Province/Territory: Alberta

Cruise the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper

  • 300 kilometres of wilderness highway
  • 200 square kilometres of glaciers and ice fields
  • 04 national parks, 3 provincial parks, 1 border

Drive the spectacular Icefields Parkway: a wilderness corridor lined by the sky-piercing peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enter a world of plunging waterfalls, turquoise-blue lakes, yellow-leaved aspens, and historic hotels. Slip into low gear and glimpse a bighorn sheep as you reach the Bow summit.

In Banff, enter a mineral-crusted, natural hot-spring cave. In Lake Louise, follow an old-growth trail past the famous emerald lake and up to a tiny, secret teahouse. Crunch onto Columbia Icefield's blue-tinted snow. Pull into the tiny village of Jasper and settle in by the roaring fire of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where Queen Elizabeth and Marilyn Monroe stayed. Sip an excellent burgundy and make plans for tomorrow: a tram ride to a peak, a float down the Athabasca River, or a journey onwards, towards rare fossils and Cree legends.

Why you should visit
  • The Icefields Parkway has been called "the most beautiful road in the world" and offers a glimpse of why this entire mountain region was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • Sleep in utter luxury in grand, chateaux-style hotels in the mountain towns of Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper, or nestle under a thick duvet in the remote Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
  • Compare soaks: the Upper Hot Springs in Banff and the Miette Hot Springs in Jasper.
  • Slow down for elk, wolves and bear on the equally-scenic Bow Valley Parkway.
  • Roll right onto the Columbia Icefields in a massive Ice Explorer vehicle, or take an ice walk with an naturalist.
  • Build an inukshuk from square river stones at Athabasca Falls.

Weather

  • The Canadian Rocky Mountains include weather for peaks and valleys. Summer months (July and August) are sunny and warm, with cooler mornings and evenings. September and October bring bright fall colours. November and December are the coolest months.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
Need to know
  • The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are comprised of seven individual and adjacent parks; check each park individually for up-to-date informaton.
  • You will be asked to pay a park fee to enter and drive through the parks. Your receipt allows you to enter adjacent parks.
  • The Icefields Parkway is also a travel corridor for wild animals such as bears. Familiarize yourself with wildlife safety.
Getting Here
  • The Banff townsite is 1.5 hours drive west from Calgary. From Banff, Jasper is about 4 hours' drive northwest on the Icefields Parkway.
  • Greyhound buses arrive in Banff and Jasper from nearby cities. Locally-run Brewstr runs charter, shuttle, and guided tour transportation services.
  • Via Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer arrive and depart from Jasper.
  • Recreational vehicles, rental cars, and additional transportation options are available to get around the Canadian Rockies.