After a nice exhilarating long weekend in the Banff area a couple of weeks ago, I was excited to go the opposite direction. I called up a friend of mine and we agreed to make a day trip to Jasper national park. We were up early and out of Edmonton by 7:30am. Our itinerary was simple:
- Check out Sunwapta falls
- Check out Athabasca falls
- Have a picnic by the lake somewhere
- Hike up Mount Edith Cavell and see the glacier lake
- Visit the Edith Cavell Meadows
The drive from Edmonton to Sunwapta falls took about 4 hours 40 mins. It was an early start to the day so I took a much needed nap for about 40 minutes while my friend drove.
Sunwapta means “turbulent water” in Stoney language. The falls are a pair of waterfalls of the Sunwapta river located in Jasper national park. There is an upper and lower falls but we saw the upper falls which is more accessible from the viewpoint. The water originates from the Athabasca Glacier. There are tons to do here including white water rafting and more of the icefields parkway.
A short 20 minutes drive from Sunwapta, the Athabascan falls is one of the heavily visited locations in Jasper. The word Athabasca originates from the Cree language and means “grass or reeds here and there”. Isn’ t that cool?
A powerful, picturesque waterfall, Athabasca Falls is known for its force due to the large quantity of water falling into the gorge. There are a few lookout points and great photo ops. We briefly went off the beaten part to a rock projection that was awesome and scary at the same time. The hike was a nice easy stroll about 1km (10 – 15 mins).
We had packed lunch and dinner so after leaving Athabasca falls, we were on the lookout for a nice lakefront to relax and eat. Luckily, there are tons of these locations along the drive, with picnic tables and fire-pits. So my girlfriend brought out her camp grill and set to making some awesome hotdogs. After a couple of hot dogs and some beers, we were satiated enough to continue to explore and buzzed just a little bit to fool around on the road. Evidence below.
Mount Edith Cavell
A couple of months ago, we had a trivia game on Zoom and the name Edith Cavell came up. I was like.. What is that?
Turns out that Mount Edith Cavell is a mountain located in the Athabasca River and Astoria River valleys of Jasper National Park, and is the most prominent peak entirely within Alberta that houses the Angel glacier. The mountain was named after a British nurse who was executed by Germans for helping allied soldiers after World War I.
We did an easy trail on the paved pathway which took about 30 mins. On getting to the lookout, we saw the glacier lake a few feet down with signs and warnings about the like-hood of a flash flooding which can occur if the snow on the mount of the angel glacier melts and floods the valley. We decided the possibility was quite low and proceeded closer to the glacier lake.
The Cavell Meadows Hike Is a Jasper favorite that displays Floral Meadows, Glaciers, And Towering Cliffs. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit.