The “Icefields Parkway” is the drive between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Without stopping, the drive would take under three hours. But with all there is to do and see on this trip, I would plan close to a full day for this drive.
The Icefields Parkway has been given numerous awards, including National Geographic, “One of the World’s Most Spectacular Drives.”
Fill up on gas and pack a lunch– and head out for an exciting day.
Here are the highlights of our trip, traveling from Banff to Jasper.
Right from the start of our trip, we were surrounded by mountains that seemingly just got larger and larger.
1. The Crowfoot Glacier
This is visible from the road, and there are several viewpoints you can stop at if you are wanting a closer look. This is an extremely impressive glacier, in the shape of, you guessed it– a crow foot.
2. Bow Lake at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
This is a breathtaking stop, where you can warm up at the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge and grab a coffee or souvenir. There is a beautiful beach on the lake that showcases the beautiful Bow Glacier and Bow Glacier Falls.
3. Peyto Lake Lookout
Peyto Lake is a beautiful glacial lake that is in the shape of A DOG!!! This fact alone pretty much solidified it as my number one stop on the drive. The turquoise blue waters change with the clouds, and makes for a stunning display. It takes about ten minutes to walk up to the lookout point, and people of all ages were seen doing it.
4. Mistaya Canyon
This is one you can’t miss. A short trail down to the canyon leads you to the turquoise river runoff from Peyto Lake. The water has carved its way through the rock to create a gorgeous playground to jump around on. You will see people climbing all over the rocks trying to get a different vantage point.
4. Columbia Icefield– Athabasca Glacier
This is near the Saskatchewan River Crossing. This is where, something like five rivers combine into one, the Saskatchewan. There is a very large visitors center with a store and gas (the only gas station) on the right hand of the street. There are also glacier tours and viewing tickets you can purchase here.
On the left hand of the street, you can pull in, and do a quick walk up to the toe of the Athabasca glacier. Gear up, because it is cold and windy! Absolutely amazing!
11. Athabasca Falls
This is the water from the Athabasca Glacier. Take a quick stop here to learn more about it. In the summer, the water has glacier flour mixed in, to create a rushing white water. In the winter, it turns a crisp clear/blue color. We went in September, so here is what we saw:
If you have taken this drive, please comment and let me know what your personal highlights were! Feel free to message or comment with any questions. Happy trails!