The Icefield Parkway, Highway 93, extends 144 miles from Lake Louise to Jasper National Park.
This route will have you traveling through glaciers, mountains, beautiful lakes, and alpine fields. We found a great driving guide to help plan our route using this link.
This drive takes about 3 ½ hours if you do not stop. We were really looking forward to this part of our trip. When we left Lake Louise the sun was shining, but as we started going on the Icefield Parkway the weather quickly changed. We were plagued with off and on rain with overcast skies, not making it good to sight see or hike. Our first stop was Bow Lake. As pretty as it was neither one of us wanted to get out and hike after our seven hour hike the day before in this type of weather.
This stunning lake is right along the Icefield Parkway. The easy access from the highway is not far from Lake Louise. This gorgeous turquoise water comes from the Bow Glacier. We found when it was overcast and rainy weather the lakes were not as blue as on a sunny day.
Due to the weather, we decided not to take the hiking path around the lake to the waterfalls, which takes about 3 hour’s round trip. We will just have to save it for the next time we are in the area. Access to the hiking trail can be reached near the hotel across the lake. See red roof in picture below on the right.
After our stop at Bow Lake, we decided to drive straight to Jasper and hope for better weather when we drove back to Banff in a couple of days.
Spending four nights in Jasper was the perfect amount of time to see the area. We had some of the best weather of our trip during our stay. But the day we left Jasper, we woke up to rain. The locals all told us that Canada had a lot of rain this summer and we saw it first hand.
We were hoping that when we got on the road it would improve. As you will find when traveling in the mountains, the weather changes quickly.
Our first stop was Athabasca Falls. It had finally stopped raining, but it was still cloudy. When we arrived at the parking lot, we were the only people there.
After looking at the falls, J went back to the car to get another lens for his camera. I told J that I was going to take the path to get a closer look at the water and would meet him when he returned. It was eerily quiet as I made my way.
The walkway took me through these massive tunnels of rock to get to the water. Then I started thinking about what if I ran into an animal and I am by myself? I started making noise and walked quickly. The fences will keep the animals away won’t it?
It seemed like it took forever to get there, but I was rewarded with this spectacular view.
After taking some pictures, I now had to go back the same way I came. Let’s just say I made it back in record time. I can’t believe I walked down there by myself.
After Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls was not very impressive and it did not take very long to get back into the car and on the road.
This falls was right along the road. You don’t even need to get out of your car to take a picture.
It was disappointing not to have good weather during our drive of the Icefield Parkway. We missed a lot of stops due to the weather conditions but we made the most of our time. We both agreed we would have to come back again, hopefully to better weather.