Due to some unforeseen circumstances of the Kootenay Highway being closed by the Verdant Creek Fire (seriously y’all, we need to stop road tripping in August- even though I had watched this fire insanely closely and right up until the day we got to Banff it had looked fine, the smoke ended up being thick enough that they closed the road for visibility), we ended up having to take the 1 from the Icefields Parkway to Golden and then south to Radium Hot Springs. I was admittedly originally really bummed to miss going back through Kootenay, especially since I was really excited to go back to Marble Canyon and the Paint Pots, but thankfully I had a backup plan- Wapta Falls.
I think maybe this was a sign from the universe that my planning isn’t crazy, since I would never have known about Wapta Falls without planning and extensive research- and it was absolutely incredible. The hike was beautiful and pleasant, and Teddy had a blast jumping over all of the fallen logs on the trail. There’s just something about the light in British Columbia that’s… different, somehow. I know that might sound ridiculous but those old-growth forests are always gorgeous.
The falls themselves are absolutely massive, and you can get right up close to them on a little island that sticks up right in front of the falls. I won’t lie to you, I’ve been to Niagara Falls, and this was cooler. Not to rag on Niagara Falls, because they are incredible, especially on the Maid of the Mist tour, but something about standing on your own two feet on solid ground mere yards from a massive waterfall is just awe-inspiring. I kept saying, “this is the best “consolation prize” ever!” We all got completely soaked, and it was a blast. (Pro tip: take a GoPro or other waterproof camera- you’ll want it. I wish I’d had my raincover for my camera.)
Overall, it was a completely worthwhile stop and I’m so glad that I knew it was there. The trail was gorgeous (though you’ll definitely want bug spray and take some with you to reapply after the waterfall, they are pretty ruthless), the waterfall was incredible, and the drive was beautiful as well (albeit very smoky). I can’t wait to go back when we have more time to spend there!