Tag Archives: Athabasca Falls


Fam­i­ly fun

The enjoy­ment of white­wa­ter raft­ing is acces­si­ble to all the mem­ber of your fam­i­ly, par­ty or orga­ni­za­tions.  Jasper’s raft­ing out­fit­ters will take you for an adven­ture of a life­time with some of the most scenic and excit­ing riv­er of the Cana­di­an Rock­ies.

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Take a look at our Riv­er Class­es to help you select your riv­er expe­ri­ence.


Athabasca Falls

The head­wa­ter comes from the Colum­bia Glac­i­er about 70 kilo­me­ters south. Among the most pow­er­ful and breath­tak­ing falls in the Rocky Moun­tains, The Athabas­ca Riv­er thun­ders through a nar­row gorge where the walls have been smoothed and pot­holes are cre­at­ed by the sheer force of the rush­ing water car­ry­ing sand and rock. Park­ing and restroom facil­i­ties. paved trail and pic­nic sites avail­able.

Great view point
Kerkeslin moun­tain in the back­ground
The canyon after the falls
Peo­ple try­ing to build Inuk­shuks
Some steps to access the low­er canyon

In the win­ter there are track-set cross-coun­try ski­ing trail near­by. In the sum­mer this is also a start­ing point for white­wa­ter raft­ing which takes you down some scenic sights only acces­si­ble by water craft. Check out the spon­sors below and take in the adven­ture that awaits you.

Access: High­way 93 (Ice Field Park­way) South of Jasper approx­i­mate­ly 30 kilo­me­ters.

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: Short walk

Activ­i­ties: Sight­see­ing

View Larg­er Map


River Classes

Rivers in and around Jasper National Park

Riv­er dif­fi­cul­ty is rat­ed using the six part Inter­na­tion­al Scale of Riv­er Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem. Indi­vid­ual rapids are called class­es, while sec­tions are called grades.

This rat­ing sys­tem is a ref­er­ence to gen­er­al guide of rivers and is not intend­ed for peo­ple who does not have pad­dling expe­ri­ence.  Do not try boat­ing these rivers with­out expe­ri­ence or an expe­ri­enced guide.

Class I    Easy rapids, rif­fles and small, reg­u­lar waves. Pas­sages are clear, easy to find, and require only ele­men­tary maneu­ver­ing to enter. Obsta­cles are eas­i­ly seen and avoid­ed. Sharp bends are sim­ple to nego­ti­ate. Suit­able for novices in all boats.

Class II    Rapids with some eddies, tur­bu­lence, and waves up to 3 feet high. Obsta­cles may require some maneu­ver­ing. And there may be some holes and a few obstruc­tions in the main chan­nel. Res­cues easy. Mod­er­ate cur­rent and fre­quent eddies per­mit stops in many places. Chan­nel is straight for­ward and read­i­ly rec­og­nized. Suit­able for inter­me­di­ate open canoe, novice closed canoe or white water boat with inter­me­di­ate accom­pa­ni­ment. Best with a cer­ti­fied riv­er guide.


Class III    More dif­fi­cult rapids, requir­ing a good deal of maneu­ver­ing around obsta­cles. Scout­ing may require to find the cor­rect route. Some eddies may be strong, and fair­ly pow­er­ful holes and tur­bu­lence may be encoun­tered if the opti­mum route is missed. Waves of up to 5 feet. Small falls. Res­cue not too dif­fi­cult for com­pe­tent par­ties. Eddies may be small and hard to get into, but there are stop­ping places beyond all dan­ger spots. Class 3 cov­ers a mul­ti­tude of sit­u­a­tions, hav­ing per­haps the widest range of dif­fi­cul­ty of any rat­ing. Suit­able for advanced pad­dlers in white water and closed boats. Best with a cer­ti­fied riv­er guide.


Class IV Dif­fi­cult rapids, chal­leng­ing for strong boaters with con­sid­er­able expe­ri­ence. High, irreg­u­lar waves, pow­er­ful , pow­er­ful eddies, and strong cross­cur­rents will be encoun­tered, along with dif­fi­cult maneu­ver­ing. Obstruc­tions in the main chan­nel. Scout­ing is gen­er­al­ly manda­to­ry, and strong teams are required to make suc­cess­ful res­cue rea­son­ably like­ly. Big drops, Falls, and holes. Rest spots and land­ing often irreg­u­lar­ly spaced and fair­ly dif­fi­cult to enter. Suit­able for advance pad­dlers in closed canoes and white water boats. Not suit­able for open canoes! Best with a cer­ti­fied riv­er guide.

Class V    Extreme­ly dif­fi­cult rapids which are treat­ed with respect even by teams of experts who are capa­ble of run­ning them, Long, con­tin­u­ous, tur­bu­lent white water with irreg­u­lar pow­er­ful waves, cross­cur­rents, eddies, white eddies, and holes. Best course may be dif­fi­cult to pick out even from shore. And a per­fect run will still require encoun­ter­ing severe tur­bu­lence direct­ly. Res­cues very dif­fi­cult. Extreme­ly haz­ardous for any but a prac­ticed team of well-equipped experts. Suit­able for expert pad­dlers only!

Class VI    The lim­it of nav­i­ga­bil­i­ty for the very best boaters run­ning in the ide­al con­di­tions. All the above dif­fi­cul­ties extend­ed to their lim­it. Can­not be attempt­ed with­out some risk to life, even by team of experts. Near­ly impos­si­ble and very dan­ger­ous. Suit­able for teams of expert white water pad­dlers, at favor­able water lev­els and with ade­quate pro­vi­sion for res­cue.

Snake Indi­an

River Stretch Above Athabasca Falls

Access: High­way 93 (Ice Field Park­way) South of Jasper approx­i­mate­ly 40 kilo­me­ters.

Park­ing: Yes, Christie Look­out

Trail­head: Along the Riv­er

Activ­i­ties: Sights / Raft­ing / Canoe­ing / Kayak­ing


This sec­tion of water is rarely ven­tured, the beau­ti­ful vis­tas and the stretch­es of white water makes this a won­der­ful adven­ture. Be for warned that if you do not pull out at the take out, you might be going for a per­ma­nent ride over the Athabas­ca Falls. Kayaks, Rafts, and oth­er forms of water craft is rec­om­mend­ed for this ven­ture.

There are no com­mer­cial out­fit­ters for this trip, so make sure you know what you are doing before tak­ing this ven­ture.