The Icefields Parkway has long been hailed as one of the most epic road trips on this planet, and those of you who read this know that I love an epic road trip. I was eager to see pristine lakes, gorgeous falls and hopefully many wild animals along the way between Lake Louise and Jasper. The roads between these two amazing parks are simply stunning just to drive. Wildlife corridors over the freeway are almost a work of art that allow not just animals, but trees and other scenery to spill over the freeway at regular intervals, blending the roads and the park in an absolutely beautiful way.
Our first spot along the road was a little lake we were tipped off to by one our guide horseback riding at Lake Louise, Peyto Lake. This is perhaps the most photographed lake on the parkway, with absolutely incredible colored water. You may have to fight for a good spot for a view among the tourists pouring from buses, but this is well worth the wait to snag the perfect shot.
Staring into the glare on the Athabasca glacier.
Next we continued up towards Jasper and passed the lovely “Weeping Wall,” briefly paused for pictures, and continued to the most popular stop along our route: the Glacier Center. This is a well-developed tourist center complete with a restaurant, souvenir shop and shuttles to the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier. Once on the glacier you get to ride one of the world’s few Ice Explorer shuttles (developed for Antarctic adventures) then wander around a roped off section of the glacier, and head back to the Glacier Center. After walking on the glacier, you are transported to the Glacier Walk just down the road to stroll along a clear bridge and enjoy views of the glacier while balanced on what can only be described as an architectural wonder.
Views from the Glacier Walkway.
The next sights we stopped in on were the two big falls along our trek, Sunwapta and Athabasca falls. Both were gorgeous, and Athabasca falls has some gorgeous canyons with cutaways in the rock from years of erosion and changes in river flow.
The stunning Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls
From here we went to Horseshoe Lake, this small lake was a perfect mirror and just a short walk from the car. Away from the crowds, and not visited by buses, this was the perfect spot for Martje and I to reflect, and relax, before heading to our hotel in Jasper.
For a great map of sight along the parkway, visit: https://icefieldsparkway.com/maps