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17 Best Stops Along the Icefields Parkway In 2023

17 Best Stops Along the Icefields Parkway In 2023


Alberta’s Icefields Parkway is certainly one of the most stunning drives in Canada. Also often known as Highway 93 North, this scenic street stretches between Lake Louise and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. The Icefields Parkway Drive is understood for its gorgeous views of glaciers, turquoise lakes, and towering mountains attracting guests from round the world.

Where Is the Icefields Parkway?

Watch our video of the greatest stops alongside the Icefields Parkway on YouTube

Starting in Banff National Park and ending in Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada, the Icefields Parkway is barely 293 km (182 miles) and might be achieved in a day, however it is going to be the busiest day you’ve ever had. So as a substitute, make a base in Jasper or Banff, and take your time to discover all of those wonderful stops on the Icefields Parkway.

To get to the Icefields Parkway, you’ll both be flying into Edmonton or Calgary Alberta. The nearest worldwide airports are Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Edmonton International Airport (YEG). From both airport, you’ll be able to lease a automobile and drive to the begin of the Icefields Parkway.

By Car: If you’re coming from Calgary, take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) west to Lake Louise. The Icefields Parkway begins simply west of Lake Louise. If you’re coming from Edmonton, you’d take Highway 16 west to Jasper, and the Icefields Parkway begins simply south of Jasper.

By Bus: There are bus companies that function from Calgary and Edmonton to Banff and Jasper, respectively. From there, you possibly can doubtlessly be a part of a tour or rent a automobile to drive the Icefields Parkway.

Always examine street situations earlier than you allow. If you might be driving in winter, be sure you have good winter tires as winter climate could make driving hazardous and even shut the street fully.

Parks Canada Pass

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Remember {that a} legitimate park go is required to journey on the Icefields Parkway, because it runs by nationwide parkland. Also, the Parkway is in a distant space with restricted companies, so be sure that your car is in good situation, and it’s advisable to hold some emergency provides equivalent to meals and water, and blankets in the winter.

When driving to Lake Louise, you’ll need to buy an entrance go from Parks Canada to the National Park which is $10 per individual per day. If you’re going to be spending a number of days in the parks, it’s price it to purchase a Parks Discovery Pass at the Parks Canada web site that prices $139 for a household or $69 per individual. This provides limitless entry to Canada’s nationwide parks from coast to coast for 12 months! You should purchase this on-line right here.

If you might be simply going for a day or two, you should purchase your go at the entrance on the freeway when getting into Banff National Park from Calgary. Okay, now that now we have the logistics of attending to Banff prepared, let’s begin our Icefields Parkway street journey!

Stops alongside the Icefields Parkway Map

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Follow these stops alongside the Icefields Parkway map right here.

The Icefields Parkway begins in Lake Louise, a small city in the center of Banff National Park. It is 2 hours from the Calgary airport to Lake Louise. We all the time ebook a automobile rental to be prepared once we land in Calgary beginning our Alberta journey instantly as soon as we depart the airport.

Best Stops Along The Icefields Parkway Itinerary

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This Alberta street journey is so as of stops from Lake Louise to the city of Jasper. The Icefields Parkway connects Banff and Jasper National Parks and it’s a street journey by the Canadian Rockies that you simply’ll always remember. I hope this helps you when planning your Icefields Parkway journey! Enjoy your journey – the Icefields Parkway is taken into account certainly one of the most stunning drives in the world!

1. Lake Louise

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Located inside Banff National Park, Lake Louise is certainly one of the most well-known stops in all of Canada (not to mention Alberta). The stunning turquoise waters of Lake Louise sit under the imposing Victoria Glacier looming overhead. Located immediately in entrance of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise lodge, there are climbing trails to soak up the view from all instructions and you may canoe on Lake Louise. (A bucket record merchandise for Canada vacationers)

When taking your drive alongside the Icefields Parkway, we advise leaving Lake Louise at dawn so you will get to the iconic lakes alongside the drive in the morning earlier than the crowds and whereas the reflections are greatest.

