Linking Lake Louise with Jasper, Alberta is one of the most beautiful journeys on the planet – the Icefields Parkway. Rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller, the Icefields Parkway is a 232 km stretch of highway winding along the Continental Divide past soaring mountain peaks and vast sweeping valleys. Many points of interest include pristine turquoise lakes and tumbling waterfalls, ancient glaciers and the Columbia Icefield.
Also known as Highway 93 North, The Icefields Parkway offers a plethora of points of interest with opportunities to see lakes, mountains, view points, waterfalls and wildlife between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park.
The Mount Robson Inn in Jasper and sister hotel, the Mountaineer Lodge in Lake Louise offer specials and packages for you to book end your Icefields Parkway experience.
The parkway is busy in July and August with up to 100,000 vehicles a month. The parkway is mainly two lanes with occasional passing lanes. It minimizes grades and hairpin turns but travellers must look out for wildlife, and vehicles stopped on the shoulder. Snow can be expected at any time of year and extreme weather is common in winter.
A Canadian national parks permit is required to travel on the Icefields Parkway; stations near Lake Louise and Jasper enforce the law. Commercial trucks are prohibited. The speed limit is 90 km/h (55 mph) although the limit is reduced at Saskatchewan River Crossing and the Columbia Icefield area. In winter, chains or all-season radial tires are required by law and road closures are not uncommon.
Icefields Parkway Travel Guide - click here to download this excellent Icefields Parkway map which features points of interest, travel tips, even places to stop and picnic in the Canadian Rockies, Alberta Canada
Motorcycle Riding the Icefields Parkway – Stay at Mountaineer Lodge, Lake Louise and Stay at Mount Robson Inn, Jasper, Alberta
Points of Interest
One of the most visited and photographed lakes in the world, Lake Louise is home to the world-renowned Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. First called Emerald Lake, the lake’s name was later changed to Lake Louise after Princess Caroline Alberta Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of Canada’s Governor General.
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Known for its unbelievable aquamarine blue water and famed for its portrayal on past Canadian currency. Moraine Lake, which shines like a gem on sunny days, is best viewed from vantage points along the hike that leads from a well-marked parking lot.
Mount Victoria Glacier, Banff National Park
Named in 1897 to honour Queen Victoria, this stunning glacier forms the beautiful backdrop of Lake Louise. The glacier, lying on the eastern slopes facing the lake, is
known for its summer avalanches, which cascade into the narrow gorge below.
Hector Lake, Banff National Park
The largest natural lake in Banff National Park, about 30 kilometres north of Lake Louise. Hector Lake is framed by Pulpit Peak and Crowfoot Mountain, both part of the Waputik Range. It gets its beautiful colour from the rock flour suspended in the water.
Crowfoot Glacier and Bow Lake, Banff National Park
Named because in the early 1900s it had three “toes” resembling the foot of a crow. In the 1930s, the lower “toe” broke off and has since melted away. Crowfoot Glacier is on the south end of Bow Lake, nestled into Crowfoot Mountain.
Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
One of the most photographed lakes on the Icefields Parkway, Peyto Lake is known for its brilliant robin-egg blue colour. The reflection of neighbouring Mistaya Valley makes it an inspiring view point.
Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park
After the road curves around on the valley floor, you will climb a hill which offers a collection of superior look out points, including Bridal Veil Falls.
Columbia Icefields & Snowdome, Jasper National Park
The Icefields are approximately 325 square metres is 100 to 365 metres (328 to 1,197 ft) in depth and receives up to seven metres (275 in) of snowfall per year. The icefield feeds eight major glaciers in the area. Part of the ice field is visible from the Parkway. If you are interested in accessing more of the glacier we recommend taking a tour on the Icefields Explorer SnowCoach.
Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park
Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park
Opportunities to see elk, moose, goats, sheep, bears and caribou along the Icefields Parkway are excellent. Remember that watching wildlife, especially beside the road, comes with responsibility. For your protection and their survival, please:
- pull off the road completely or into provided roadside pull-offs;
- never feed or approach wildlife, this is unlawful in national parks;
- don’t get out of your vehicle (use a telephoto lens to get the ‘perfect picture’);
- quickly continue along your way so that others may enjoy the opportunity also.
The Mount Robson Inn is pleased to offer special hotel discounts year round for guests who wish to stay two nights at our Jasper hotel and two nights at the Mountaineer Lodge our Lake Louise hotel. Make the most of your Canadian Rockies vacation by book-ending your Icefields Parkway experience in Jasper and Banff National Parks. Check out our Canadian Rockies Road Trip Package today.