The Icefields Parkway: More Than Just a Road
Many times, a 144 mile drive would seem pointless if there isn’t a worthwhile destination at the end. But the Icefields Parkway (HWY 93) is far from pointless. It's 144 miles of beauty found no where else. That's why we spent over 360 miles on this highway during our time in Banff & Jasper National Park.
When you begin your drive north from Banff National Park onto the Icefields Parkway, you will be resisting temptation to stop and take pictures after every turn. But don’t be distracted too easily. Before you know it, you may have spent your entire day chasing only a fraction of the beauty.
As you continue on, and the scenery changes, you'll be able to utilize the highway pullouts to capture the beauty. Your first lake will appear in the distance, Hector Lake.
Your second lake will be a better view, Bow Lake. Which you'll be able to view from the road, or the parking lot that provides a different angle. While there, you can even trek and get a closer look of Bow Glacier.
As you continue ahead, take a moment to turnout to Bow Summit and take the short wander to a lookout of Peyto Lake, and its jaw-dropping peaks. Don’t rush—the quick changing weather may reward you with a variety of views.
Once you have your Peyto Lake fix, continue back onto the highway and reengage in the Icefields Parkway beauty. But don’t get too comfortable in the driver’s seat, you will likely develop an urge to pull over at Waterfowl Lake too.
As the lakes taper off, continue your drive up to Jasper. You will be rewarded with more beautiful peaks and glaciers. If you get tired of driving, pull over and enjoy the views or take a walk to the Athabasca Glacier (noticing how much it has receded from 1982—it is impressive!).
Before entering Jasper, catch a glimpse of Sunwapta Falls.
Shortly after, park and take a stroll to check out Athabasca Falls and its canyon.
Once at Jasper, enjoy some refreshments in the quaint little town. When you’re ready to head back, don’t dread the miles. The road may be the same, but the new direction will add an enormous level of novelty.
So sit back, push that gas pedal and enjoy!
Written by Michael Demidenko. Photos also by Michael.
See more of Michael's adventures and photography on Instagram: @michael_goesoutside