The Canadian Rockies - Aug 16 - 24, 2009

Icefields Parkway, Aug 19-20

(see map)

Photos © Peter Mansbach, 2010.
No commercial use without written permission.

Icefields Parkway is the stretch of Hwy 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper, within Banff and Jasper National Parks. About 144 miles long, the name refers to the icefields and glaciers visible from the road. This page has a small selection of the photos I took along the drive.

Herbert Lake (mile 4)

Icefields Parkway

Peyto Lake (mile 27)

Waterfowl Lake (mile 36)
(The bilingual signs also give the French name: Lac Waterfowl)

← Falls at
Mistaya Canyon
(mile 46)

Icefields Parkway
north of
Saskatchewan River Crossing
(past mile 50) →

The Columbia Icefield Center gets a lot of attention. The center itself is a big and busy tourist-trap place, and the highly publicized Ice Explorer bus, with its immense tires, will take you right onto the Athabasca Glacier. But there are three waits - for tickets, for the shuttle bus, and for the Ice Explorer itself - plus the ride on the glacier, and it would have taken too much time, so I didn't do this. There are interesting explanatory exhibits at the Center, which I did spend time at.

I also spent the night there, in a very comfortable hotel room. I opted for the less expensive "Mountain View", rather than the "Glacier View". You have to admire the marketing: the "Mountain View" turned out to be a view of the barren side of a mountain rising steeply about 20 ft outside the window.

The Columbia Icefield itself is the largest ice field in the interior of North America, 126 sq mi. It spawns six glaciers that flow down from it. The Athabasca Glacier, right across from the Center, used to extend across the Icefields Parkway 140 years ago (before the Parkway was built).

Athabasca Glacier seen from the Columbia Icefield Center (mile 80)
(note the two Ice Explorer buses near the bottom of the picture)
Tangle Creek Falls (mile 85)

Sunwapta Falls
(mile 111)

Athabasca Falls
(mile 125)

Banff and Lake Louise, from the same trip
Jasper area, including Cavell Meadows, from the same trip
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