TOP 5 most beautiful waterfalls in Western Canada
Western Canada is well known for the diversity of its landscapes. This includes an array of waterfalls of all shapes and sizes.
While they may not look alike, they do have one thing in common which is sure to make you happy: the most beautiful waterfalls are all easy to get to!
Here's my list of the top 5 waterfalls you won't want to miss during your ultimate Western Canada road trip.
#1. Helmcken Falls
Wells Grey Provincial Park is known as the Waterfall Park, and for good reason!
The most famous of the park's 39 waterfalls is Helmcken Falls, which plunges 141 metres into the Murtle River. The protection of Helmcken Falls was one of the reasons for the creation of the park.
Despite its unspoiled natural surroundings, a short 5-minute walk will bring you to a viewing platform overlooking the falls from the parking lot inside the park. Small effort for such a spectacular panorama!
You can also get to the top of the falls along the Rim Trail , along the other side of the river. This adventure will take you about 3 hours and there are no guard rails along the canyon's edge, so be careful!
Helmcken Falls is also breathtaking in winter, when an ice cone forms at its base, creating a magical winter wonderland.
#2. Sunwapta Falls
If you take the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper , you simply must stop at Sunwapta Falls.
Located near Banff , Sunwapta Falls consists of Upper and Lower waterfalls, both of which are fed by meltwater from the famous Athabasca Glacier.
The Upper Falls, which has an impressive dropoff of about 18 metres, is easily accessed from the viewpoint parking lot.
A short 1.3 km hike through a lush forest of lodgepole pine leads to the Lower Falls.
The Lower Falls is actually three waterfalls cascading into the Sunwapta River. While they are less impressive than the Upper Falls, they are still magnificent with their turquoise water and make for a longer adventure.
Because the falls are fed by glacial melt, visit in late spring or early summer, when the snowmelt is at its peak.
#3. Takakkaw Falls
With a total height of 373 metres, Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park is the second highest waterfall in Canada.
"Takakkaw" is a Cree word for "magnificent", the perfect way to describe the scenery that awaits you!
The falls cascade down the mountainside into an emerald-coloured stream.
The short hike to Takakkaw Falls follows this stream and is highly accessible.
The 1.4 km trail takes about 30 minutes to complete and is mostly well maintained. The closer you get to the falls, the more uneven the trail becomes.
As the falls are fed by the meltwater of the Daly Glacier, I recommend visiting in June when the flow is at its peak.
#.4 Shannon Falls
Just south of Squamish along the Sea to Sky highway , one of the most scenic routes in Western Canada, lies Shannon Falls Provincial Park , home of the third highest waterfall in British Columbia.
The park is easy to reach by rental car from Vancouver.
Originating from the alpine massif below Sky Pilot Mountain and the Stadium Glacier, Shannon Creek tumbles some 335 metres down over granite cliffs to the valley below.
An easy trail leads to the base of the falls.
Just 350 metres each way, the Shannon Falls Trail meanders along the base of the falls through old growth Douglas fir, hemlock and western red cedar.
#5. Numa Falls
Numa Falls is a gorgeous waterfall in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, on the border between British Columbia and Alberta, in Kootenay National Park .
True to the Rockies, the falls feature blue waters and a lush forest setting along the Vermilion River.
The falls parking lot is easily found along the Banff-Windermere Highway 93, which follows the Kootenay River, which later becomes the Vermilion.
It is just a short walk from the parking lot to the picturesque forested canyon through which the river flows.
For a longer adventure, cross the river near the falls and continue along Numa Creek trail, which leads into the national park.
Location of the 5 most beautiful waterfalls in the West
So which one will you visit first?
Don't hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below!