The Getaway
What to See on the Icefields Parkway

If you want to enjoy a long, beautiful drive featuring majestic mountain views, you won't want to miss out on the Icefields Parkway. This route is famed as one of the most scenic drives in North America. Stretching between Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies, the Icefields Parkway promises an exceptional journey through pristine nature. It showcases gems like ancient glaciers, turquoise lakes, thundering waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.

Before setting out on your journey, make sure you bring a Parks Canada Pass along with you. Whether you have just a day or several to explore the parkway, this is your opportunity to embrace the adventure!


01 Discover the breathtaking Crowfoot Glacier

A Spring evening view of Icefields Parkway extending towards Bow Lake, with BowCrow Peak, Crowfoot Glacier and Crowfoot Mountain rising high behind, Banff National

A key lookout point on the Icefield Parkway is the Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint. The glacier sits among the rugged mountains across the valley for a truly wondrous sight. If you want to get the most out of viewing Crowfoot Glacier, be sure to sign up for one of the guided tours that travel across the parkway. You'll have the chance to enjoy a complete view of the stunning glacier and all of its natural beauty. Hiking the Helen Lake Trail also gives you the chance to spend more time admiring the breathtaking sight of Crowfoot Glacier.


02 Unwind by the serene Bow Lake

Icy Blue Bow Lake on the Icefield Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

It's hard not to marvel at the beauty of Bow Lake once you glimpse this stunning body of water. Set against snow-capped mountains, Bow Lake's shimmering blue waters are the perfect display of nature in its most peaceful, undisturbed form. The lake is a popular site for picnics, and it gives you the chance to stretch your legs after driving along the Icefields Parkway. If you want to really get your blood flowing, there's also a hiking trail that stretches from the shoreline of Bow Lake to the base of Bow Glacier Falls.


03 Explore the turquoise waters of Peyto Lake

Canadian Rockies and Peyto Lake viewed from the top of a mountain. Dramatic Colorful Summer Sunset. Taken in Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Bow Lake isn't the only waterfront view you'll enjoy while cruising along the Icefields Parkway. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Peyto Lake will surely be another top highlight of your journey. This lake distinguishes itself with its deep, striking blue color, which is a result of runoff from the nearby Peyto Glacier. If you want to get a closer look of the lake, Bow Summit offers an obstructed view of it. You can also hike near Peyto Lake to more fully enjoy its brilliant hue and overall tranquility.


04 Reflect at Waterfowl Lakes

Scenic Waterfowl Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park

The beauty of the Icefields Parkway doesn't stop at Bow Lake or Peyto Lake. Waterfowl Lakes also boasts pristine blue waters and offers a tranquil atmosphere similar to that of Bow and Peyto Lakes. The surrounding peaks create a truly magnificent scene that you won't soon forget. There are also plenty of activities that you can engage in to complete your experience of Waterfowl Lakes, including reflections and camping options. If you enjoy observing animals in the wild, you can also take advantage of one of the many wildlife spotting opportunities that are available to you.


05 See the rugged landscape of Mistaya Canyon

A tourist takes a photo of Mistaya Canyon in Banff National Park, Mistaya River, Alberta, Canada

Mistaya Canyon is a striking limestone gorge located along the Icefields Parkway. It is accompanied by a 1.2-mile loop trail that is moderately challenging for avid hikers. In addition to hiking, there are a slew of other activities that visitors enjoy, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. To get the most out of your time exploring Mistaya Canyon, we recommend that you visit this trail between the months of May and September.


06 Cross the Saskatchewan River

Saskatchewan River Crossing Alberta

Nestled at the base of Mount Wilson, the Saskatchewan River Crossing is a sight to behold. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas and glaciers for a postcard-worthy experience. There are a number of convenient accommodation options in the vicinity of the crossing, such as The Crossing Resort on the Icefields Parkway. Be sure to pack some hiking essentials before your journey, such as a reusable water bottle, sunblock, and a trail guide. It's also crucial to remember to refuel on a regular basis to keep dehydration and exhaustion at bay during your hike.


07 Dare to conquer the Weeping Wall

The Weeping Wall

The Weeping Wall is a set of imposing cliffs located at the western base of Cirrus Mountain. During the spring and summer, a series of cascading waterfalls douse the cliffs entirely, mimicking the act of "weeping." The waterfalls then freeze over during the winter and transform into towering columns of ice. To take advantage of this, many visitors enjoy ice climbing during the cold winter months. The Weeping Wall Trail is another popular option for exploring the cliffs and appreciating their beauty firsthand.


