Icefields Parkway is a 230 kilometers (143 mi) long route as a part of highway 93, which runs along Lake Louise in Banff National Park and Lake Jasper in Jasper National Park. It is one of the most beautiful roads to drive in the entire world. This is not merely an empty phrase, because the route through the Canadian Rocky Mountains offers a picturesque landscape and is a one of a kind drive.
Attractions along the way
Leaving Lake Louise driving north on Icefields Parkway you will find lots of different points of interest, for example the Bow Pass. The top of the pass lies at 2088 meters (2283.5 yd) and marks the highest point on this route. Further up north you will drive by Sunwapta Pass. This pass lies at about 2030 meters (2220 yd) and marks the smooth crossover of the two National Parks.
Worth seeing is definitely the Peyto Lake, which lies directly at Icefields Parkway. The lake has a rather unusual turquoise-blue color and is certainly worth your while. The best way to enjoy the beautiful lake is to park your car and walk up to the look-out point above the lake. From there you have a magnificent view onto the lake and its surrounding landscape.
The settlement Saskatchewan River Crossing is the only possible stop to get gas and food on this long route. If you do not want to drive 230 kilometers non-stop, you should definitely make a stop here. Bring some snacks along the way and once you find a beautiful spot, sit down and enjoy the landscape while having a small picnic.
The main attraction on this drive is the Columbia Icefield, which gave the parkway its name. From the street you cannot really see the Icefield, but you can see the Athabasca Glacier, which is a big part of the Columbia Icefield. The Icefield covers 325 squared kilometers (125.5 mi) and is without a doubt a must-see.
If you move on from the Columbia Icefield, you will shortly after pass the Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls. The Sunwapta River drops onto two levels down 23 meters (25.15 yd). The exact same spectacle with the Athabasca River is a little further away. The two beautiful waterfalls can be visited on nicely developed hiking trails.
How to get there
Icefields Parkway is a route as part of highway 93, which runs along Lake Louise and Lake Jasper. Starting in Calgary you take Highway 1, which leads you directly to Banff National Park and to Lake Louise. From there you simply follow the signs onto Highway 93. Driving down Highway 93 northward you will end up on Icefields Parkway.