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.
The road is well-maintained and has numerous pull-over spots.
The first place I knew I wanted to see was 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.
If it would have been a little warmer, I’d been 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! 🙂
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!
From Peyto Lake, we returned south towards Lake Louise. We really wanted to get settled in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise before dark so we could have a look around 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!
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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