Icefields Parkway Map - Local Pony

Yes, the Cabot Trail is pretty spectacular.

The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler is stunning.

Those are two beautiful ways to explore Canada, but none compare to the Icefields Parkway. The drive between Lake Louise and Jasper, some 230 km, is the most scenic drive in Canada and this year it turns 75.

Icefields Parkway is 75

The Icefields Parkway has to be the most scenic drive in Canada. It has to be.

Mount Snow Dome  - Local Pony
Mount Snow Dome on the Icefield Parkway

There’s wildlife, trees, ravines, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, everything. We did the Icefields Parkway in mid-May in a Lincoln MKC from Ford Canada, the moonroof wide open to stare at the dusted peaks along the way.

First things first: make sure you top up on gas before you hit the road. There is only one gas station, at Saskatchewan Crossing, about halfway through the drive. That means about 100km on either end without a chance to fuel up, misread the fuel and you’re done.

Bow Lake - Local Pony
Bow Lake still frozen in Mid May

The speed limit is lower than you’d expect on a wide open highway because of all the wildlife. When we stopped in at Athabasca Falls, a park ranger had set up a display of lynx, cougar, fox, and more that had all been hit by cars. Most of the parkway is 90k, but take the chance to go 70, and 50 seriously. It’s more time to enjoy the view.

Athabasca Falls - Local Pony
Athabasca Falls on the Icefield Parkway

I just dropped the Lincoln MKC into cruise control and clicked up or down a few kilometres from the steering wheel. It was as easy as driving on the prairies. Even on a long weekend to start summer, the road wasnt that busy. Oftentimes you’re the only car on the road surrounded by some of the most stunning mountains you’ve ever seen.

Lincoln MKC - Local Pony
Lincoln MKC with Mount Snow Dome in the background

It should take nearly 3 hours to drive the length of the Icefields Parkway, but you’ll take much longer. There are pullouts all along the way, probably fair game for the drivers to get out and enjoy what the passengers have been staring at.

Stutfield Glacier - Local Pony
Stutfield Glacier

Along the way you’ll want to stop at Bow Summit and take the short walk up to view Peyto Lake. It’s a classic Rocky Mountains scene with the lush Tiffany blue lake far below.

Peyto Lake - Local Pony
Zacharie at Peyto Lake in August

Halfway through the trip, you can spend a few hours at the Columbia Icefield, crawling out onto the Athabasca Glacier in an Ice Explorer. Team it up with a visit to the stunning Glacier Skywalk and you’ll have the perfect activities to turn a trip from Lake Louise to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway into an entire day trip.

Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure - Local Pony
Family pic on the Athabasca Glacier
Glacier Skywalk - Local Pony
Don’t look down! The Glacier Skywalk is spectacular

The Lincoln MKC was a tight, luxurious ride. Everyone had enough room to dig into books and iPads, while the back end fit our changes of jackets and boots to climb through snow and go on hikes. Part of the parkway is a little chewed up because of winter conditions, but the MKC just floated along.

Icefield Parkway - Local Pony
The Icefields Parkway

From dripping glaciers, to crystal lakes, to stark moraines, to wide valleys, the Icefields Parkway is the most scenic drive in Canada.

Hands down.

Icefield Parkway - Local Pony
The Icefields Parkway
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  1. Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields June 2, 2015 at 3:34 am

    We will be driving the Icefields Parkway in a few weeks time. Your photos and info will come in very handy. Thanks.

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