The Icefields Parkway doesn’t need much introduction, but for those who don’t know it’s been named by National Geographic as one of the most scenic drives in the world. I was so excited to see and travel this road. The road starts just outside Lake Louise, heading north to the town of Jasper roughly 3.5 hours away – time is one thing that’s definitely changed my perspective – that’s nothing in terms of Canadian trips! Three and a half hours is the basic time, if you don’t stop to take in the sites or hikes – we did it in roughly 7 hours taking in all we could.
As we started from Canmore we took the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon where we “hiked” – more so walked to the Lower Falls. A well-trodden pathway carved out with boardwalks and bridges that make the most of the 30-45 min walk to the Lower Falls.
We continued on Bow Valley Parkway where we saw 3 different black bears on the different stretches of the road! We also stopped and saw elk not far from the road at all, on to Lake Louise and took the Icefields Parkway.
Snow and Lakes
Finally we made it, it did not disappoint. From huge snow peak mountains on the right hand side and lakes and rivers on the left. It really didn’t matter which side of the car you were on. We moved around every time we stopped so everyone got a chance to see everything.
We stopped at Bow Lake, hiked to Bow Summit to view Peyto Lake in two feet of snow!
Next we stopped at the Columbia Icefields and Athabasca Glacier which has lost 60% of its mass in the past 50 years. This was our last stop as we forgot snacks and were absolutely ravenous.
We made it to Jasper which is a beautiful small town where we heading to the Jasper Brewing Company for dinner (going to a brewery for dinner sounds odd right?). One of the best rated places around for food and we weren’t disappointed. They had everything from soft pretzels, tacos to Elk Carpaccio (not for the faint-hearted!). Given the name, obviously they did great craft beer they had insanely good cocktails too!
This is called an Indie Summer and I had probably one too many of them…
We only had one night in Jasper before heading back to Vancouver, I wish we could have stayed longer. There was a lot to see on the way in and around Jasper which unfortunately we didn’t get to do. There’s always next time. And on the way home we did go a little out of our way to Helmecken Falls outside Clearwater, BC.
I’d never thought I’d undertake such an adventure in such a short space of time. While you do need to be prepared, not everything needs to be planned to a tee.
While this has given me such passion for travel it’s also made me appreciate taking our time and having the space to do so. It will really stand to us for future planning and future trips.