If you’ll be able to spend a day or two in Banff National Park or Lake Louise, do it! There are so many issues to see and do right here. We suggest the Fairmont Chateau Louise or Deer Lodge for lodging in Lake Louise.

You can learn extra details about Banff Lake Louise right here:

crowfoot glacier stops along the Icefields Parkway
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30 Minutes – 32 km (21 Miles) from Lake Louise or 2 hr/14 minutes – 196km from Jasper

The first cease you’ll come two out of Lake Louise is the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint. Crowfoot Glacier received its title from the proven fact that it’s formed like three claws of a crow. Located on Crowfoot Mountain, it appears over Bow Lake. Don’t take too lengthy right here at Crowfoot Glacier, as a result of you’re going to need to get to your subsequent cease which is Bow Lake.

3. Bow Lake

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half-hour from Lake Louise 39 km (24 miles) or 194km 2hr and 14 min from Jasper

The subsequent cease you come to is the spectacular viewpoint of Bow Lake. Just half-hour up Highway 93 from the Trans Canada Highway in Lake Louise, you’ll need to time your drive to reach right here when the solar is up. Bow Lake is positioned at the foot of the Bow Summit which displays completely in the nonetheless waters of Bow Lake. There are trails alongside the shores of the lake for higher views, so be sure you get out of your automobile and enterprise out to see it.

From Bow Lake, you’ll be able to see Crowfoot Glacier and Bow Glacier each of that are the sources of the Bow River and is a lovely cease with mountains and glaciers in the backdrop. The lake is correct subsequent to the parkway, and there’s a parking space for Num-Ti-Jah Lodge the place you’ll be able to cease and discover the lake’s shore.

4. Bow Glacier Falls Hike

Bow Glacier Falls in Banff Canada
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half-hour from Lake Louise 39 km (24 miles) or 194km 2hr and 14 min from Jasper

This hike affords stunning views of Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, and finally the spectacular Bow Glacier Falls. The waterfall is fed by meltwater from the Bow Glacier, which is a part of the Wapta Icefield.

Here are the particulars of the hike:

Trailhead: The path begins from the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge parking zone on the Icefields Parkway, simply by Bow Lake. Distance: The round-trip hike to Bow Glacier Falls is about 9 km (5.6 miles). Elevation Gain: The path has a reasonable elevation achieve of about 155 meters (510 ft). Difficulty: The hike is mostly thought-about reasonable. The path begins off simple round the lake, however it turns into rocky and uneven with a light incline as you get nearer to the falls. Good footwear is really useful. Estimated Time: It usually takes about 3-4 hours to finish the spherical journey, relying in your tempo and the way lengthy you spend at the falls. Scenery: The path gives views of the strikingly blue Bow Lake and the surrounding mountain peaks. The path then leads you towards the head of the lake and up towards Bow Glacier Falls. The last vacation spot is a close-up view of the waterfall cascading down from the glacier above. On a sunny day, you may even see a rainbow in the mist of the waterfall.

5. Num Ti Jah Lodge

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half-hour from Lake Louise 39 km (24 miles) or 194km 2hr and 14 min from Jasper

Located immediately at Bow Lake, this historic lodge is an efficient place to spend the nigh if you wish to actually spend time photographing Bow Lake in the morning or night. The historic lodge dates again to the Twenties. It’s a country expertise and the eating room is stuffed with outdated taxidermy heads of wildlife in the Elk Lodge. Choose it for an attention-grabbing keep in Alberta and an early begin on the Icefields Parkway.

Check out the lodging right here. See our decisions for the place to remain in Banff right here.

6. Peyto Lake

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44 km (27 miles) from Lake Louise or 190 km – 2hrs and 14 min from Jasper

Peyto Lake is the hottest lake cease alongside the Icefields Parkway. From the parking zone, hike as much as the Peyto Lake Viewpoint and as much as the Bow Summit. At 2,088 meters (6,800 ft) for the greatest views of the vivid turquoise colors of this glacier lake. Cool reality, that is the highest elevation on the drive and it’s the highest elevation crossed by a public street in Canada. (it actually doesn’t really feel that prime if you end up there although.

