15 Amazing Banff Waterfalls to Chase

Most people don’t travel to Banff for the waterfalls. It’s an area more well known for its glacial lakes and majestic peaks. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some amazing Banff waterfalls to check out on your visit.

This is a list of some of our favorite waterfalls in Banff, but it’s by no means all of them in the park. Many waterfalls are hidden back in the forests away from civilization and only seen by the most willing of hikers. Below are some of the most accessible in Banff and beyond.


Amazing Banff Waterfalls!


Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls - Banff waterfalls
A trickle of the Cascade Falls in September

Cascade Falls is right on the side of Cascade Mountain, and is the one fall that just about every visitor to the park is certain to see. If driving from Canmore to Banff on the Trans Canada you can this 240-meter tall fall on your right as you pass Cascade Ponds. Although you can see them from the car it’s best to pull off and get a better look at them.

You may see climbers nearby in the summer or ice climbers in the winter!


Bow Falls

Bow Falls on the Bow River

Bow Falls are some of the most easily accessible waterfalls in Banff and one of the best things to do in Banff. They are right outside of town on the Bow River near the Banff Springs Hotel. You can walk to them from Banff Ave in under 20 minutes, or there is a small parking area nearby (but I recommend the walk!). It’s also possible to book a whitewater rafting tour that goes by the falls up close (you won’t be going over them).

They are a magnificent thing to do in Banff in the winter when the whole scene turns into a winter wonderland.


Johnston Canyon Lower Falls and Upper Falls

The lower falls in Johnston Canyon
Lower Falls
 Banff waterfalls - johnston canyon upper falls
Upper Falls
frozen waterfalls
Johnston Canyon frozen falls in the winter

The Johnston Canyon hike is a nice easy family-friendly hike in Banff. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Banff and is a great path to take. The two main highlights on this trail are the falls. The Lower and Upper Falls can be viewed by hiking just 1.2 km to the Lower Falls and 2.4km to the Upper Falls.

They are a sight to see in the summer with the roaring water, as well as in the winter when the falls are frozen solid. In the winter you can book an ice climbing tour back here!


Lake Agnes Waterfall

Lake Agnes Waterfall

If you’re hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House you’ll come across these falls right before you get to the tea house. These are fairly small falls, that I wouldn’t make the trip out for. However, they are a nice treat at the end of a long hike up to Lake Agnes.


Bow Glacier Falls

Bow Glacier Falls

If you’ve come across Bow Lake in Banff and wondered where all the water flows from it’s a short hike away. The meltwater from the Bow Glacier and Wapta Icefield cascades over Bow Glacier Falls and into Bow Lake.

It’s a fairly simple hike to get back and see Bow Glacier Falls. Walk past the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge to the right of Bow Lake. Follow the trail all the way around the lake and continue up the stairs and through the meadow. It’s a wonderful hike in the summer and gives Icefield Parkway drivers a good excuse to stretch their legs.

Some websites claim you can see the falls from Bow Lake, but they are pretty far back there and it’s an obstructed view t so I would highly recommend making the hike. The hike will take you between 2-4 hours and is 8.7 km with 266 meters of gain.


Silverton Falls

 Banff waterfalls

This short hike to Silverton Falls follows an old dirt road on its way to Rockbound Lake (harder Banff hike)but splits off for a quick detour to Silverton Falls. The trail follows along Silverton Creek until it reaches the Silverton Falls viewpoint. The waterfall is 50 meters tall and in the summer months, it’s pretty impressive.

The best part about this trail is it’s pretty quiet compared to nearby Johnston Canyon so if you’re allergic to crowds this would be a great choice.


The Weeping Wall

 Banff waterfalls - icefields parkway

The Weeping Wall is a set of cliffs at the base of Cirrus Mountain. You can see it on your right, as you are driving from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway.

If you look towards it you’ll see water cascading down in a series of waterfalls, essentially “weeping.” The biggest one is called “Teardrop.”

