What to see in IceField Parkway ?

Old Apr 16th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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What to see in IceField Parkway ?

I will spend some days in Rocky Mountains next July. I will rent a car in Calgary and drive to Banff where I intend to stay for 4 nights . Then I will take the Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper, stay 2 nights in Jasper and come back to Calgary .
I would like some tips what to see, where to eat, where to stop along the route.
Thanks in advance !!!
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Old Apr 16th, 2010, 01:34 PM
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I love the Rockies and try to get there at least every other year. While you are in the Banff area, be sure to at least drive or walk down by Vermillion Lakes. The road that goes by them is a fantastic spot to see bald eagles. We have seen one there nearly every time we've been. Maligne Lake is truly lovely and not far from Banff for a day trip. You can combine that visit with the beautiful (yet undeniably touristy) Lake Louise. The hot spings are great on a rainy day. We like the Lake Minnewanka hike - good spot to see bighorn sheep; and you can't beat the Johnston Canyon trail - but get there by 9:00 or you'll have to overtake crowds of tourists walking at 1 mile an hour. A horse ride is a nice way to spend an afternoon or full day. There are loads of stables in the area. I have never taken the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain but have heard good things from those who have done it in good weather.

Food-wise, I can't help you out too much. The Trough in Canmore is excellent (appreantly voted 7th in Canada by Enroute magazine).

For the Parkway, you will likely see a bear or two - we have always seen then on the side of the road. The Columbian Icefield is an obvious stop. You may just want to stop and take pictures. The cafe/store there is crazy busy and over-priced but a good place to visit the bathrooms. There are nice waterfalls (Athbasca and Sunwapta) closer to Jasper.

From Jasper, definitely hire a canoe at Patricia Lake. See Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake. Go to Maligne Canyon. Jasper has a nice bakery called the Bear's Paw.

Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 17th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Along the Parkway, stop at Athabasca Glacier and take a tour out onto it.
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Old Apr 17th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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In Lake Louise, there is of course Lake Louise. But in the same vicinity is Moraine Lake which I think is incredibly more beautiful. It is the lake that was on the Canadian $20 bill some years back.
Be sure to take a ride up the ski lift at Lake Louise ski resort. The view from the top is mind bogglingly beautiful. If you take the first tram up in the morning, you are more likely to see grizzly bears down on the meadow (viewed from the safety of the enclosed tram). They serve a delicious buffet breakfast up at the top and it is wonderful to sit by the huge wall of windows as you look out at the mountains (and possibly see a grizzly mother and her cubs).
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Old Apr 17th, 2010, 10:51 PM
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Do go visit Moraine lake near lake Louise but much nicer.In JASPER stay at Becker chalets.Great place with gourmet restaurant.Paul
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 09:14 PM
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The Icefield Parkway starts at Lake Louise and ends at Jasper (or the other way around .
En route you will see (in addition to spectacular mountain scenery):
Hector Lake
Bow Lake
Peyto Lake (a short walk to the viewpoint)
Columbia Icefields (can walk to toe or take snocoach onto the surface)
Weeeping Wall
Sunwapta Falls
Athabasca Falls

Take a look at this website for more information, including a map with the highlights -


Best to eat in Lake Louise or Jasper, and take a packed lunch for the trip. The only places along the way are at Saskatchewan River Crossing (so-so cafeteria but one of the largest selection of postcards in the Rockies), the Columbia Glacier Centre (also so-so cafeteria, but a gift shop and interpretive centre), and Sunwapta Falls (there's a gift shop there and you could get coffee and so-so food).
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 09:14 AM
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I think travlin_mama might have meant Moraine Lake is not far from Banff and worth a day trip - Moraine Lake is near Lake Louise, as mentioned above. Maligne Lake is an hour's drive from Jasper, or about 4.5 hours' drive from Banff - a little long for a day trip if you will be returning to Banff.

Although the drive from Banff to Jasper is only about 3.5 hours, plan to spend most of the day on the parkway; there are lots of scenic attractions to stop and see. As there are few places to stop and eat along the parkway, and they are expensive and "underwhelming", I usually take a picnic lunch and bottled water and stop at one of the many lovely picnic sites.

Parks Canada's Jasper National Park website has an online version of a brochure they hand out at the visitor centres, that lists all the pull-outs, scenic look-outs, lakes, waterfalls, picnic areas etc. -

and the Icefield Parkway's own website has maps, and photos:
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Old Oct 10th, 2015, 04:29 PM
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You are book marking a 5 year old thread? In future, why not just e-mail it to yourself? (click the <B><orange>+</B></orange> up top . . .)
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