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Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

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Greenock, United...
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120 posts
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Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

I am planning my trip to the Rockie's next July/August and the more I read books and trip advisor accounts the more I realise I will only scratch the surface of this amazing region in my two week trip. I plan to drive from Banff to Jasper for one full day setting off at 8am and finishing as late as possible whilst still driving in daylight. After 2 or 3 days in Jasper I will be driving to back along the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise.

Below is a list of stop off points that I have come across when reading. I would be VERY grateful if someone could tell me the approximate time spent stopping at any or all of these destinations (I understand fitness levels and time spent looking and taking pictures is variable person to person but just a ballpark figure if its a 5 minute stop at a lookout or a 2km walk to the particular sight).

1) Set off at 8am (or maybe earlier depending on times)

2) Drive the Bow Valley Parkway in order to visit Johnston Canyon (walk to upper falls and back)

3) Join the Icefields Parkway via Castle Junction

Then my plans are in need of some help.

I would like to see:

Herbert Lake

Bow Lake

Peyto Lake & Bow Summit (go a walk here apparently a 1.9 mile track beyond the viewpoint which is really good)

Weeping Wall

Columbia Icefields to see Athabasca Glacier (not interested in the Glacier Tour)

Tangle Falls

Sunwapta Falls

Athabasca Falls

I would like to go a walk at any of these spots if it significantly enhances the scenery.

On my way back from Jasper to Lake Louise I plan to hike Wilcox Pass and Parker's Ridge if possible so I will has much less "free time" to stop along the way.

I would love to know if it is feasible to fit all of my intended stops into the one day, and also if there are any "must see" stops I have failed to mention/come across?

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

Re: # 3 - at Castle Junction, you will re-join the Tran-Canada #1 highway. You turn off it onto the Icefields Parkway (#93N) just north of Lake Louise.

You'll be on the Icefields Parkway two days, so yes, you should have time to see all of these. Some are right beside the highway or viewed from the highway (i.e. Tangle Falls, Bow Lake, Herbert Lake, Weeping Wall); some require parking and a short walk. If you have extra time, you might add Mistaya Canyon to the list.

Wilcox Pass is 8 km to the pass and back; Parker Ridge is 5 km.

Greater Sydney...
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2. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

This is the link to the Parks Canada map for the IP. It is hard to read, but if you go to the bottom of the page you will find a link to a PDF version which is very easy to read, and print. The map plots nearly all of the features along the IP.


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3. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

I just got back from my first visit to the Canadian Rockies, and I would highly recommend stopping at Waterfowl Lake. Although I rarely see this lake mentioned anywhere, I found it to be absolutely stunning. Probably my second favorite stop in the parkway behind Peyto Lake. It's about a 5 min hike to the lake from the parkway.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

The Icefields parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper is actually only about three hours of driving. Of course, it's beautiful and there are lots of interesting stops along the way so it is definitely best to dedicate a whole day to do the drive. The Columbia Icefields is a stop along the way and it is a short walk to get to the base of the glacier. You are also likely to see some animals along the way, especially if you get on the road early in the morning.

The Bow Valley parkway is actually the scenic road from Banff to Lake Louise and it is not a long drive. So while you are staying in Banff, you could do this drive...stop in Johnston Canyon for a little hike, and then continue onto Lake Louise and drive back to Banff through the main highway.

Did you want to do a lot of hiking? Do you want to slow down and enjoy the natural surroundings? What are your interests? If you are mainly driving and sightseeing...you can see a lot of the highlights of Banff and Jasper in a short time.

Do you plan on camping or hotels?

Greenock, United...
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5. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

krp329 - thanks for the heads up regarding the directions.

Frommy - what a GREAT map, this should really be shared more often!

Samelly13 thanks for your comments. I will answer each of your questions in turn.

>>> >Did you want to do a lot of hiking?

I plan to do quite a bit of hiking. My partner and I are both young and fit and plan to hike at least 10 of the 14 days we are in the Rockies. My itinerary is starting to take shape and I will post it in full for advice once I have narrowed it down to a realistic amount of hikes (I currently have too many ideas).

>>>>Do you want to slow down and enjoy the natural surroundings?

In short I want to see as much of this incredible area during my two weeks as possible. In my head, to do this my plan is to spend a day recovering from the traveling, hike the citadel pass on day 2 and then get supplies and get ready to drive to the Icefields Parkway. I will then take in as much as possible on the Parkway (happily taking 10-12 hours to do this drive if I need to) before arriving in Jasper. I will spend 2 full days hiking there (one doing a long premier hike and one hoping around in the car seeing various "must see" sights. Afterwards I will drive to Parker Ridge/Wilcox Pass and hike then stay in a hotel in LL. I will spend a few days hiking various hikes there, go to Golden for the day and white-water raft. Then I'll head back to Banff and try to see as much of the sites in that area as possible (similar to my hopping around day in Jasper).

>>>>Do you plan on camping or hotels?

I plan to stay 2 nights in Banff, 3 nights in Jasper, 5 nights in LL, 1 night in Golden, 2 nights in Banff

But this is flexible and subject to possible change.

6. Re: Help required with my Icefields Parkway itinerary.

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