The Icefields Parkway is a brilliant stretch of road between Jasper and Lake Louise. Along this Parkway stands brilliant attractions one can’t resist.
Visiting here is like a day in paradise. The Parkway holds more than 100 ancient glaciers, gushing waterfalls, incredible rocks, pristine lakes, and dense forests.
Wildlife lovers can explore Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. You must stop here for hiking or to explore the beautiful surroundings. Canada never fails to surprise us, just like offering Icefields Parkway.
Every city or town in Canada has its top attractions. But what about these beautiful areas we miss out on. This article answers every query on how to explore Icefields Parkway. Have a good read.
How to Explore Icefields Parkway
How to Reach Icefields Parkway?
Before going into details on Icefields Parkway, let’s know how to reach there first. Icefields Parkway road remains open one year-round. In winter, due to heavy snowfall, all tourist attractions are closed here. Often the road remains closed due to unpredictable weather in winter.
Icefields Parkway is a few km drives from the west of Banff. From Calgary, it’s a two and a half hours journey while from Edmonton it’s a 30-minute drive. The Parkway spreads for 230 km and takes 3 hours to complete it. But tourists spend more time here due to eye-catchy attractions.
Best Time to Visit Icefields Parkway?
The road remains open the whole. But the main time to visit is from May to October. Avoid peak winter times.
Winters bring unpredictable weather and heavy snowfall. The Parkway remains open, but the park attractions stay closed. Car access is usually denied in winters.
Rocky mountains don’t have definite weather. Temperature changes drastically from day to evening.
The best time to visit is from June to September when the heat is average. You can explore the park well. These months offer favorable road conditions and wildlife watching. The temperature
June and September offer cold temperatures. During August, the Parkway is mostly crowded. Snowfall occurs from mid-October.
Accommodations in Icefields Parkway remain closed from November to April. If you wish to explore the Athabasca Glacier Ice Adventure, it opens from April to October.
The spring and autumn weathers may stun you. Though these seasons still may receive heavy snowfall. Summer offers dry and sunny days. But higher elevations receive light snow and rain.
Temperatures are below freezing point from November to April. It is best to ignore these months.
Are There Any Nearby Restaurants?
It is advised to bring your lunch or snacks. There are many scenic points nearby to sit and have a proper picnic. Only a few food outlets are available. You may not like them. Food prices are hyped.
The restaurants at Saskawetch Crossing serves mediocre food. At the same time, Icefields Parkway Visitor Centre serves costly food.
During summers, these places remain crowded. There is also a small store, but the items are overpriced. Near Lake Louise is Num Ti Jah Lodge has a restaurant that offers luxury dining. Stope there for a coffee or pie.
Travel Facts About Icefields Parkway
1. A Glacier or Icefield?
You really cannot explore a hundred glaciers in one day. There are over hundreds of glaciers to explore. This trip lets you walk over glaciers. As the journey ends at Columbia Icefield, you can walk on Athabasca Glacier.
The best part is you can walk both on a glacier and the icefield.
Several interconnected glaciers together form icefields. Water from Columbia Icefields flows into three major oceans, The Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic. Thus, Icefields Parkway offers both icefields and glaciers. You can enjoy both.
2. A Historical Journey
The massive ancient icefield keeps on keeps on shifting and forms unusual sculpted geography. Glaciers are moving at a fast rate.
These are like an alarm to us. On Icefields Parkway, the Athabasca Glacier is retreating from its base point since the 1990s.
The Columbia Icefields keep on getting shallow with high density. It’s as deep as the Empire State Building. A historical journey for over 100 years. And also a matter of concern. However, it hasn’t harm any tourists. The Parkway is still the best place to visit.
3. The Glacier Skywalk
A trip to Icefields Parkway is incomplete without Glacier Skywalk. The Glacier Skywalk is a must-try one that offers incredible scenic views.
The skywalk starts from the Discovery Center. Monster ice bus reaches you at this point. The skywalk hangs at the bottom with glass over the valley offers a panoramic view.
Accommodations in Icefields Parkway
Accommodations in Icefields Parkway are limited due to environmental impact. Accommodations are not much luxurious but just a basic motel. Since the Parkway is an isolated location, prices are high for mountaineer lodge.
Guesthouses are available in Saskatchewan Crossing, Icefields Visitor Center, and Sunwapta Falls. Num Ti Jah Lodge is the most expensive among all.
Further from Jasper, Baker Chalets offer cabin-style accommodation. Beauty Creek, Hilda Creek, Rampart Creek, and Mosquito Creek has hoteling style accommodation. They are no electricity and water sources.
Campsites along the Parkway provide first come first served service. You need to arrive early in summer to book a camp.
Campsites are available in Mosquito Creek, Waterfowl Lake, Rampart Creek, Wilcox Creek, and Columbia Icefields. Few have washrooms and water sources, while others have toilet pits.
Campsites near Lake Louise and Jasper remain fully booked in summer. Plan thoroughly before coming here. It’s better to have one round trip. Stay back can cost you more.
Exploring Icefields Parkway: Quick Facts
- Icefields Parkway spreads for over 325 km, making it the largest ice body in the Rocky Mountains.
- The Parkway is Mount Columbia’s highest point standing at 3745 meters.
- The road was built under Public Works Depression Relief project.
- The road construction took nine years long from 1931 to 1940.
- More than 2000 unemployed men had built this Parkway.
- Instead of machinery, hand tools were used for construction.
- Eight years were taken to complete 33 km of road by hand tools.
- It receives an average rainfall of 23 feet per year.
- The average height is 10,000 feet.
- The waters wonderfully drain into the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.
How is the Road?
The Icefields Parkway is a full surfaced widespread road. You’ll pass through scenic landscapes and mighty mountain passes. An incredible sight, much better than your expectations. An easy drive with a few steep areas. Large RV’s can easily access here.
From above, you may have got the idea of how to reach Icefields Parkway. Let’s explore the top attractions in Icefields Parkway. These attractions fall along the parkway. There are picnic spots, beautiful lakes, and many others. The main attractions are the scenic roadways and Banff National Park.
Icefields Parkway: Top 15 Places to Explore
1. Incredible Roadway
The parkway never fails to live up to the expectations. It’s the number one attraction in Banff National Park. The roadway is a beautiful stretch of land that offers overwhelming drives in the world. One cannot just explore its complete beauty in just a day.
An ideal spot to try out long drives. You need to look outside the window to feel every scenic spot. From Banff to Jasper National Park, the road gives breathtaking views. Capture those captivating scenes in your cameras. And cherish them forever.
Watch the ancient glaciers, majestic mountain peaks, pristine lakes, and mesmerizing waterfalls through the drive itself.
Icefields Parkway is an incredible drive that stretches for