Nigel Creek and Panther Falls
Coming out of the Big Bend of the Icefields Parkway, as you drive up the long hill there is a turnoff near the top affording you a nice view of the North Saskatchewan River Valley (see the second photo in this blog post). A short way past this turnoff is another large turnoff with lots of parking. What must be the main site here is Bridal Veil Falls. There is a big pointer-type sign at the entrance of the parking lot and most people stop here to view the falls and take a picture.
Bridal Veil Falls
What most people probably don't do is walk downhill near the entrance to the parking lot to the trail to the falls. The sign at the trailhead says it's only half a kilometer, which is only a little more than a quarter mile. The sign also indicates there is another waterfall, Panther Falls, even closer. This is the where we wanted to go. Panther Falls can't be seen from the road, but once you get there, you wonder why no one else was on the trail. My trusty photo guidebook told us how to get to the top viewing point of the falls. It also said it was possible to get behind the falls, but to only try it during the summer or fall when there wasn't so much water going over the falls.
As we got closer to the falls, we could see where it finished its fall and the rainbow created by the mist. You'll also notice the ice still present at the bottom.
Bottom of Panther Falls
As we continued down the path, we could hear the roar of the panther. Finally, this is what we saw: Panther Falls gushing out of a hole in the rock.
Panther Falls Close-Up
This was as far as Denise wanted to go, but I had to get closer. Heeding the advice of the guidebook, I wasn't going to try to go behind the falls, but I saw how the path led to the hole in the wall that would allow you to get behind the falls (if the gushing water wasn't likely to take you with it to the bottom of the falls).
Path to the Rear of Panther Falls
The guidebook also mentioned another feature worth seeing at the other end of the parking lot. After returning from Panther Falls we walked over to the other end of the parking lot and walked into the woods. A short while later, we found Nigel Creek, which is the water that goes over Panther Falls. At this location, the creek had cut its way through the rock in that area making for some interesting cascades.
A few days later, on our way back from Jasper, we stopped here again to hike to the bottom of Panther and Bridal Veil Falls. The path wasn't the best in the world and we weren't sure we were on the right path, but we came to this impressive view of Panther Falls.
With all the mist from the falls, the trail ahead was wet, muddy, and slippery. We decided to forget Bridal Veil and retreated back to the car, happy with what we saw.
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