Scenic & Spectacular: The Icefields Parkway

Jun 07, 2013
It is difficult not to be impressed by this highway that transcends the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies. Featuring some of the most gorgeous and breathtaking scenery you can experience by road, the Icefields Parkway stretches for 232km/144mi through the heart of Jasper and Banff National Parks meandering its way along the Continental Divide. You could easily be distracted by its crystal blue alpine lakes, steep and sharp cliff faces and natural unspoiled beauty. There are no traffic lights here. No cell reception. No Wi-Fi signal. Its just you- moving through surreal tranquility.

With plenty of hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic areas to choose your own adventure the vast wilderness will have your attention long after you’ve completed the journey whether you’re driving yourself or taking one of our coach tours. This wildlife corridor offers exceptional opportunities to see elk, moose, goats, sheep, bears and caribou (but be sure to exercise caution and wildlife safety if you do).

Over 100 glaciers are visible on the way, with the biggest (and literally largest) draw card on the Icefields Parkway being the magnificent Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefields. Surrounded by some of the region’s highest mountain peaks including Mt Columbia rising over 3600m/12000ft above sea level, the icefields averages over seven metres (23 feet) of snowfall every year. Covering 325km² / 200mi², its depth can reach over 350m/1150ft – that’s as high as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France!  And despite its relatively remote location, the Columbia Icefields is responsible for feeding rivers and streams that flow into the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans during the summer.

You can experience the excitement of walking on this ancient glacier by boarding the purpose-built Ice Explorers as part of Explore Rockies Glacier Adventure Packages. It’s not very often you walk on a glacier, let alone one that feeds three major oceans. We recommend taking an empty bottle so you can fill it with fresh, clean, untreated glacial water- tap water is good, but it’s not glacier good!

You can read more about this natural wonder at the Icefield Discovery Centre. Examine its’ history, from first discovery in the late 19th Century, to how it continually shapes and sculpts its environment. You can relax in comfort at the Glacier View Inn afterwards, right at the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. If you’re concerned about missing it, don’t be. It’s the only building on the road.

Find out more about packages that include this roadway by talking to one of our expert Vacation Planners on 1-877-791-5500 or through our LiveChat function. We can bundle tours, attractions and hotels into one complete vacation.

    Icefields Parkway Overnight Adventure
    Alpine Explorer from Vancouver or Calgary
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