The Icefields Parkway drive within an hour of Lake Louise

In researching our trip to the Canadian Rockies, I knew that the Icefields Parkway was something we had to cross off of our list.  However, we were short on time, so we knew we couldn’t travel too far from our base in Lake Louise- so these sites on the Icefields Parkway drive are all within an hour of Lake Louise.

The Icefields Parkway is an iconic drive, maybe lesser-known to Americans than California’s Highway 1 or the Blue Ridge Parkway, but lacking nothing in jaw-dropping views.

Icefields Parkway is also known as highway 93 and it begins just north of Lake Louise.  The parkway itself is free, but you do need to have your National Parks Pass for admission.  We paid $80 CAD for a 4-day pass to the parks.  You can take the Icefields Parkway all the way to Jasper, AB but our short getaway just didn’t allow us the time we needed to do this.

Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along the Parkway in Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.

The road is well-maintained and has numerous pull-over spots.

Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.
They were obviously out of neutral colors at the rental counter.

The first place I knew I wanted to see was Bow Lake.

Bow Lake

For the best view, don’t pull over at the lookout- but look for the signs for the Num Ti-Jah Lodge.  The Lodge was not open while we were there (it appeared to be under renovation), but you can still park there and walk right up to the lake.

Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.
Icefields Parkway drive within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.

If it would have been a little warmer, I’d be happy to sit on this bridge with a good book.  The reflections in the lake are gorgeous if you can get past the tour bus crowds arriving every so often!

Peyto Lake

Just a little more north of Bow Lake is Peyto Lake.  This is the stop I’d been waiting for, as the photographic image I’d placed in my mind begged me to see it in person.  The electric blue water against the snow-draped mountains is a highlight for travelers from all over the world (trust me, you’ll see all the tourists even on a snowy day)!

Those not arriving by bus have to park about 1/4 mile from the viewing platform and walk up the hill (err, mountain).  The walk is well-paved but it is steep.  This is where Mr. YT and I determined that we were either dealing with some altitude-related struggles OR we really needed to hit the treadmill when we got home — the answer is probably both!

Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.
PEYTO LAKE- Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.
Snnoowww

From Peyto Lake, we returned south towards Lake Louise.  We really wanted to get settled in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (check current rates) before dark so we could have a look at the property.  I’m so glad we did because we had about zero visibility the next two days!

So, friends, you don’t have to have an entire day to enjoy some spectacular Canadian Rockies views.  I’d easily do this drive again!

Read more about our Canadian Rockies adventure HERE & HERE.  Interested in Travel Hacking a trip to Canada?- CHECK THIS OUT.

Have you been to the Canadian Rockies?  Maybe the US Rockies?  Where can I find blue water as bright as this?!

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There's plenty to see on the Icefields Parkway near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.  You don't have to venture far to see some amazing scenery and mountain grandeur.  Here are my tips for if you go.
Icefields Parkway within an hour of Lake Louise. Short on time? Visit these stops along with Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.

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