Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Jasper, Alberta

By Kay Barbaro
Staff Writer

Of all the not-to-miss sights in Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies (and let’s admit it, there’s a lot of them) one of the best for seeing the power of nature in the park are the Athabasca Falls.

The Athabasca River at sunrise.

The Athabasca River at sunrise.

The 23-metre Athabasca Falls is not very high by Canadian Rockies standards, but the volume of the river is what makes it one of the most powerful in the Rockies. At the falls, the water passes over a layer of hard quartzite.

Over the years, the water has cut into the softer limestone beneath, carving intricate features, including potholes and a short canyon.

The Athabasca River is the largest river system in Jasper, with the enormous Columbia Icefields as its source. In 1810, David Thompson, Canada’s premier map-maker and explorer, plied the Athabasca in search of a viable fur trade route to the Pacific Ocean. Discovering Athabasca Pass in early January 1811, David Thompson’s route helped establish Canada as a country that spans the North American continent.

In 1862, the Overlanders traveled along the Athabasca River headed for the Cariboo Goldrush, followed 30 years later by two national railways. Today one railway and a transcontinental highway follow parts of the river through the park. Recognized for its historical, natural and recreational values, the Athabasca was designated a Canadian heritage river in 1989.

Caution – Mist from the falls covers surrounding rocks with a thin, slippery film of water. For your own safety, do not cross the railings.

Raft the the Banff/Jasper area's most famous river. Great for families, adventurers, stags, staggettes and corporate outings. Book now!

Mountain Bike Arizona!

Tucson Bike Tours

Private Mountain Bike Adventures
Bike the Wild West, on Southern Arizona's most scenic and incredible trails!

Road / Cycling Tours
Road Bike Southern Arizona and discover cycling nirvana with a private bike expedition!


Canadian Rockies Hotels & Activities

Winter Icewalk Tours
in Jasper, Alberta

Join us on the three-hour Maligne Canyon Icewalk, where you will discover frozen waterfalls and elaborate ice caves!

Whitewater Rafting in Jasper, Alberta
Raft the exciting Sunwapta or the Athabasca River, or try the Fraser River in B.C. Jasper whitewater rafting has never been so appealing.

Bask in one of our 43 cozy cabins located between Banff and Lake Louise. Book now!
Download all the Canadian Rockies Vacation Guides for FREE! Learn insider knowledge about the Canadian National Parks. CLICK HERE!
VIEW the 20 latest Canadian Rockies ski cams! Check out the ski conditions in Alberta & BC! CLICK HERE!

Canadian Cylists Should Flock to Colorado For Colorado Road Biking Nirvana