Overlander Falls was a short but wide gushing waterfall on the Fraser River. This was another one of those waterfalls that we hadn’t planned on seeing going into our September 2010 trip, but it had a very conspicuous sign that commanded our attention while motoring on the Hwy 16. We skipped it on the way to Clearwater, but we did stop for it to stretch our legs and see what the commotion was all about.
It turned out that we were face-to-face with the stocky waterfall that was said to be 10m tall and 30m wide. I’m sure under sunnier weather, the Fraser River would exhibit that blue-green color so typical of glacier-fed lakes and rivers. However, we happened to show up during a rain storm (in fact, it was snowing in Banff and Jasper at the time) so the colors were a bit muted.
The sign at the car park indicated that it was a 3/4-hour (45 minutes) return walk to the falls. It was pretty much a short upside-down excursion. That meant we had to go downhill to reach the falls, but then we had to get all that elevation loss back as we climbed back up to the car park. After going past a trail junction (we didn’t bother to see where that other trail went), the path ended at an overlook area of both the falls as well as a glimpse of the canyon downstream.
Apparently I’ve heard that some kayakers would run this waterfall, and from the looks of things, I can kind of see why. That said, I was not certain if the river beyond the plunge pool was very runnable or not given how rocky the watercourse was, but then again, I probably wouldn’t know any better since I’m not a kayaker myself.
The well-signed and wide car park for Overlander Falls is about 86km west of Jasper along Hwy 16. Or, it’s about 16km west of the west-end (or the mouth) of Moose Lake. The car park is on the south side (left side as you head west) of the highway.
Alternatively, the car park is a little over 14km east of the Rearguard Falls car park. If you’re headed east on Hwy 16, then the turnoff is on your right (and is much easier to access as you don’t have to cross traffic to get to it).
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