In Jasper National Park!
The Athabasca Falls are among the major, most favorite and most common attraction within the Jasper area. It is the most powerful waterfall, despite it not being the widest nor the highest within the Canadian Rockies. Located only 24 km south of Becker’s Chalets (30 km south of Jasper) on highway 93 or highway 93a, it’s one attraction that you do not want to miss.
If travelling through highway 93a, you will be sure to see all sorts of wildlife known to Jasper National Park. The most common animals to be seen on this stretch of highway are the black bear and grizzly bear; be sure to have your camera ready for action. Many well marked signs will assist you in arriving to the Athabasca Falls with no difficulty. A large parking lot is available for you to park, and enjoy the natural beauty that this waterfall and surrounding sites provide.
As this is a major tourist attraction, it is fairly busy with people coming and going. To avoid some of the rush, it is advised to visit this attraction either early in the morning or later in the evening (after dinner), which will give you an added bonus of seeing more animals (as this is generally the time they come out of the bush to graze on grass and berries). Unfortunately due to stairs at the waterfalls itself, wheelchair access is limited although most of the trail is paved. Many picnic tables and a kitchen shelter are available for your enjoyment along with washrooms. This gives you a great opportunity to have a picnic breakfast, lunch or dinner while taking in the magnificent sights around you, while hearing the roar of the falls from a short distance.
With only a three meter opening at the edge of the falls (18 meters wide near the center), all of the water from the wide Athabasca River is funneled through the Athabasca Falls. This creates an enormous pressure and powerful class 5 waterfall, with a 24 meter drop. Over the years, the force of this waterfall has produced its unique shape and form of the rocks. Some of the rock at the Athabasca Falls is limestone, however most is made up of quartzite, which is very comparable to the strength of steel (ounce for ounce). One can only envision how powerful this waterfall can be to erode, break and cut through this type of rock.
Athabasca Falls has many great things to enjoy; from the views and mist of the Athabasca Falls, to the vast Athabasca River above, to the canyons the falls has created down blow, to the towering Mount Kerkeslin, situated above the falls, to the setting of this natural beauty. The atmosphere created here is vast and relaxation.
Although this site is so beautiful, do not let its beauty and eagerness to get the best picture possible get the best of you. Guard rails around the Athabasca Falls are there for your safety – do not cross them. The mist from the falls makes the rocks extremely slippery, despite their inviting nature to stand on. Sadly, many unfortunate individuals have realized this too late.