Canada is known for its scenery. From towering mountain peaks to turquoise glacial lakes, the country’s stunning natural beauty draws visitors year-round. But what about its waterfalls? There’s the famous one, of course, but Canada is actually home to dozens of stunning falls all across the country.
If you’re planning a driving holiday in Canada, waterfalls make the ideal stop-offs along your driving routes. They are often located just off major highways and many provincial parks have been set up around waterfalls, providing easy access. With well-marked trails and picnic areas on offer too, they provide the perfect scenic attraction on any road trip. Here are our favourite waterfalls in Canada:
1. Niagara Falls – Niagara, Ontario
As arguably the most famous waterfall in the world, this one had to top the list. Although Niagara Falls doesn’t have the greatest drop in Canada by a long way at 53m, it is by far the widest at 671m across. The curved shape of Horseshoe Falls is iconic, and a trip on the Hornblower boat up to the face of the falls is a must.
2. Montmorency Falls – Quebec City, Quebec
We love Montmorency Falls because it surprises people. It is so easy to get to at just a 20-minute drive from Quebec City, and is actually higher than Niagara at 84m. A suspension bridge over the crest of the falls gives you a bird’s eye view of the torrent and the thundering St. Lawrence River.
3. Athabasca Falls – Jasper National Park, Alberta
This is one of our favourite stops along the Icefields Parkway. The falls themselves are stunning, but even better are their surroundings. The Athabasca River cuts through the limestone, creating an impressive gorge with swirling whirlpools and eddies to feast your eyes on while you ascend to the falls.
4. Helmcken Falls – Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia
These falls are so stunning that the Provincial Park was primarily created to protect them. Despite that, the falls are easily accessible through a range of trails and bridges. The waterfall drops a huge 141m before plunging into a gouged cavern below.
5. Takkakaw Falls – Yoho National Park, British Columbia
This is the second-highest waterfall in Canada at an impressive 384m. Takakkaw, when loosely translated from Cree, means “the magnificent” and is a more than fitting name for the falls. Glacier melt makes spring the best time to see the falls at their whitest and gushiest.
6. Bridal Veil Falls – Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, British Columbia
This waterfall definitely lives up to its name, with delicate rivulets of water cascading over the smooth rockface. It’s one of the prettiest falls and also very easy to get to by a 15-minute walk just off the main highway outside Chilliwack.
7. Shannon Falls – Shannon Falls Provincial Park, British Columbia
Driving along the stunning Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler is rewarding in itself. But even better is the fact that Shannon Falls is just off the highway. These tall falls tumble 337m over a series of granite cliffs into Howe Sound. It’s an easy 200m walk from the car park to the falls.
8. Maligne Canyon – Jasper National Park, Alberta
The location of this waterfall is just stunning. The waterfall drops 50m into a spectacular craggy gorge which is popular with hikers and climbers. This might be the only waterfall on the list which is actually better to visit in winter. The canyon freezes over in a spectacle of glittering ice. It is still fully accessible and offers ice climbing for the intrepid.
9. Pissing Mare Falls – Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
This had to make our list, if only for the name! The ancient landscape of Gros Morne is lush with forested fjords. Only accessible by boat, you’ll need to cross the fjord of Western Brook Pond to spy them. These are among the highest falls in Eastern North America and certainly have a dramatic backdrop. Can you spot them in the background of our picture?
10. Brandywine Falls – Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, British Columbia
If you’re visiting Whistler, these falls aren’t too far away. They tumble over a 70m drop and have the bonus of being easily accessible year-round. The surrounding cavern features dramatic rockslides, and the trail continues to a view of the pretty Daisy Lake nearby.