The Amazing Icefields Parkway

It’s 5:00 am, I have my McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and Tea in hand, the car is gassed up and we are ready to tackle the Icefields Parkway!

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This is considered to be a drive of a lifetime and I could not agree more! Around every corner and bend in the road is another spectacular view, each one better then the last. We devoted the entire day to exploring the parkway as we made our way into Jasper National Park, and we just barley scratched the surface of all there is to see and do.

The following is a list of my favourite jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring stops in order heading north along the parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper.

#1 – Crowfoot Glacier

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# 2 – Peyto Lake

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We arrived at this stop very early in the morning and parked our car next to the only other car in the large parking lot. It took us about 15 mins. to climb uphill to the summit at Bow lake and see the amazing turquoise lake.

#3 –  Waterfowl Lake

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# 4 – Mistaya Canyon

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We were again the only people here and for some reason I became very aware of our solitude in the forest on our way down to the canyon. The sounds of cracking branches, and scurrying feet was a little unnerving, so we added our own sounds by whistling and clapping our hands… sounds silly now, but you never know what you might encounter out in the Canadian Rockies and we did not want to come face to face with a bear with no one to help us out.

#5 – Athabasca Glacier

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We arrived at the Columbia Icefields center around 10:00 and it was already starting to get busy. Here you can take in the amazing views of the Athabasca Glacier, buy tickets for a tour in an Ice Explorer or just stop for a washroom/food break.

# 6 – Sunwapta Falls

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#7 –  Athabasca Falls

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These were my favourite stops along the way but there are hundreds more. If you are considering a trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this drive should definitely be added to your itinerary. We completed our drive/stops in a day but you could spend more time here if you wanted to do some hiking/camping along the parkway.

My (not very original) tips for driving the Icefields Parkway:

  • Fill your gas tank before you head out as there is only one gas station along the parkway, and it is expensive.
  • Start early! Our first stops were much more peaceful as we were the only people there. By late morning tourists flood all the major locations and although its still nice, the tranquility of the quiet forest is lost to the hoards of people trying to snap a picture.
  • Take your time, don’t worry if you miss something. There is so much to see but if you try to do it all, you probably won’t enjoy it.
  • Bring something to eat… because food is always good!

Thanks for sharing this amazing adventure with me!!

                             – Kiera

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