The Icefields Parkway is a scenic road that links Lake Louise at the southern end to Jasper at the northern end, taking you through the heart of Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Here you will find a simply breath-taking landscape – soaring mountain peaks in every direction, gushing ice-fed rivers, sparkling turquoise lakes and majestic glaciers. The route extends to Banff via the Bow Valley Parkway, which runs parallel to the faster moving Highway 1, and the two Parkways combined are considered one of the most beautiful drives in Canada. There are many scenic spots and points of interest along the way so make sure you allow time for the following:
– Athabasca Falls: about 30 kilometres south of Jasper these impressive falls can be seen from various viewing platforms and walking trails.
– Sunwapta Falls: just slightly further south than the Athabasca Falls these falls have a drop of around 18 metres and are at their most impressive in spring and summer when the snow melt is at its peak.
– Columbia Icefields: the largest icefield south of the Arctic circle it’s possible to take a ride in a specially adapted vehicle out on to the impressive Athabasca Glacier.
– Big Hill and Big Bend: tucked in to a hairpin bend this spot offers a fantastic view of the Athabasca River valley and the towering mountains either side.
– Peyto Lake: a striking turquoise, glacier-fed lake nestled amongst the peaks. It is accessed by a short, uphill walking trail to Bow Summit, the highest point on the Icefields Parkway.
– Bow Lake: another sparkling lake, overlooked by Crowfoot Mountain and Mount Thompson and a great place to view the Crowfoot and Bow Glaciers.