7. Mistaya Canyon

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75 km from Lake Louise or 158 km and 1hr 53min from Jasper

Mistaya Canyon is a lovely geological formation alongside the Icefields Parkway, near Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The Canyon has been carved out over hundreds of years by the Mistaya River, and the water move has created a singular, deep canyon with easy, swirling rock partitions.

The hike to Mistaya Canyon is comparatively quick and fairly simple, making it a preferred cease for these touring alongside the Parkway. Here are some particulars about the hike:

Trailhead: The trailhead to Mistaya Canyon is conveniently positioned off the Icefields Parkway. There’s a parking zone from the place the path begins. Distance and Difficulty: The hike is about 0.5 km (0.3 miles) every approach, or 1 km (0.6 miles) spherical journey, with a light descent into the canyon. It’s rated as simple, making it accessible for most individuals. Time: The whole stroll might be accomplished in about 30-45 minutes, however it’s possible you’ll need to spend extra time for pictures or simply to take pleasure in the view. Features: The path leads by a forest earlier than opening as much as the canyon. The canyon itself is slender and deep, with the fast-moving Mistaya River working by it. There’s a bridge that crosses the canyon, providing a wonderful viewpoint.

8. Saskatchewan River Crossing

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79 km from Lake Louise or 153 km and 1hr 49min from Jasper

After viewing the lake, our subsequent place to see is the Saskatchewan River Crossing. This is a major cease not just for its stunning view, however it’s also the place the North Saskatchewan River, Mistaya River and the Howse Rivers meet. If it’s worthwhile to go to the rest room, that is the place to do it as there are amenities right here with a restaurant and fuel station.

9. Weeping Wall

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106 km from Lake Louise or 125 km and 90 minutes from Jasper

The Weeping Wall is most spectacular in the winter when the waterfalls are frozen. It can be a preferred place (clearly) for mountain climbing. Stop right here to see this 100-meter-high (330 ft) rock cliff that’s recognized for its waterfalls that resemble tears as they cascade down the mountain. Naturally, the principal waterfall known as, Teardrop.

10. Big Bend Peak

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115 km from Lake Louise or 119 km and 1hr 25 minutes from Jasper

You can’t miss our subsequent cease. When you look out your window, you’re going to need to get out of the automobile for this view! This flip alongside the drive has a pull-off the place you will get out and have a look at the huge valley surrounded by jagged peaks. It is our favorite viewpoint on the Icefields Parkway.

11. Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre

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128 km from Lake Louise or 104 km and 1hr and 16 min from Jasper

This is the cease you’ve all been ready for! Columbia Icefield is the principal attraction on the Icefields Parkway. The guests heart is positioned the place Banff National Park and Jasper National Park meet. In the Visitor Center, you’ll be able to go to the museum, seize some lunch (meals is dear although so be ready), and soak up the views of the Icefield and Athabasca Glacier. You can ebook excursions right here as effectively.

Tours replenish shortly, so it’s possible you’ll need to ebook upfront, however you will get on them (if you’re fortunate at the final minute.

12. Athabasca Glacier

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128 km from Lake Louise or 104 km and 1hr and 16 min from Jasper

One of the greatest adventures we ever had was heading out onto the Athabasca Glacier. You can ebook a snowcat tour to take you out to see the crevasses and ice caves. The Icefields are the largest nonpolar ice fields in the world, and if you end up out on the Athabasca Glacier, you actually really feel how huge it’s.

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You can stroll out on some trails from the customer heart for a more in-depth view of the Athabasca Glacier however don’t ever enterprise out on it alone with out a information. This is the scariest glacier we’ve ever been on and the ice strikes repeatedly. If you don’t have professional expertise, you possibly can put your self in peril. Looking right into a crevasse even whereas on a tour with an professional information was scary.

Book this Columbia Icefield Half Day Tour right here from Jasper. It contains transportation from Jasper, photograph stops at Athabasca Falls and Stutfield Glacier, an Ice Cat tour of the Athabasca Glacier, and the Icefield Skywalk with lunch!

