This time of year, you hear the trickling all around you. As the sun starts to thaw us out in Canmore, Jasper and Banff, and the snow melts, the sound of moving water becomes a sort of white noise in the background.
But it’s got me thinking about one of my favorite mountain man past times in the Canadian Rockies: visiting the many amazing waterfalls here. There’s something about the power of the water rushing over rock, and thinking about how this process is in many ways what created the amazing mountain you see in the Canadian Rockies today that I love.
Here are a couple of my favorite falls in the Canadian Rockies.
I’ll start up in the north, at the top of Jasper National Park, near the Columbia Icefield, in the place known as Sunwapta Falls. There are two waterfalls there. The larger falls crash down a whopping 18 meters! It’s truly a powerful spectacle.
Climb up a little from the main falls, and you’ll find a trail from the large falls that heads upward. Follow that trail, and you’ll find the second waterfall. Though not not as large, it’s still beautiful, and you won’t find nearly as many people up there.
You can get to Sunwapta Falls by an access road off the highway that connects Jasper and Banff National Park, Icefields Highway.
From Sunwapta, I’d suggest check out some falls in Yoho National Park, where you’ll find the amazing Takakkaw Falls.
The Takakkaw Falls are among the tallest in Canada. What’s even cooler is that you can get close enough to the fall’s base water spray gently on your face. The falls originate from meltwater from a glacier, but it’s so far above you that you won’t be able to see it.
To get to these amazing falls, jump on the road from Lake Louise to Yoho. It’s by far the best way to get to the falls, and on the way you’ll get to see several more waterfalls on the cliffs next to you. They’re sort of the opening acts for Takakkaw.
The only problem is with this road is that it isn’t plowed in the winter, so you’ve got to go between June and October. It’s a good excuse to come back, if nothing else.
Last but not least, are the Athabasca Falls. These are also near Jasper. They’re caused by the huge Athabasca River being forced through a narrow gorge, blasting out the other side for quite a show. These ones are great any time of year, even in the winter, when they look like some sort of enormous abstract ice sculpture.
Well that’s it for now. Of course, there’s lots more waterfalls waiting for you all over the Canadian Rockies. You never know when you’ll come across one while on a little hike. I always find these to be the perfect places to take a rest, listen to the water, and think about things bigger than myself or any mountain man.