Icefields Parkway- Jasper and Banff National Parks


After one night in Jasper town in Jasper National Park, I took off bright and early the next morning to start my roadtrip along the Icefields Parkway- widely known as one of the most scenic drives in North America.

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Today I was able to complete a little over half of the Icefields Parkway. I like to stop, take photos, and hike on the way so doing it all in a day was not ideal for me. My hiking expeditions took me to Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, and to the Athabasca Glacier.

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Athabasca Falls came up on the road first so I took the easy trail to them.  From there you can take longer trails to see more of the area around the falls and Athabasca River.

I caught a white water rafting tour just heading out.

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I guess today’s theme is waterfalls because next up was Sunwapta Falls. Sunwapta Falls is split into the Upper and Lower Falls. The Upper Falls are really close the parking lot and require no hiking.

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The Lower Falls were about a mile away but I was alone and scared of bears so I was the one singing along to Miley Cyrus blaring on my iPhone. There were a few other people at Lower Falls when I got there which made me happy.

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There were some viewpoints of Stutfield Glacier and others part of “Glacier Row”.  Driving down the Icefields Parkway will allow you to see a half dozen glaciers over the next few miles here. However, the rain came pouring down on me here so no good photos Sad smile And just like that it was sunny again!

Tangle Falls is directly off the side of the road- no hiking or even getting out of the car if you are so inclined. This is the last stop before you hit the big Columbia Icefield- home of a lot of glaciers but the most famous Athabasca Glacier.

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Athabasca Glacier is a rapidly shrinking glacier that feeds the Athabasca River, an important source of freshwater in Canada. As you hike uphill along the aptly named Toe of the Athabasca Glacier, you will see just how much the Glacier has shrunk since 1935 when it completely covered the parking lot we use today and then some.

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Along the Icefields Parkway I stayed at The Crossing Resort at Saskatchewan River Crossing, one of the few hotels along the route. The reviews were not stellar so I was nervous going into the stay but it turned out to be just perfect. National Park hotels are never the fanciest (unless you are paying $500 per night at Yellowstone or on Lake Louise) but this hotel was just right for an active traveler who likes things clean and comfortable, close to everything, without breaking the bank.

Wine in a coffee cup on the porch of my room:

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The views were amazing!

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Again with National Parks (both Canadian and American), the food inside the parks is expensive and usually not very good. I ate at Mr. Wilson’s Restaurant at The Crossing Resort and could have gotten and CAD$16 boring Caesar salad or the CAD$29 dinner buffet. I went with the dinner buffet because of the salad bar and salmon that was on the buffet line. Again, it is National Park food so decent but not stellar. But it sure hit the spot- I needed a salad after eating bananas, sandwiches, and chips for days. I also may have had some carrot cake that was on the buffet too- it has vegetables in it so it is okay Smile

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Tomorrow I’m heading out early to finish the rest of the Icefields Parkway and celebrate Canada Day in Lake Louise. It is my first Canada Day and I’m excited to see the celebrations.

Reader Question: Have you ever been in a different country on it’s celebrated birthday?

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