Arguably one of the most beautiful drives in Canada is the Icefields Parkway.
Winding its way through the mountains offering breathtaking views at every turn, this is a drive everyone should be lucky enough to experience. It’s one of Canada’s national treasures and most rewarding destinations!
Sweeping valleys, mountain peaks, pristine lakes, ancient glaciers and diverse wildlife make up the backdrop of the Icefields Parkway; with roadside stops all along the way to offer picture perfect lookouts. Built in 1940, the highway follows along the Alberta/British Columbia border, stretching 232km through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and crosses two national parks paving the way between the towns of Banff and Jasper.
At the beginning of your drive be sure to stop in at Lake Louise, where the pristine blue water meets the edges of surrounding mountains. The highway also takes travelers right by the Columbia Icefields, also known as the Athababasca Glacier where during the summer visitors can travel onto the 325-km² glaciers in a large ‘snowcoach’ to witness the glacier up close.
Other notable stops between Lake Louise and Jasper are:
Bow Summit and Peyto Lake
Saskatchewan River Crossing
Sunwapta Pass and Sunwapta Falls
A Canadian National Parks permit is required to travel on the Icefields Highway meaning tolls are enforced. But don’t worry about commercial trucks, as they are prohibited along the highway. Also be sure to gas up before leaving, as there is only one gas station (open seasonally) at the Saskatchewan River Crossing, and due to severe weather there are often road closures, so be sure to check reports before heading out.
Don’t let this experience escape you; the natural beauty you witness along the way is second to none! Visit www.icefieldsparkway.ca for more details.