If you drive the parkway in June you’ll be able to see the weeping wall at its finest. As the snow melts from the surrounding peaks and creates a magical scene. However drive it in the winter and you’ll get ice, snow, and the occasional ice climber.

They are easy to see from the car, but if you don’t mind a little bushwacking you can get out and hike right up to them.


Panther and Bridal Veil Falls

 Banff waterfalls
Sadly my only photo of Panther Falls

As you continue up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper there will be a pull-off point on your right. This pull-off point overlooks Panther Falls and it’s well worth the stop to admire and grab a photo!

If you hike to Panther Falls in the winter you’ll be able to get up close to the falls and walk around the awesome ice, and even go behind the falls.


Waterfalls Near Banff

Banff may excel at most natural features, but when it comes to waterfalls some of the best are in the neighboring parks. Here are the best waterfalls near Banff.


Takakkaw Falls

The view of Takakkaw Falls from the Iceline Trail

Takakkaw Falls is the most stunning waterfall to see in the Canadian Rockies, and one of the most beautiful in all of Canada. In fact, it’s actually the second highest waterfall in all of Canada at 373 meters.

“Tak Falls” is in Yoho National Park, close by to Lake Louise. It’s easily accessible as there is a parking area right at the base. That’s right – this is a great waterfall in the Canadian Rockies that you don’t have to hike to. That being said, if you hike the Iceline Trail you can score fantastic views of Tak Falls.


Wapta Falls

Wapta Falls is the largest waterfall of the Kicking Horse River and one of the best things to do in Yoho. It’s 18 meters high and a whopping 107 meters wide, making it one of the most impressive sights in the Canadian Rockies.

I love visiting in the summer, but honestly think it is even more beautiful in the winter when the ice freezes over and the surrounding peaks are covered in snow.


Troll Falls

Troll Falls is a popular winter Kananaskis hike for families as it’s short and easy. The trail will lead you right to a frozen waterfall that is very impressive. In the winter it’s best to hike with microspikes and trekking poles.

In the summer the Troll Falls trail is incredibly busy during the weekend days so try and go during the weekday if possible.


Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon is a popular stop on the Icefields Parkway. The pullout area for parking here is on the west side of the parkway, there’s limited parking so it may be busy peak summer.

To reach the canyon you’ll have to hike down the easy .5 km trail to a well-maintained fenced bridge. It’s here you can see the roaring canyon around you.


Sunwapta Falls

Sunwapta Falls is an easy stop off on the Icefields Parkway that is well worth venturing to. Sunwapta Falls consists of upper and lower falls that are fed by the Athabasca Glacier. The upper falls are more easily accessible and therefore much busier, but a 1.3 km hike will take you to to the lower falls.

If you have the time consider hiking to both, but if you’re in a pinch driving to Jasper then the upper falls will surely leave you satisfied.


Emperor Falls

I’ve seen some incredible waterfalls in my life and that includes the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Niagra Falls, and Dettifoss in Iceland. However, none of them stirred the soul like Emperor Falls. Images fail to convey the scale and the proximity that hikers are able to approach the roaring water is wild.

They are some of the most powerful I’ve seen in all of Canada. To get to them it’s best to plan a multi-day hike on the Berg Lake Trail.


When is the Best Time to See These Banff Waterfalls?

johnston canyon - banff

The best time to see the waterfalls in all their glory is in the summer months between June and August. However, I personally think June is the best when the snow melts and the water flow is at its highest. By mid-September many of the waterfalls are no more than a trickle, and by late October they are near freezing.

If you want to see some wonderful frozen waterfalls make sure to visit Banff in the winter, between January and March.


Hiking to the Banff Waterfalls

Most of these Banff waterfalls require some sort of hike to get to them. There are few that can be seen easily and from the side of the road. It’s noted in this post whether the waterfalls require a hike or not to see.

Travel Planning Resources

  • Packing Guide — Check out our Banff packing list to help pack your bags and ensure you don’t leave anything at home.
About Natasha

Natasha Alden lives in Canmore, Alberta. After traveling across six continents and 80 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe as well as enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river.

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