Where to Stop Along Canada’s Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is over 140 miles of highway that travel through the Canadian Rocky Mountains and connect the town of Jasper to Lake Louise. It’s one of the most stunning road trips you would ever be able to take in your lifetime. Driving through forests, past glaciers and lakes, and taking in cascading waterfalls. There are so many points of interest along the drive that devoting a whole day to the journey (like we did for our trip) will not even be enough! So this is my list of Where to Stop Along Canada’s Icefields Parkway.
Since we had spent the day prior around the Jasper area we were working the Icefield Parkway moving south towards Lake Louise. Brewster offers bus tours along the parkway as well as other excursions, but like any good road trip this one is best discovered at your own pace. Renting a car is a great way to set your groups own itinerary, plus pack some snacks. Remember I’m all about food and a feeding schedule!
(Please ignore the very dirty windshield.)
“Meeting of the Waters”
Disclaimer. We didn’t take the whole length of the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise. Just south of Jasper is what locals have named the “old highway”, aka Highway 93A. It’s a narrower road, a little more “rustic”, but way less traffic then the Icefield Parkway.
About halfway down this majestic road was a pull-off that is named the “Meeting of the Waters”. This is the junction where the Athabasca River and the Whirlpool River come together.
Also, who said there wasn’t any white sand beaches in Canada?
Further down Highway 93A, where it meets back up with the Icefields Parkway is Athabasca Falls.
There are plenty of places to walk around the falls and get your camera wet with the mist coming from the water. But how stunning is it with the sun coming over Mount Kerkeslin in the background?
Jumping back on the Icefields Parkway, will lead to yet another waterfall, that being Sunwapta Falls.
Slightly smaller than it’s cousin, the Athabasca Falls, it has its own beauty with the addition of an island to split the flow of the river before the water tumbles over the edge.
Icefields Parkway Pull-offs
Now along this wonderful highway are numerous pull-offs that don’t necessarily lead to any hidden lake or waterfall, but just gives you a stunning view of the mountains and glaciers that make up Jasper and Banff National Parks. Always be ready to stop at one of these pull-offs (or be ready for the vehicle in front of you to) and take in the grandeur of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
They always make a great photo opportunity.
Tangle Creek Falls
Speaking of pull-offs along the Icefields Parkway, the Tangle Creek Falls are literally right off the highway. They are a great little pit stop, but please beware of all the traffic that may not be stopping to take in the sites.
“Hi Dad” (insert wave here!)
Columbia Icefield Glacier Center and Skywalk
A major tourist stop along the Icefields Parkway is the Columbia Icefield Glacier Center. From here you can sign up for a tour on an all-terrain vehicle that goes onto the Athabasca Glacier. My parent’s did this on there last visit to Canada 30 years ago.
This time, Dad and I signed up for the Glacier Skywalk tour, which is a glass-floored overlook, 918 feet above the Sunwapta Valley below.
It offered incredible panoramic views!
“Hi Dad” (insert wave here!) Again 🙂
If there was ever a “hidden gem” in the Where to Stop Along Canada’s Icefields Parkway, Mistaya Canyon is it. There is a trail to the north of the small parking area along the highway. From there a short trail through the forest goes to the river and canyon. But because the trail is slightly hidden and uphill on the way out, I feel it is often missed and that means less tourist traffic.
Which makes it a great place to just sit and take in all of the sights and sounds of nature.
“Hi Dad” (insert wave here!) Please don’t fall in!
Bow Summit and Peyto Lake
To get the perfect view of Peyto Lake you have to make a little hike (uphill) to get to the viewpoint at Bow Summit. But it is a beautiful capture, even if I was a bit winded from the climb by this point.
The lake is an insane shade of blue! Also can you see that the lake makes an outline of a wolf’s head?
Like I mentioned earlier, there are numerous pull-off spots along the Icefields Parkway, including a stop like this at Bow Lake.
Asking for a friend, but has anyone ever slid down on your butt from the top of a hill to the lake shore because you were trying to get the perfect ratio of water, wildflowers, trees, mountains and glaciers in your picture?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. Just for your information, I was cleaning dirt and pebbles out of my shorts for a while after that episode of gracefulness.
At the end of our Where to Stop Along Canada’s Icefields Parkway is the ever popular Lake Louise.
The lake is one of the busier spots on the journey, but for good reason. With the mountains in the background and the calm water. Mother Nature sure paints a pretty picture.
One last time…. “Hi Dad” (insert wave here!)
Lake Louise the perfect end to Canada’s Best Road Trip, the Icefields Parkway.