Icefields Parkway, Alberta
The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada is also known as Promenade des Glaciers and Highway 93. The Icefields Parkway takes you through the rugged Canadian Rockies through both Banff and Jasper National Parks. Once you set out on your journey, you will soon see why this is one of the world's most scenic drives. Don't forget to plan well before you head out and, if you are planning a crosscountry trip, then a one way car rental will give you the freedom to drive yourself without thinking of the trek all the way back.
Preparing for your trip
As with any road trip, a certain amount of minimal planning is essential. Sure, you don't have to plan each and every minute or mile but having an idea of where you are going and packing all the right supplies is always a good idea.
It is important to note that there are only a few food stops along this route so make sure that you pack enough food for at least one or two meals. The road is fairly long and, with stops, you could find yourself out all day. The last thing you want is to be plagued by hunger when you should be enjoying the sights. In addtion, you should certainly fill up on fuel before you go. There is only one fueling station along the way where you should top up before you continue.
When planning your trip, make sure that you calculate your travelling time, so that you can book your rental car and possibly your accommodation too.
Sights along the Icefields Parkway
This drive is mostly known for its natural sights. The snowcapped mountains tower above and lush green trees form the perfect colour contrast. You will make your way through two wonderful national parks which means that there is always something to see.
Top lakes to visit along the way include Lake Louise, Herbert Lake and Bow Lake. Keep an eye out for Bow Peak and Crowfoot Peak as well as the glaciers that run off these mountains. The Saskatchewan is the lowest point your will reach before arriving at the icefields and you can see a number of massive peaks towering above from this point. If you would like to get a closer look at one of the more accessible glaciers, book your Ice Explorer trip on Athabasca Glacier. This trip takes approximately 80 minutes from Banff so you may want to spend a night in this lovely town before continuing your journey. Lake Louise also offers accommodation options if you prefer travelling a bit more before settling down for the night.
If you spend some time at Lake Louise, you can make the most of other attractions including Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake and day hikes in the area. There is also a sightseeing gondola much like the one in Banff and horse treks are available in Banff and Lake Louise.
Spending extra time in Banff will mean that you can make the most of the local hot springs, walk along the mountains (after a gondola ride up, of course) and much more.
If you are visiting Canada, a trip from Calgary to Edmonton (or vice versa) can be transformed into a real sightseeing adventure simply by exploring this wonderful route. Although this portion of the drive only takes about 3 hours, you should allow extra time for stops and breaks.