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Day Trip from Banff to Icefields Parkway

icefields parkway day trip

The breathtaking Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada should be on everyone's road trip bucket list. Attracting 100,000 vehicles per month because of its majestic mountains, icy blue lakes, shimmery ancient glaciers, and emerald lakes, it's easy to see why the journey to the famous Icefields Parkway through Banff and Jasper is recognized as one of the most stunning drives in the world.

Top things to do in Icefields Parkway

athabasca falls waterfall in jasper national park

1. Explore the many beautiful lakes - There are plenty of remarkable lakes that are worth seeing along the Icefields Parkway. The incredible Bow Lake is located on the Bow River and is a perfect spot to enjoy the view of the Crowfoot Glacier, Wapta Icefield, and Bow Glacier. Peyto Lake is another worthwhile stop. If you want to see one of the magnificent phenomena known as the melting of Peyto Lake, make sure to travel in May. Other must-see lakes on the Icefields Parkway are Waterfowl Lakes and Hector Lake.

2. Enjoy the mesmerizing waterfalls - The Athabasca Falls and the Sunwapta Falls are two impressive waterfalls that you do not want to miss along the Icefields Parkway. Just a short drive from Jasper, it is spellbinding to see the turquoise sapphire water of Athabasca Falls. The Sunwapta Falls is absolutely beautiful especially in the late spring and early summer.

3. Experience the glass Glacier Skywalk - Open to visitors from late April/May through to mid-October, experience the Glacier Skywalk. Explore epic landscapes of the Canadian Rockies while walking along a clear pane of glass over the edge of a cliff! The glass walkway separates you from a 918-foot drop to the floor of the Sunwapta Valley.

mount athabasca in jasper national park

4. See a handful of glaciers - There are several wonderful spots to see glaciers in Icefields Parkway. Glaciers are masses of ice formed by the weight of snow. Situated near the border of Banff National Park, the view of Stutfield Glacier, as well as the Athabasca Glacier at Columbia Icefield, are two of the most accessible and picturesque glaciers not only in the Canadian Rockies but in the world.

5. Witness plenty of wildlife - Another fun thing to do at Icefields Parkway is to enjoy the wildlife. Make sure to drive carefully to avoid crashes with animals. Keep in mind that animals such as black bears, deer, sheep, moose, birds, mountain goats, and lions are more active at dawn and dusk.

6. Hike the summit of Parker Ridge trail - Deemed as one of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies, the trailhead of Parker Ridge is a short, easy to moderate walk that lies near a scenic parkway for easy access. The hike will take you through spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery, extraordinary views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and the snow-capped Mount Athabasca. Note that this trail can be very busy especially during summer. If you'd like to avoid crowds, hike early or late in the day.

Map from Banff to Icefields Parkway

Do you know that you can download this map directly to your phone? Press the box symbol located on the top-right corner of this map to open in your Google Maps app. Now you can easily access this map on your next road trip adventure from Banff to Icefields Parkway.

Travel time and distance: 2 hours and 5 minutes via Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W and AB-93 N

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