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Lower Sunwapta Falls Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

0.9 mile 1.4 kilometer point to point
94% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 8' 2 m
Descent: -232' -71 m
High: 4,561' 1,390 m
Low: 4,336' 1,322 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 8% (4°)

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Trail shared by Joan Pendleton

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Waterfalls, a gorge and more waterfalls! A short trail along Sunwapta River from Sunwapta Falls to Lower Sunwapta Falls.

Joan Pendleton

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Need to Know

Sunwapta Falls is a popular tourist stop along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93). Here, the Sunwapta River plunges down cascades and a cliff, into a narrow gorge to continue on its way to Lower Sunwapta Falls, and then empty into the Athabasca River farther downstream. At the parking area, one can explore Sunwapta Falls. But to see Lower Sunwapta Falls one must run an easy, short 0.9 miles from the parking area on Lower Sunwapta Falls Trail.

Description

Lower Sunwapta Falls Trail starts at the southwest corner of the Sunwapta Falls parking area. It is a wide forest trail that descends very gradually downstream along the Sunwapta River. Start by looking at the impressive gorge that Sunwapta Falls plunges into. The trail is high above the river here.

For most of its length, Lower Sunwapta Falls Trail is in the forest, too far from the river to see it or its gorge, but near enough to hear it to the left/southeast. At the 0.7 mile mark, the trail arrives at the river's banks at the top of the first of the major drops of Lower Sunwapta Falls. From here, for the next 0.2 miles, to the trail's end at the bottom of Lower Sunwapta Falls, the trail is right at the edge of the falls and its gorges. A sturdy railing on the left, keeps one safe while getting good views of the falls and gorges.

After plunging over the first Lower Sunwapta Falls drop, the river is in a gorge, and then almost immediately plunges over another cliff, into more gorge below. The river then cascades down a length of rapids. Finally, emerging from the gorges, the river becomes wider and calmer, as it goes off into the distance to find the Athabasca River that it empties into. The trail with its protective railing ends after the biggest rapids, next to the river where it widens out and calms down.

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#16355

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Trail Rankings

#86

in Alberta

#16,355

Overall
3 Views Last Month
5 Since Sep 21, 2019
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

The second major drop of Lower Sunwapta Falls.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
The top falls of Lower Sunwapta Falls plunges into a gorge leading to the next major drop.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Lower Sunwapta Falls trail runs through the beautiful fir forest.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
The Sunwapta River is in a gorge below Sunwapta Falls, on its way to Lower Sunwapta Falls.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
The Sunwapta Rivers begins its plunge down Lower Sunwapta Falls.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
The top falls of Lower Sunwapta Falls. Lower Sunwapta falls has a few major drops.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB

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