PLACES WE LOVE: Icefields Parkway
Travelling along the Icefields Parkway by motorhome, car, bus, bike or on foot is the road trip of a lifetime. Stretching 144 miles (232 kms) through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks of Jasper and Banff, this corridor highway takes you through a vast wilderness of topaz blue lakes, snow capped mountains, powerful and ancient glaciers and beautiful yellow leaved aspen and flower filled valleys.
There is something for everyone to enjoy on your family holiday to Canada but somehow Icefields Parkway offers everything along one special route.
With majestic viewpoints, interpretive trails and breathtaking scenery all around you, no matter how you choose to travel the Icefields Parkway you are sure to be blown away by this UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Miette Hot Springs; the hottest natural springs in the Canadian Rockies where water flows from the mountain at 54°C (129°F) and is cooled to 40°C (104°F) as it enters the hot springs pool. One of Alberta’s best kept secrets, the spectacular location makes it one of our favourite things to visit when setting off on the Icefields Parkway.
Maligne Lake: Why not try out some kayaking on this beautiful turquoise blue lake? Famed for its colour, surrounded by mountain peaks and three glaciers visible from the lake it is one of the most photographed locations in the world.
Edith Cavell Glacier: A beautiful 1.6 km loop to the base of Mount Edith Cavell is well worth an hour’s visit; when you arrive at the Cavell lake you come right up close and personal with the stunning Angel glacier. Standing at the side of the lake and feasting your eyes on the floating icebergs of varying degrees of blue can make you feel as though you have stepped back into an ice age.
Athabasca Glacier Icewalk: Hop aboard the Brewster Ice Explorer to take part in a guided walkabout on the Athabasca Glacier. The 80 minute trip provides you with plenty of time to learn more from your guide about how glaciers form, grow and retreat up the mountainside. Hear the cracking ice shifting beneath your feet and wonder at the 6km long and 1km wide glacier; its likely that the piece of ice you stand on is 200 years old!
Lake Peyto: No we haven’t ‘photo-shopped’ this photo; the lake’s real, teal colour is light reflected by suspended glacial sediment. There are many hiking trails suitable for all abilities around the lake and your tour of the Icefields Parkway is not complete without a stop here!
Moraine Lake: Right at the end of the Icefields Parkway and away from the crowds at Lake Louise, this lake has all the splendour and beauty of the popular tourist attraction nearby, but without the commercial trappings associated with large hotel complexes. There are several hiking trails to discover and plenty of lakeside places to stop and soak in the peace and quiet.Images courtesy of Flickr, Icefields Parkway, Icefields Parkway map
Motorhome Options for Exploring Western Canada & The Icefield’s Parkway
Deluxe Mid-sized Motorhome (C26) – Suitable for a family with 2 adults and up to 3 kids
The C26 (26 feet long) models are the newer 2013 – 2014 vehicles and these deluxe mid-sized vehicles make for a fantastic family motorhome holiday in Canada.
The Diesel Supreme Camper (DS10) – Suitable for 2 adults and one child
The Diesel Supreme Camper (DS10) is a turbo-powered diesel truck with luxury camper. These great Campers fit two adults and one child very nicely and are very popular with smaller families.
Best time to travel: June to September
Pick up stations: Calgary or Vancouver
Animals to spot: Elk, moose, black bear, grizzlies, big horn sheep, mountain goats, deer, wild horses, orcas, seals and even a rare breed of antelope!
We hope you’ve enjoyed Triptoes’s guide to the Icefields Parkway; if you have any favourite places that you’d like to share please leave a reply below!