08 Enjoy the panoramic views of Big Hill and Big Bend

The Big Hill and the Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway, Banff, Canadian Rockies

The sights that you'll enjoy, courtesy of Big Hill and Big Bend, are like no other. These landmarks are known for their stunning panoramic views, which you can observe right from your car window as you travel along the Icefields Parkway. Big Hill and Big Bend are also famous for their exhilarating cliffside walks, relaxing hot springs, and a breathtakingly beautiful night sky. If you want to completely immerse yourself in the experience, you don't want to miss out on the Big Bend camping experience. This will give you the chance to fully appreciate all that the park has to offer.


09 Visit the Athabasca Glacier

Detail of the huge Athabasca Glacier. Ice Explorer vehicles and people having a look.

The Athabasca Glacier is a key point on the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies. As the most visited glacier in North America, it's a must-see on your journey along the Icefields Parkway. It is also highly accessible to visitors who are driving along the parkway, as the leading edge of the glacier is within walking distance. The glacier is in constant motion, flowing elegantly down the valley like a slowly moving river. When seeing the Athabasca Glacier, remember to practice caution. There are many deep crevasses hiding in the glacier that can be deadly without the proper protection.


10 Test your nerve on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk

A panoramic view of the glacier skywalk made of glass near the Columbia Icefield, Jasper, Alberta, Canada

The Skywalk in the Columbia Icefield is home to charming hidden gems and breathtaking views. Embedded deep into the walkway are ancient fossils that provide insight into the landmark's history. You'll also enjoy sweeping waterfall views that create a truly unforgettable experience. The Skywalk is located near routes that are home to various forms of wildlife, including mountain goats, elk, deer, and moose. When you reach the see-through glass platform that puts the rugged terrain right below your feet, you'll feel like you're truly one with nature.


11 Tangle Creek Falls' cascading beauty

Tangle Falls, Jasper Alberta - Canada

The multi-tiered beauty of Tangle Creek Falls is nothing short of impressive. The waterfall is divided into individual tiers, and each one branches off into a series of smaller streams. Because there is no hiking trail that leads directly to Tangle Creek Falls, the best way to admire this landmark is to cross the Icefields Parkway. Once you do reach the waterfall, remember to take a moment to stop and look in the opposite direction. There, you'll find an uninterrupted view of Stutfield Glacier, another gem that you can't miss.


12 Marvel at the power of Sunwapta Falls

Sunwapta Falls is pair of the Sunwapta river in autumn forest at sunset. Icefields Parkway, Jasper national park, Canada

Sunwapta Falls are a pair of waterfalls situated on the Sunwapta River. To easily reach them, you can head down a designated access road off the Icefields Parkway that runs about 1,968 feet (600 meters) from Jasper to Banff National Parks. There's also a thrilling hiking trail that gives you the complete experience of admiring the waterfalls. It's a relatively short hike with enthralling views waiting for you on the other side. The level of difficulty isn't too high, making it suitable for more casual hikers.


13 Goats and glacier lookouts

Male hiker in blue jacket standing at Goats and Glaciers at night in winter. Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada. Wild, dark starry sky, landscape

To enjoy a beautiful view of the wide-open sky and surrounding mountains, be sure to make time to visit the Goats and Glacier Lookout. This spot overlooks the Athabasca River and the Fryatt Mountain Range to the west. The best time of day to visit is first thing in the morning when the sunrise casts a warm glow on the mountain range. If you stop by in April or May, you can also catch a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Milky Way.


14 Marvel at the majesty of Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls, Jasper, Canadian Rockies

One of the most majestic waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Falls, can be viewed from several different angles on the Athabasca Falls Trail. It has a reputation for being one of the most powerful falls in North America's national parks. The water has carved intricate features into the soft limestone beneath it, from potholes to a short canyon. Visitors enjoy camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and other fun activities. The area surrounding Athabasca Falls is also equipped with visitor facilities, such as parking and picnic tables.


15 Soak in the tranquility of Valley of the Five Lakes

Turquoise Lake, Valley of the Five Lakes, Jasper National Park, back mountains, Alberta, Canada

The Valley of the Five Lakes showcases gorgeous lakes in unique shades of jade and blue. The hiking trail is conveniently located along the Icefields Parkway, giving you the chance to explore the lakes in all of their beauty. It's worth noting that the Third and Fourth Lakes are widely considered to be the highlights of the journey, so keep this in mind if you're planning to take some photos. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife, too. Black bears, elk, coyotes, and deer are just some of the animals that roam the area.


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