Icefields Parkway is a 140-mile long scenic drive the stretches from Banff National Park into Jasper National Park while straddling the Continental Divide. It’s truly an incredible place that needs to be seen. It is a surprisingly easy drive to make also with not too much in the way of “mountain” driving. I had driven about half of Icefields Parkway on my previous visit to Athabasca Glacier so I was really excited to make it all the way into Jasper National Park this time which was to be our home for three days.
One must-do is the short hike to Bow Summit. The trail was covered under waist-deep snow on my previous visit so it made what should have been a short, moderate-incline hike into a strenuous hike but this time everything was thawed out. It was nice to finally see Peyto Lake with it’s trademark turquoise water though the accessibility made for a crowded view at Bow Summit. I had to assertively fit my tripod into an opening whenever possible.
The weather at Athabasca Glacier was “interesting”. It’s located above tree-line so obviously the weather is harsh there. When we got out of the car it didn’t feel cold but as we made it up the steep trail to the foot of Athabasca Glacier it became unbearably windy and cold. My mom and brother had to retreat back to the car but I stuck around for a little bit to get a few photos. Even with my beanie and hoodie on, my ears were freezing. Back at the parking lot, it was somewhat breezy but much more comfortable.
It was alarming to see how much Athabasca Glacier has retreated over the past 30 years. According to the signs, the spot where I shot this photo from would have been well into the glacier in the early 1980’s. My family didn’t visit Athabasca Glacier during our trip in 1986 but I’m sure it looked much more imposing back then!
See more of my Canadian Rockies photos.