Drive the Icefields Parkway
Canada › Icefields Parkway
Added by Moe Lauchert
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 pulloffs and short hikes that lead to extraordinary views of lakes such as Herbert Lake, Hector Lake, Bow 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.
- Cell Phone (International SIM Card)
If Camping Overnight (In addition to the list above):
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
- Bug Spray
- Bear Spray
- Fire Starting Equipment (Check Fire Restrictions)
- Park Pass
- Camping Pass
- Camping Trowel
- Bear Canister
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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!
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