Alberta’s Icefields Parkway is likely one of the most stunning drives in Canada. Beginning in Banff Nationwide Park and ending in Jasper Nationwide Park, the Icefields Parkway is barely 293 km (182 miles) and might be carried out in a day, however it will likely be the busiest day you’ve ever had. In the event you can, make a base in Jasper or Banff to take your time to discover all of those wonderful stops on the Icefields Parkway, do it!
This highway journey is so as of stops from Lake Louise in Banff Nationwide Park and dealing our approach North to Jasper Nationwide Park. I hope this helps you when planning your Icefields Parkway Journey!
Stops on the Icefields Parkway
- There could also be some restrictions as Canada slowly opens as much as tourism, so make sure to test to see what’s open earlier than beginning your highway journey from Banff to Jasper.
The Icefields Parkway begins in Lake Louise, a small city in the midst of Banff Nationwide park. It’s 2 hours from the Calgary airport to Lake Louise. We all the time book a car rental to be prepared once we land in Calgary beginning our Alberta journey instantly as soon as we depart the airport.
Fast tricks to Drive from Banff to Jasper
When driving to Lake Louise, you will want to buy an entrance go to the Nationwide Park which is $10 per particular person per day. If you’ll be spending a couple of days within the parks, it’s value it to purchase a Parks Discovery Move that prices $139 for a household or $69 per particular person. This provides limitless entry to Canada’s nationwide parks from coast to coast for 12 months! You should purchase this on-line here.
If you’re simply going for a day or two, you should buy your go on the entrance on the freeway when getting into Banff Nationwide Park from Calgary. Okay, now that we have now the logistics of attending to Banff prepared, let’s begin our Icefields Parkway highway journey!
Situated inside Banff Nationwide Park, Lake Louise is likely one of the most well-known stops in all of Canada (not to mention Alberta). The gorgeous turquoise waters of Lake Louise sit beneath the imposing Victoria Glacier looming overhead. Situated straight in entrance of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise resort, there are climbing trails to absorb the view from all instructions and you may canoe on Lake Louise. (A bucket record merchandise for Canada travels)
When taking your drive alongside the Icefield’s Parkway, we advise leaving Lake Louise at dawn so you will get to the long-lasting lakes alongside the drive within the morning earlier than the crowds and whereas the reflections are greatest.
In the event you can spend a day or two in Banff Nationwide Park or Lake Louise, do it! There are such a lot of issues to see and do right here. We suggest the Fairmont Chateau Louise or Deer Lodge for lodging in Lake Louise.
- You’ll be able to learn extra details about Banff Lake Louise right here:
30 Minutes – 32 km (21 Miles) from Lake Louise
The primary cease you’ll come two out of Lake Louise is the Crowfoot Glacier lookout. Crowfoot Glacier acquired its identify from the truth that it’s formed like three claws of a crow. Situated on Crowfoot Mountain, it appears to be like over Bow Lake. Don’t take too lengthy right here at Crowfoot Glacier, as a result of you’ll need to get to your subsequent cease. Bow Lake
half-hour from Lake Louise 39 km (24 miles)
The subsequent cease you come to is the spectacular viewpoint of Bow Lake. Simply half-hour up Freeway 93 from the Trans Canada Freeway in Lake Louise, you’ll need to time your drive to reach right here when the solar is up. Bow Lake is situated on the foot the Bow Summit which displays completely within the nonetheless waters of Bow Lake. There are trails alongside the shores of the lake for higher views, so make sure to get out of your automobile and enterprise out to see it.
Num Ti Jah Lodge
Situated straight at Bow Lake, this historic lodge is an effective place to spend the nigh if you wish to actually spend time photographing Bow Lake within the morning or night. The historic lodge dates again to the Twenties. It’s a country expertise and the eating room is full of outdated taxidermy heads of wildlife within the Elk Lodge. Select it for an attention-grabbing keep in Alberta and an early begin on the Icefields Parkway.
44 km (27 miles) from Lake Louise
Peyto Lake is the most well-liked lake cease alongside the Icefields Parkway. From the car parking zone, hike as much as the Peyto Lake Viewpoint as much as the Bow Summit. At 2,088 metres (6,800 toes) for the perfect views of the vivid turqouise colors of this glacier lake. Cool truth, that is the very best elevation on the drive and it’s the very best elevation crossed by a public highway in Canada. (it actually doesn’t really feel that prime if you end up there although.
Saskatchewan River Crossing
79 km from Lake Louise
After viewing the lake, our subsequent place to see is the Saskatchewan River Crossing. It is a vital cease not just for its stunning view, however it is usually the place the North Saskatchewan River, Mistaya River and the Howse Rivers meet. If you should go to the toilet, that is the place to do it as there are services right here with a restaurant and gasoline station. ‘
106 km from Lake Louise
The Weeping Wall is most spectacular within the winter when the waterfalls are frozen. Additionally it is a well-liked locations (clearly) for mountain climbing. Cease right here to see this 100 meter excessive (330 toes) rock cliff that’s recognized for its waterfalls that resemble tears as they cascade down the mountain. Naturally, the principle waterfall is known as, Teardrop.
Massive Bend Peak
115 km from Lake Louise
You’ll be able to’t miss our subsequent cease. Whenever you look out your window, you’ll need to get out of the automobile for this view! This flip alongside the drive has a pull off the place you will get out and have a look at the huge valley surrounded by jagged peaks. It’s our favorite viewpoint on the Icefields parkway.
Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre
128 km from Lake Louise
That is the cease you’ve all been ready for! Columbia Icefield is the principle attraction on the Icefields Parkway. The guests centre is situated the place Banff Nationwide Park and Jasper Nationwide Park meet. Within the Columbia Icefield Customer Middle you may go to the museum, seize some lunch (meals is pricey although so be ready) and take within the views of the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier. You’ll be able to guide excursions right here as nicely.
Excursions refill shortly, so chances are you’ll need to guide prematurely, however you will get on them (in case you are fortunate on the final minute.
The most effective adventures we ever had was heading out on to the Athabasca Glacier. You’ll be able to guide a snowcat tour to take you out to see the crevasses and ice caves. The Icefield are the biggest non polar ice fields on the earth, and if you end up out on the glacier, you actually really feel how huge it’s.
You’ll be able to stroll out on some trails for a better view of the glacier, however don’t ever enterprise out on it alone with no information. That is the scariest glacier we’ve ever been on. Trying right into a crevasse (whereas on a tour) was scary.
- E book this Columbia Icefield Half Day Tour here from Jasper. It consists of transportation from Jasper, picture stops at Athabasca Falls and Stutfield Glacier, Ice Cat tour of the Athabasca Glacier and the Icefield Skywalk with lunch!
I’ll admit, I assumed the glacier Skywalk was going to be a bit tacky, however it was implausible! It’s the latest attraction on the Icefields Parkway the place a glass flooring juts out over the Sunwapta Valley. It’s excessive at 280 metres (918 toes) above the valley, so individuals afraid of heights is perhaps slightly nervous. The 1km walkway has some interperative stops alongside the best way and guides can be found to reply your questions, however the piece de resistance, is the glass walkway providing spectacular views of the valley.
- You’ll be able to guide tickets straight on the Guests Centre and buses depart from there.
177 km from Lake Louse
Congratulations, you’ve gotten now entered Jasper Nationwide Park. One other Canadian treasure. Because you’ve had a number of adventures on the Glacier Skywalk and customer’s middle you’ve gotten a little bit of time to calm down in your drive. Get a cappuccino to go earlier than leaving the customer’s centre to get pleasure from alongside the best way earlier than you cease on the subsequent stunning viewpoint.
Sunwapta Falls has strolling trails and a bridge to see the 18 metres (60 foot) cascade from completely different viewpoints. It’s a formidable and loud waterfall certainly!
200 km from Lake Louse
Athabasca Falls is one other attractive view and is your final cease on the Icefields Parkway earlier than reaching the city of Jasper. Like most of the stops on the parkway, there are strolling trails to supply completely different viewpoints. The large quantity of water from the Athabasca River is pressured via a slim gorge creating an immense circulation of water over the 23 meter (75 toes) waterfalls. Spectacular certainly.
City of Jasper
The final cease on the Icefield’s Parkway is the city of Jasper. It is a very good locations to make a house base for a few days. Jasper Nationwide Park has an abundance of issues to do. (keep tuned tomorrow once we let you know what!) So, guide a room on the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and keep awhile.
Ideas for Driving the Icefields Parkway
It’s best to drive the Icefields Parkway in the summertime months. Winter driving might be treacherous and trails are usually not maintained.
There is just one gasoline station on the Icefields Parkway on the Saskatchewan River Crossing so be sure you refill earlier than leaving Lake Louise or Jasper.
The Icefields Parkway Guests Centre is Shut from late October to mid April. Which means, there aren’t any glacier excursions, or Glacier Skywalk.
The Icefield’s Parkway might be pushed from Lake Louise to Jasper in 3 hours, straight shot. However it may take a few days to discover everythign listed above. Particularly if you’ll guide an Athabasca Glacier tour and the Glacier Skywalk go to.
The place to Keep on the Icefields Parkway
There are a couple of locations to remain on the Icefields Parkway. It’s restricted and you may simply do day journeys from Banff and Jasper. Additionally resorts are closed for the winter with them opening at numerous occasions between March and Might. If you wish to keep proper within the thick of issues to take advantage of out of exploring, listed here are the lodges situated straight on the Icefields Parkway.
Tenting on the Icefields Parkway
Tenting alongside the Icefields Parkway is on a primary come first serve foundation so if you wish to camp, we suggest attending to your campground of alternative at 3 pm sharp. (that’s the earliest check-in). Try is 11 am
The closest tenting to Lake Louise on the Glacier Parkway is Mosquito Creek Campground in Banff Nationwide Park.
The closest campgrounds to Jasper are Wapiti Campground and Whistlers Campground. Each are just some km from the city of Jasper.
The place to Eat on the Icefields Parkway
- Num Ti Jah Lodge has a eating room and cafe.
- The Crossing has a basic retailer to select up snacks. There’s additionally the Parkway Pub providing views of Mt. Sarbach and Mt. Murchison and you may seize lunch on the Crossing Café.
- The Guests Centre on the Columbia Icefield has a cafeteria to purchase meals, espresso for takeaway and snacks.
- Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge additionally has a restaurant.
And these are essentially the most wonderful stops in your highway journey from Banff to Jasper. You too can drive from Jasper to Banff, (we’ve carried out each!) and it’s wonderful to see the views from every finish of the Icefields Parkway.
For extra journey ideas for Alberta try the posts beneath.