Drive the Icefields Parkway

Improvement District No. 9, Alberta

5.0/5
based on 5 reviews

Details

Distance

145.45 miles

Elevation Gain

6293 ft

Route Type

Point-to-Point

Description

Added by Moe Lauchert

The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, also known as Highway 93, runs for roughly 145 miles. The parkway is easily accessible and offers amazing views along the drive. There are pullouts for quick hikes, but many of the scenic viewpoints are quickly accessible from the road.

The Icefields Parkway has been named One of the World's Most Scenic Drives by National Geographic and with all the scenic hikes, stops, and viewpoints, it's easy to see why.

Starting at Lake Louise, a friend and I decided to drive up the Icefields Parkway which goes through Banff National Park into Jasper National Park. All along the parkway are pull-offs and short hikes that lead to extraordinary views of lakes such as Herbert Lake, Hector LakeBow Lake, Peyto Lake, and Waterfowl Lake.

There are many more lakes, and certain ones offer scenic views after a short hike. Continuing South on the TransCanada Highway there is a road called Bow Valley Parkway, which offers views of Lake Minnewanka as well as Two Jack. Most of the camping and trailheads close in the winter due to ice and snow hazards but remain relatively free of tourists during the cold seasons. Be sure to check what roads and trails are open, although many of the pull-offs are road access. Bring plenty of water regardless of the season, food, and layers depending on the weather. Bear spray is recommended especially if entering a backcountry area.

Additional Hikes and Viewpoints:

Permits:
National Parks Pass (this is needed for entry to Banff and Jasper National Parks as well as for driving along the Icefields Parkway).

Road Condition Updates
The road is open year-round and is well-maintained in the winter. Check IcefieldsParkway.com for updates before your trip.

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Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

Drive the Icefields Parkway Reviews

I'm from the eastern U.S., this drive is absolutely mind blowing. The views are non stop the entire drive and combine that with countless adventures that you can stop and take in. I'm not sure anything can beat this road trip!

This was an incredible drive, and you never feel like you are just driving point A to point B. The views are non-stop and there are several opportunities to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery. The weather can change quickly so ensure you are properly equipped. We drove this road twice on our trip and I can't wait to go back and drive it again. The Canadian Rockies are absolutely stunning

This is an absolutely breathtaking drive with so many adventures along the way. We did the entire drive from Banff to Jasper in a single day and pushed the first part to arrive at the Columbia Icefield early afternoon to do the glacier walk tour. I wish we had taken more time and hit all of the stops along the way. We only stopped to explore Bow Lake and Peyto Lake, and a few lookouts before arriving at the the Icefield. But looking back I wish we would have taken advantage of the great weather and stopped more and done some of the short hikes along the way. We continued on from the Columbia Icefield tours and headed to Athabasca Falls, another busy place but do not miss the views here and leave yourself time to explore. We had planned to camp near Jasper but by the time we arrived all campsites were full and most hotels as well, better planning for next time!

This drive is AMAZING on a sunny and clear day in the summer or in the winter. The mountains the lakes the views are just spectacular.

This is one of the most incredible drives on the planet. I've been up here a couple time now and it still impresses beyond belief. The Colorado Rockies where I live are great, but nothing compared to these.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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