's Canadian Rockies are wild, rugged and infinitely beautiful. With dramatic peaks, sparkling glaciers and pristine lakes, boasting almost every blue hue, Banff and Jasper are a gift to the senses.

There are so many hidden gems to uncover within these national parks, whether you're hiking, biking, or exploring by tour. Banff and Jasper's waterfalls are such a treasure. Ever-changing, their ebb and flow have helped shape landscapes since time immemorial.

There are countless waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies; however, these eight are some of the most wondrous and accessible. Four are located on the scenic Icefields Parkway, linking Jasper and Banff, so a Rocky Mountain road trip is the best way to see them. The list below puts them in order for a roadtrip from Jasper to Banff

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park

Boasting depths of up to 50 metres, Maligne Canyon is the deepest of its kind in Jasper National Park. About 10 minutes from downtown Jasper, the year-round attraction offers visitors many breathtaking viewpoints, hidden along a winding forest trail. Discover a series of six bridges, each displaying a unique vantage of the rushing water, winding through the narrow gorge below. At the fifth bridge, you'll be rewarded with an epic view of the canyon's waterfall. Continue hiking to the sixth bridge, or loop back to the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen, for a delicious smokehouse BBQ lunch. It's equally spectacular here in winter, especially if you join a guided tour to explore the frozen falls from the canyon floor

A small bridge across a deep canyon between conifer trees.

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Considered one of Jasper's landmark natural attractions, Athabasca Falls is located just off the world-famous Icefields Parkway, on Highway 93A, about 30 minutes south of town. The powerful class five waterfall tumbles seven metres down into the canyon it helped carve. Plan to spend some time exploring the one-kilometre interpretive path to learn about the Athabasca River and local flora and fauna. Visit in winter to capture breathtaking shots of the sparkling icy scene.

A view down a rushing river between rocky canyon walls.

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park

Another iconic waterfall found along the Icefields Parkway, 45-minutes south of Jasper, is Sunwapta Falls. Fed by the Athabasca Glacier, this sightseeing treat is comprised of upper and lower waterfalls. The upper falls are the most accessible and can be seen with ease from the viewpoint parking lot. Visit in late spring and summer, during the snowmelt peak, to witness water thundering over the 18-metre drop-off. For the lower falls, you'll have to hike 1.8 km down from the parking lot. It's well worth your time, as the lower site features three waterfalls cascading into the Sunwapta River.

A river rushes between forested hillsides into a misty waterfall.

A tall waterfall crashes across cliffs.

Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park

Originating at the Huntington Glacier, Bridal Veil Falls can be effortlessly enjoyed from a dedicated scenic pullout off the Icefields Parkway. However, for added adventure, follow the trail at the south end of the parking lot down to Panther Falls. Prepare for a series of sharp switchbacks along the short path that leads to the waterfall base. A raincoat and protective camera cover is a good idea as the mist can be intense; however, the payoff is 100 percent worth the required precautions. 

Weeping Wall, Banff National Park 

The aptly named Weeping Wall is a series of water streams pouring down a sheer cliff face above the Icefields Parkway at Cirrus Mountain. Most impressive in May and early June, due to the annual spring snowmelt, this river of tears comprises three main streams. Thrill-seeking ice climbers flock to the wall in winter to scale the frozen cliff face. Watch for the Weeping Wall viewpoint pullout, located about 10 minutes south of Bridal Veil Falls.

A person stands at the foot of a cliff with small waterfalls streaming down.

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park

Hiking Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular activities in Banff National Park. The well-used trail is a relatively easy climb, making it enjoyable for almost every age and fitness ability. Begin by hiking the series of catwalks and bridges that bring you deep into the canyon until you reach the lower falls. You'll find plenty of jaw-dropping viewpoints along the way. Accessing the upper falls requires a little more exertion due to the elevation gain. Once at the top, you'll have an unobstructed view of the canyon's cascading waterfalls.

A family walks across a little bridge over a canyon near a rushing waterfall.

Bow Falls, Banff National Park

Bike or walk along the Bow Falls Trail for picturesque river views. Easily accessed from Central Park in downtown Banff, this gentle paved pathway, on the south side of the river, offers a leisurely way to explore the area's pristine beauty. Plan to make the Bow Falls Viewpoint a stop along your route. Take the stairs to the cliff point lookout to see the rushing waterfall from a different perspective. Does the scene look familiar? It may, as this famous Banff sight has been featured in a handful of Hollywood movies.  

A person walks across rocks near a rushing waterfall.

Cascade Mountain, Banff National Park 

Cascade Waterfall can be seen from the TransCanada Highway between Canmore and Banff. If you want to take a closer look, exit towards Lake Minnewanka and park across from Cascade Ponds. Then it's just a short hike across the Banff airstrip to the base of the trickling falls. Watch for wildlife, as the expansive grassy field is a grazing ground for elk and deer. Cascade Waterfall is also a hotspot for ice climbers throughout the winter months, so keep an eye out next time you're driving through Banff. 

An ice climber ascends a frozen waterfall, secured with ropes.

Tip: If you're craving another scene-stealing waterfall, hop over to Yoho National Park. Takakkaw Falls, located about 40 minutes west of Lake Louise, is the second tallest waterfall in Canada and well worth the drive. 

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