13. Glacier Skywalk

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128 km from Lake Louise or 104 km and 1hr and 16 min from Jasper

I’ll admit, I believed the glacier Skywalk was going to be a bit tacky, however it was implausible! It’s the latest attraction on the Icefields Parkway the place a glass ground juts out over the Sunwapta Valley. It’s excessive at 280 meters (918 ft) above the valley, so individuals afraid of heights may be slightly nervous. The 1km walkway has some interpretive stops alongside the approach and guides can be found to reply your questions, however the piece de resistance is the glass walkway providing spectacular views of the valley.

You can ebook tickets immediately at the Visitors Centre and buses depart from there. Book a whitewater rafting tour of the Sunwapta River by Gorgeous surroundings and sophistication 3 rapids.

14. Sunwapta Falls

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177 km from Lake Louse or 56km and 44 minutes from Jasper

Congratulations, you could have now entered Jasper National Park. Another Canadian treasure. Since you’ve had plenty of adventures at the Glacier Skywalk and customer’s heart you could have a little bit of time to calm down in your drive. Get a cappuccino to go earlier than leaving the customer’s heart to take pleasure in alongside the approach earlier than you cease at the subsequent stunning viewpoint.

Sunwapta Falls has strolling trails and a bridge to see the 18 meters (60-foot) cascade from totally different viewpoints. It’s a powerful and loud waterfall certainly! Read extra: 14 Best Hikes in Jasper National Park – Alberta Canada

15. Athabasca Falls

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200 km from Lake Louise or 32km and 29 minutes from Jasper

Athabasca Falls is one other attractive view and is your final cease on the Icefields Parkway earlier than reaching the city of Jasper. Like a lot of the stops on the parkway, there are strolling trails to supply totally different viewpoints. The huge quantity of water from the Athabasca River is compelled by a slender gorge creating an immense move of water over the 23-meter (75 ft) waterfalls. Athabasca Falls is spectacular certainly.

16. Town of Jasper

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The final cease on Icefields Parkway is the city of Jasper. This is an excellent place to make a house base for a few days. Jasper National Park has an abundance of issues to do. So, ebook a room at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and keep awhile. See our Complete Guide to all the Things to do in Jasper.

17. Tips for Driving the Icefields Parkway

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It is greatest to drive the Icefields Parkway in the summer time months. Winter driving might be treacherous and trails should not maintained.

There is just one fuel station on the Icefields Parkway at the Saskatchewan River Crossing so be sure you replenish earlier than leaving Lake Louise or Jasper.

The Icefields Parkway Visitors Centre is Close from late October to mid-April. Meaning, there are not any glacier excursions or Glacier Skywalk.

The Icefield Parkway might be pushed from Lake Louise to Jasper in 3 hours, a straight shot. But it may take a few days to discover every little thing listed above. Especially if you’re going to ebook an Athabasca Glacier tour and the Glacier Skywalk go to.

Where to Stay on the Icefields Parkway

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There are a number of locations to remain on the Icefields Parkway. It is proscribed and you may simply do day journeys from Banff and Jasper. Also, resorts are closed for the winter with them opening at numerous occasions between March and May. If you need to keep proper in the thick of issues to make the most out of exploring, listed below are the inns positioned immediately on the Icefields Parkway.

Camping on the Icefields Parkway

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There are 11 Campgrounds on the Icefields Parkway. Rates begin at $16 per day. Check with Banff National Park and Jasper National Park for particulars on what campgrounds are open.

Camping alongside the Icefields Parkway is on a primary come first serve foundation so if you wish to camp, we suggest attending to your campground of selection at 3 pm sharp. (that’s the earliest check-in). Check-out is 11 am.

The closest tenting to Lake Louise on the Glacier Parkway is Mosquito Creek Campground in Banff National Park.

The closest campgrounds to Jasper are Wapiti Campground and Whistlers Campground. Both are only a few km from the city of Jasper.

What is the Best Time to Drive the Icefields Parkway

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The greatest time to drive the Icefields Parkway is often throughout the summer time months (June by September). The climate throughout these months is often delicate, with temperatures starting from 15 to 25 levels Celsius (59-77 Fahrenheit). It’s additionally when the parks’ amenities, like customer facilities and campgrounds, are absolutely operational.

