In western Canada, a stretch of road known as the Icefields Parkway winds through some of Canada's most magnificent National Parks. Along this route are some of the most breathtaking views that Canada has to offer. Around every turn is another exhilarating view of the rocky mountains, vast emerald lakes, and an abundance of wildlife.
If you have been trying to figure out where to go for your next road trip, then call up a friend, pack up a car and head to Canada. This is a trip everyone should do at least once in their lifetime!
Where should you begin your journey?
The Icefields Parkway stretches 232 km (144 mi) from Jasper National Park to Lake Louise, and through Banff National Park as well. You can begin your journey at either of these places, but most opt to start in Jasper National Park.
Jasper is a beautiful park with many stunning views and hiking trails to embark on. If you are looking for a place to set up camp or book a hotel, this will be the best place. It is also a good idea to fill up your tank and stock up on snacks while you're here before hitting the Icefields Parkway.
The first must-see is Athabasca falls, a roaring waterfall that features a 23 m.(75 ft.) foot drop. The icy water from this fall, spills into the Athabasca river that runs along the Icefields Parkway. Not only is this waterfall a gorgeous photo opportunity, but there are also some great hikes through the canyon located just on the other side of the road.
Another jawdropping site on your journey is the Columbia Icefield, surrounded by glaciers and there are many different options when it comes to things you can do here (besides taking in the incredible view of course).
A hike on Wilcox Pass Trail will take you to the best place for viewing. However, it is a somewhat challenging hike, especially during winter, so make sure you are prepared.
If you are willing to spend a bit of money, (and aren't afraid of heights) definitely consider the Glacier Sky Walk. It is a glass-floor platform that juts out 280 m (918 ft.) over the Sunwapta valley. This gives you an optimal viewing opportunity and is quite the experience.
There's nothing like gazing at vast lake filled with sea-glass green water -Peyto Lake provides just that. As the sun heats the surrounding glaciers in the summer, tiny particles break off and fall. This is what causes the water in Peyto to appear as such a vibrant blue/green wonder.
*The best place for viewing this beautiful body of water is from Bow Summit. Don't worry, the trail to get here is marked!
If you're looking to stop off and take rest, and maybe even go for a swim, then you will definitely want to stop at Lake Louise. It is not only a beautiful lake, but also offers fun things to do such as kayaking and cycling. This, however, is one of the more touristy spots so be sure to plan accordingly!
And just like that, you've traveled one of Canada's national treasures!
This journey can be made in a day, or can last over multiple days, depending on how slow you want to take it. However, if you really want to take it all in, try and spend at least 2 days out here. There are so many more incredible sites to see and hiking trails you won't want to miss.
As you travel the Parkway, always be on the look out for wildlife. No matter where you are, you will likely stumble across a creature you've never seen before.
From Jasper to Banff National Park
and everything in between, the Icefield Parkway journey will be one of the most scenic road trips you'll ever take.