Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls

We had a great day of sightseeing today. Our first order of business was to drive our Vue back south on the Icefields Highway to Sunwapta Falls, about 50 kms from Whistler Campground. The mountains along the highway looked just as stunning as they did yesterday but there was a little haze in the air until after lunch when the sun had moved a little lower in the sky. Sunwapta Falls was simply awe inspiring to see. We even hiked the 2 km down to the lower falls to have a look around and we weren’t disappointed in the view one little bit. The edge of the gorge is guarded by a chain link fence the whole way from top to bottom but it’s easy enough to see over top to take photos. We hiked back up the hill to the upper falls area and had our picnic lunch next to where the river begins to cascade over the rocks and into the large chasm leading towards the lower falls. There is one huge amount of water going through these granite walls.

The girls stopped in at the gift shop at the Sunwapta turnoff while I had a little snooze in the car. Sunwapta Falls is about 1 km off the main road and the turnoff is clearly marked. The road is paved the whole way to the turn around but it is a little rough in places, so slow going in a motorhome. There is plenty of parking available at the Sunwapta Falls parking area including parallel parking spaces for large Motorhomes with toads or fifth wheels. Dry toilets are available there as well.

After Sunwapta Falls we headed back north to Athabasca Falls and hiked around the trail which leads along side, over top and eventually down river from the falls. My favorite shot of the day was taken of the Athabasca River from below the falls showing an inukshuk on the rocky shore line. The scenery could not have been any more breathtaking! We hung around Athabasca Falls for about 90 minutes and then followed Hwy 93A through the wilderness until it came back out on the Icefields Highway about 10pm south of Whistler campground.

We still can’t get our datastorm satellite to get Internet or TV through all the trees at our campground but oddly enough the Vodafone data SIM card I bought in England for my ipad 2 still works brilliantly here in Jasper. I can piggy back on the Rogers Wireless network without any problems at all. I don’t have much data left on my card but it was enough to upload today’s iPhone photos to Flickr. Go figure! Our datastorm plan is up for renewal in October so it may be more practical for us to look at a data plan with either Telus or Rogers for while we are in Canada, provided of course either company will allow us to put it on vacation while we are down south. Verizon lets us do the vacation stop while we are back in the Canada so it would be nice if either Rogers or Telus was forward thinking enough to allow the same thing.

I took a ton of photos and even a little video today. Today’s photos are all from my iPhone. I’ll get working on my DSLR shots when times permits and perhaps post them in a separate post. Weather is not looking great for tomorrow with a little rain and cooler temps in the forecast but we’ll be out doing the touristy bit anyway. Hope everyone enjoys the photos. If you haven’t yet been to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper areas, you really need to put this trip at the top of your bucket list. The WOW factor around here is HUGE!


  1. E Squared and Mui June 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I have to admit to a preference for Sunwapta Falls … though both are quite impressive.

  2. Malone June 7, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    The photos of all the falls and rivers are so beautiful. I just got an iPhone 4 with HDR, but still don'g get photos like yours! We are looking forward to seeing this part of the world on our return trip from Alaska, and should be there in August. I would imagine the rivers will be a bit less full by then. So enjoy your blog, especially your trip to England.

  3. Happytrails June 7, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    What a nice place to enjoy your lunch and later to relax for a short nap!
    Beautiful pics!!