Summer is here, and with warm weather and sunny days ahead, it’s time to hit the road and make the most of this beautiful season! If you’re looking for a unique, once-in-a-lifetime way to experience the Rockies the year, take a road trip on the scenic ice field parkway. Home to some of the more stunning views Canada has to offer, this 232km stretch of road connects Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper and travels across the Continental Divide. Frequently rated as one of the most beautiful drives in North America, the Icefield Parkway makes for a perfect 2-3 day round trip that treats you to the opportunity to stop and enjoy plenty of thrills along your adventure.
If you’re planning on making the trek this summer, below are just a few of the exciting activities you can build into your plan to make the best road trip ever! Read on to learn more!
Before we jump into the many activities available along your journey, let’s take a quick look at what you can expect while driving the parkway.
First things first, when it comes to leaving yourself enough time to make the trip, it’s important to consider what you want to do while making the drive. The parkway itself is quite extensive and takes approximately 4.5-5 hrs to drive straight through on a clear day with minimal traffic. The roadway is typically busier during the summer months due to the popularity of the park, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when planning your drive. If you plan to stop along the way and participate in any excursions, we strongly recommend taking at least 2-3 days to make the trip so you have plenty of time to relax and don’t feel rushed!
You’ll also want to bear in mind that cellphone service along the highway can be spotty, so planning ahead and downloading a map (or having a physical copy on hand) is a good idea to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
Your 3 main stops along the parkway are Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. Each location offers an exciting new landscape and plenty of different ways to explore the Canadian Wilderness. Below are a few highlights you can experience at each stop!
Banff National Park is one of Canada’s biggest natural playgrounds and there are plenty of ways to enjoy your time in the area regardless of your preferred style of adventure and experience level. Family-friendly and overall summertime favourites include:
Located approximately an hour outside of Banff (be sure to factor this into your drive time), Golden BC is home to the infamous Kicking Horse River, known around the world for its thrilling rapids and epic whitewater rafting adventures. Our experienced guides will treat you to a day on the water and help you conquer class I-IV rapids while learning more about the region. Since whitewater rafting trips do take a little more time (typically about 3 hrs in total), they’re ideal for the start or end of your parkway adventure!
The Banff Gondola
Looking for unparalleled views of Banff and the Bow Valley Region? The Banff Gondola is the perfect way to see everything from up high and have a truly magical Rocky Mountain experience! Treat yourself to a breathtaking ride soaring nearly 7,500 ft above sea level and explore the world-class interpretive centre atop Sulphur Mountain. For those looking to add a memorable and delectable additional experience to your gondola expedition, you can grab a bite to eat at the Sky Bistro, which specializes in Canadian cuisine and offers mouth-watering food for palettes of all kinds to enjoy!
Further down the parkway, you’ll venture towards Lake Louise, home to one of Canada’s most famous lakes and plenty of areas to hike, canoe, and explore via one of our many sightseeing tours.
In between Lake Louise and Jasper you can also take a break and explore the natural wonder of the Columbia Icefield, featuring ancient glaciers that makeup one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world. Take a walk on the jaw-dropping glass walkway and get a bird’s eye view of the fields while learning more about these amazing formations and the history of the area.
Jasper is a hub of activity in the mountains and home to a wide variety of activities including hiking, golfing, biking, canoeing and more! As the perfect spot to begin or end your trip, there are countless ways to explore this end of the parkway and make the most of your journey!
Get More Out of the Mountains This Summer!
Learn how Banff Adventures can help you plan the perfect summer road trip activities by contacting our team today!
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