However, remember the fact that summer time can be the busiest time of 12 months for tourism, so you’ll be able to anticipate extra visitors and extra individuals at the in style websites alongside the parkway.

If you take pleasure in winter surroundings and don’t thoughts colder climate, the Icefields Parkway will also be stunning in the winter months (December by February), however it’s essential to be ready for winter driving situations and attainable street closures on account of heavy snowfall. Note that many amenities shall be closed or have lowered hours throughout the winter.

If you don’t have winter driving expertise, we don’t suggest driving the Icefields Parkway. It might be harmful. If you determine to drive the icefields parkway in the winter, be sure you have snow tires.

In any season, it’s necessary to examine the street situations and climate forecast earlier than your journey. Always have a full tank of fuel earlier than you begin (as there are lengthy stretches with out fuel stations), and carry a map since cell service might be spotty. Remember to respect the wildlife and preserve the park clear for future guests.

How Long Does it Take to Drive the Icefields Parkway?

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The whole Icefields Parkway stretches 232 kilometers (144 miles) between Lake Louise and Jasper. You can technically drive the whole icefields parkway in about 3 to 4 hours continuous, nevertheless, this scenic route affords such breathtaking views and distinctive stops that merely driving straight by would imply lacking out on the full expertise.

To absolutely admire the pure magnificence and reap the benefits of the numerous scenic spots, climbing trails, and picnic areas alongside the route, it’s really useful to dedicate a full day to this drive. Some individuals even stretch it over a number of days to have extra time for climbing, pictures, wildlife viewing, or simply to calm down and luxuriate in the surroundings.

Factors equivalent to climate, street situations, visitors (particularly throughout peak vacationer season), and private tempo can have an effect on how lengthy the drive takes.

Here are some notable sights alongside the parkway that you simply may need to cease and see:

Peyto Lake: Known for its intense turquoise colour, this lake is a must-see. A brief hike will take you to a preferred viewpoint. Columbia Icefield: One of the largest accumulations of ice south of the Arctic Circle. Here, you’ll be able to go to the Athabasca glacier discovery heart and take a tour of the glacier itself. Athabasca Falls: Just off the parkway, this highly effective, picturesque waterfall is price a go to.

Remember, it’s not nearly the vacation spot, however the journey as effectively. Taking your time to immerse your self in the gorgeous environment alongside the Icefields Parkway will make for an unforgettable street journey.

Should I lease a Car to Drive Along the Icefields Parkway?

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If you don’t have your individual automobile, you must positively lease a automobile to drive alongside the Icefields Parkway. There are bus excursions that may take you out to see the Athabasca Glacier and SkyWalk, however the Icefields Parkway is a drive that must be achieved slowly and by yourself. There are so many locations to cease for scenic views of the magnificent Canadian Rockies and climbing trails out to view its pristine turquoise lakes that you simply’ll be glad for the wheels.

You can examine rental automobile costs at CarLeases.com

Where to Fill Up Along the Icefields Parkway

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Fueling stations alongside the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North) are comparatively sparse on account of its location by the coronary heart of the wilderness in the Canadian Rockies, so it’s important to plan forward. Here’s the place you could find fuel alongside or close to the route:

Lake Louise: This is the southern place to begin of the Icefields Parkway, and there’s a fuel station right here. It’s clever to replenish your tank earlier than you begin the drive. Saskatchewan River Crossing: Approximately midway alongside the parkway, you will see a fuel station at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. Note that this fuel station is often solely open from April to October, and the costs might be considerably greater than elsewhere on account of its distant location. Jasper: At the northern finish of the Icefields Parkway, Jasper is a completely serviced city with a number of fuel stations. This is the final place to replenish when you’re heading south or the first when you’re ranging from the north.

Given the lengthy stretches with out companies, it’s strongly really useful to start out your journey with a full tank of fuel and refuel at Saskatchewan River Crossing if wanted, significantly when you’re planning on doing any facet journeys or it’s outdoors of the summer time months when companies are extra restricted. As of my data cutoff in September 2021, these have been the solely fueling factors immediately on or close to the parkway however all the time examine for the most present info earlier than your journey.

