Sunwapta Falls is Worth a Quick Visit

I first arrived at Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park, thinking that it was on my way to Athabasca Glacier in the Rocky Mountains of Canada — and that I can sneak in a quick stop…

Sunwapta Falls is Worth a Quick Visit

…but the area was under construction at the time and closed to visitors — so I proceeded to the glacier. After drinking delicious glacier water while I was out on the ice — and then going to the Glacier Skywalk afterwards — I headed back towards Jasper on Icefields Parkway to see a few sites which I had initially passed.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The good news was that the construction was done and the entrance to Sunwapta Falls was opened to the public again.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Another option existed in which one can hike down to the falls; but that would have taken too much time.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

As I first mentioned in this article, “translated from the Stoney language, Sunwapta means turbulent river.”

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The Sunwapta River is a major tributary of the Athabasca River whose source is Sunwapta Lake near the Athabasca Glacier and flows northwest into Jasper National Park.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The views are spectacular, as one spectator finds out.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Sunwapta Falls are actually a pair of waterfalls; and the falls have a drop of approximately 60 feet.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The upper falls are shown in these photographs; while the lower falls are the ones to which visitors hike.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The water of the river originates at Athabasca Glacier.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The best time to visit Sunwapta Falls is during the late spring — which is when I visited — due to the increased volume of the water from the runoff of melted snow and glacier ice.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

By this time, a bus arrived; and the short access road from Icefields Parkway and the overlook bridge suddenly became crowded.

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Time to take photographs and videos. How could anyone resist?

Sunwapta Falls

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Summary

For reference purposes, Sunwapta Falls is located 179 kilometers — or a drive time of approximately two hours and 27 minutes — northwest of the town of Lake Louise.

In terms of accessibility, anyone can visit the upper part of Sunwapta Falls with little to no problem. I did not hike down to the lower falls; but I understand that the hike is not difficult.

Other than to enter Jasper National Park — for which access is free of charge to visitors for the remainder of 2017 in celebration of Canada as a confederation for 150 years — there is no admission cost to visit Sunwapta Falls; and you can stay as long as you like…

…but if time is tight for you, you can stay as few as ten minutes and still appreciate the beauty of the falls — but you also may stay as long as you like.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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