One of the main attractions of Jasper National Park in the summer is the chance to take a coach out onto the Columbia Icefields.
Welcome to a world of ice. Welcome to the feeder of no fewer than eight glaciers. Welcome to a land where continents meet.
You’ve just entered the Columbia Icefields.
Found at the southern end of Jasper National Park, and measuring about 325 square kilometers, the icefields are among the most unique and stirring places you will ever visit. They are an incredible sight.
In the summer, you can even ride out onto the ice itself in a snowcoach. (Be warned: Don’t tread alone. The ice may look thick, but in many places it’s thin enough to break under your weight.)
It’s an absolute must-see on any vacation – and the road leading to it is a must-drive.
The Icefields Parkway connects Jasper National Park with Banff National Park to the south, and for fans of mountain vistas and roads, there is no better road. It’s an all-day commitment, but it’s worth it.
What else will you see, besides the icefields? A pair of glaciers, for starters: the Bow and Crowfoot glaciers. Athabasca Falls are also on the itinerary. Peyto Lake awaits you, too.
Wildlife enthusiasts, the parkway offers you excellent opportunities to see moose, caribou, and the ever-elusive black bear and grizzly bear.
There are many places to stop for a picnic, a hike, a bit of fishing or just a long look at the scenery.
Drivers, take note: The parkway stays open year-round, but service stations and visitors’ centers along the way are closed from October through May. If you visit in the winter, fill’er up before you embark.