Is there Cell Service on the Icefields Parkway

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Cellular service alongside the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada is kind of restricted on account of the distant nature of the area. There are substantial stretches of the parkway with no mobile phone protection, significantly in the center sections between Lake Louise and Jasper.

You will get cell service in and round the cities at both finish of the Parkway (Lake Louise and Jasper) and presumably close to the Saskatchewan River Crossing and the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. However, even these areas can have spotty or weak indicators, and protection could range relying in your service supplier. The Discovery Center has WiFi.

Because of this, it’s necessary to be ready for stretches of your journey the place you gained’t have cell service:

Plan your route and stops upfront. Download any maps, path guides, or different info you may want forward of time. Inform somebody of your plans earlier than you go. Carry a standard paper map as a backup. If you intend on climbing, take into account carrying a satellite-based emergency communication gadget.

Remember, emergency roadside telephones are positioned at numerous intervals alongside the Icefields Parkway to be used in case of a breakdown or emergency. Always examine the most present details about companies and situations from Parks Canada earlier than you set out in your journey.

Where to Eat on the Icefields Parkway

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Num Ti Jah Lodge has a eating room and cafe. The Crossing has a normal retailer to select up snacks. There’s additionally the Parkway Pub providing views of  Mt. Sarbach and Mt. Murchison and you may seize lunch at the Crossing Café. Saskatchewan River Crossing: There’s a restaurant at The Crossing Resort, which is open seasonally (usually April by October). provide a variety of meals, and there’s additionally a comfort retailer the place you’ll be able to decide up snacks or picnic provides. The Saskatchewan River Crossing closes for the winter. Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre: The Discovery Centre has a eating room and a cafeteria, which offer a variety of meal choices. However, it’s additionally seasonal and usually operates from April by October. Num-Ti-Jah Lodge: This historic lodge close to Bow Lake has a eating room that provides meals, usually open from May to October. Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge: Located nearer to the Jasper finish of the Parkway, this lodge has a restaurant and a quick meals outlet. The Icefields Parkway additionally has a number of picnic areas, when you desire to convey your individual meals. This is usually a good possibility because it provides you flexibility and you may take pleasure in your meal surrounded by gorgeous views. Just keep in mind to comply with all park guidelines and pointers for waste disposal to guard the setting.

What Wildlife Will I see alongside the Icefields Parkway?

Things to do in Jasper National Park Big Horned Sheep
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The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada, cuts by a few of the most gorgeous wilderness in the Canadian Rockies, so there’s an excellent probability you may see numerous species of wildlife throughout your journey. However, sightings can by no means be assured and depend upon elements equivalent to the season, climate, and time of day. Here are some animals you may encounter:

Bears: Both black bears and grizzly bears reside on this area. They are extra generally seen in the spring and early summer time, typically on the roadside consuming the contemporary inexperienced vegetation. Remember to maintain a protected distance, by no means feed them, and don’t get out of your automobile to take pictures. Elk: Elk are frequent in the area, particularly in the meadows and grasslands. Males with their giant antlers are a powerful sight, significantly in the fall throughout the rut (mating season). Big Horn Sheep & Mountain Goats: Both bighorn sheep and mountain goats can typically be seen alongside the Parkway, generally even on the street itself. Look for them on rocky slopes and close to the cliffs. Moose: Moose are much less generally seen than another animals, however you may get fortunate, significantly in marshy areas or close to water our bodies. Wolves, Coyotes, and Foxes: These predators are extra elusive, however they do reside in the space. Early morning or late night are the greatest occasions to doubtlessly spot them. Birds: Many species of birds might be seen, together with eagles, hawks, and numerous songbirds. Near water our bodies, you may see waterfowl like geese, geese, and loons. Small Mammals: Keep a watch out for animals like squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and pikas in the rocky areas.

And these are the most wonderful stops in your street journey from Banff to Jasper. You may also drive from Jasper to Banff, (we’ve achieved each!) and it’s wonderful to see the views from every finish of the Icefields Parkway.

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