If you thought Canada was all moose, “eh” and maple syrup – think again. There is one road in Canada that will leave you breathless. The 232km Icefields Parkway.
One road that draws 100,000 vehicles per month with it’s towering mountains, icy blue lakes and shimmery crystal glaciers.
A road that is quite possibly the most scenic drive on earth and should be on your road trip bucket list.
Rated as one of the top drives in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North) links Lake Louise to Jasper in Alberta, Canada. The whole drive can be done within 3 hours.
But you won’t want to.
A road like this demands your time to explore, to stop, to photograph, to be in awe. And while there are numerous places for which you will be pulling the car over, here are our top 5 places to stop.
Icefields Parkway Top 5
1. Columbia Icefield / Athabasca Glacier
It’s an easy drive from Jasper to the largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains.
Make sure you park your car at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre and book a tour on the tank-like bus to the Athabasca Glacier. It’s a steep ride down to the glacier, but once parked you have free time to walk around.
But time is running out. The Athabasca Glacier has lost 60% of its volume in the last 170 years, and experts believe it will be completely gone within 70 years. So make sure you see it while you still can.
2. Water Falls
There are two waterfalls you want to step out of the car for, among the many.
A short drive from Jasper is this class 5 waterfall with a drop of 80 feet. Its turquoise sapphire water is spellbinding.
With a drop of 61 feet, the Sunwapta Falls consists of an upper and lower fall with a hike that will get you close enough to feel the mist.
3. Lake Louise
Lefroy Glacier melts into an impossibly scenic and mirror-smooth lake. One of the most romantic lakes to visit in the area, especially during snow season when the white-peaked mountains create a stunning and tranquil landscape.
4. Bow Lake
One of the most underestimated spots on the Icefields Parkway. You will find Bow Lake closer to the southern end at about an altitude of 6,299 feet. Its indescribable beauty is best captured under the setting sun.
As if a 10-minute hike through a snowy wonderland was not fun enough, when you reach an elevation of 6,102 feet you are rewarded at Bow Summit with the perfect view overlooking Peyto Lake.
It takes far more than 3 hours to witness all the beauty along the Icefields Parkway, the most scenic drive in Canada. My best tip is to divide and conquer.
Stay in Lake Louise or Banff and explore the southern stretch and follow it up with a stay in Jasper for the northern portion. But whichever way you do it, make sure the above 5 stops are at the top of your list.
Plan Your Trip to Alberta
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