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Sunwapta Pass: Jasper and Banff National Parks

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Just a short distance south of the Icefields Centre, the Icefields Parkway heads across Sunwapta Pass.  The pass is the dividing line between Jasper and Banff National Parks.  It also serves as a hydrological divide.  Water falling on the Banff side ends up in the Saskatchewan River, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean, while water on the Jasper side flows into the Athabasca and Mackenzie Rivers, ending up in the Arctic Ocean.

(The actual Continental Divide, which splits the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds, isn’t far away — it runs along the Alberta/BC border, just a few miles west of this point.)

Sunwapta Pass is worth a quick stop, to observe the small monument that marks the dividing line…

… and enjoy the view of Mt. Kitchener (elev. 3,505 meters or 11,499 feet) towering over the valley.  Part of the Columbia Icefield covers the mountain’s peak.

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