The stunning Icefields Parkway is probably one of the coolest drives in Canada. I mean that literally, since the two-lane scenic highway is named for the many glaciers and icefields along its route. It may be chilly, but travelers can thank those glaciers for carving the breathtaking mountains and melting into the stunningly, surreally blue lakes that make up Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks.
The National Parks are for sure the highlight of the Parkway and there's a lot to see and do in all of them. In Jasper, feel the mist of the thundering Athabasca Falls, explore Banff's Johnston Canyon, and boggle at the blueness of Emerald Lake in Yoho. And, it wouldn't be a trip down the Icefields Parkway if you didn't stop and see a real, live icefield-- the Columbia Icefield feeds eight (count 'em, EIGHT!) glaciers. It's like the Ice Age never ended!
If you veer a little off the Parkway, you could stop off in Waterton Lakes National Park, especially if there's just been a big rainstorm: heavy rainfall sweeps red sediment down the park's Cameron Falls, turning them a pretty shade of pink! It's certainly a change from all the clear blue glacial lakes.
If you ever grow tired of trekking through all this lovely scenery, hike to the Fairmont Chateau and grab a drink to enjoy while you bask in the beauty of Banff's Lake Louise. Or, if you've got the chills, warm up with some coffee from Whitebark Cafe. Also, pick up some sandwiches from Patricia Street Deli in Jasper-- they're perfect to take along for a post-hike picnic. If you're staying in a fancy lodge or resort, expect to enjoy all kinds of 5-star meals as well, but remember that there's nothing quite like waking up in a tent in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and there's camping a-plenty in all the parks.
Ready to breathe in that fresh mountain air? Plan your next mountain excursion with Roadtrippers!