Drive the Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, also known as Highway 93, runs for 142.9 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.

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 pulloffs 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.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Food
  • Cell Phone (International SIM Card)
  • Camera

If Camping Overnight (In addition to the list above):

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Bug Spray
  • Bear Spray
  • Headlamp
  • Fire Starting Equipment (Check Fire Restrictions)
  • Park Pass
  • Camping Pass
  • Camping Trowel
  • Bear Canister
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Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Incredible

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

Leave at least an entire day!

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!

Favourite drive

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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