Sunwapta River

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Sunwapta River
Pdphoto canada 1 bg 062104.jpg
Origin Athabasca Glacier
52°12′30″N 117°14′14″W / 52.20833°N 117.23722°W / 52.20833; -117.23722
Mouth Athabasca River
52°31′41″N 117°41′05″W / 52.52806°N 117.68472°W / 52.52806; -117.68472
Basin countries  Alberta  Canada
Source elevation 2,037 m (6,683 ft)
Mouth elevation 1,300 m (4,300 ft)

The Sunwapta River is a major tributary of the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.


The headwaters of the Sunwapta River are near the Columbia Icefield in the valley west northwest of Sunwapta pass, which divides Jasper National Park from Banff National Park. Several kilometres down the valley from the pass is Sunwapta Lake, at the toe of the Athabasca Glacier, which is considered the nominal source for the river. The Sunwapta river then continues to run northwest through Jasper National Park, following the Icefields Parkway, and finally joins the Athabasca River shortly after Sunwapta Falls.[1]

Sunwapta is a Stoney Indian word meaning "turbulent river." Geologist A. P. Coleman named the river in 1892.[2]


  • Kitchener Creek
  • Tangle Creek
  • Woolley Creek
  • Beauty Creek
  • Diadem Creek
  • Grizzly Creek
  • Jonas Creek
  • Poboktan Creek

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mussio Ventures. Central Alberta Backroad Mapbook. Burnaby: Backroad Mapbooks (2002), pp. 31-32
  2. ^ Karamitsanis, Aphrodite (1991). Place Names of Alberta, Volume 1. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, pg. 240