Along the Icefields Parkway

Crowfoot Glacier and Bow Lake

From Glacier, we headed north to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. A few days later, we drove back down the same road to Lake Louise (there really isn’t any other way). We made several stops each time which I’ve combined into one south to north sequence, starting with the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint (above).

Peyto Lake and Bow Lake Lookout

This was a day of very poor visibility due to smoke blowing over from the fires in BC. From the parking lot at Bow Summit, a short, steep, paved trail leads to a viewing platform over Peyto Lake (first picture). It was thronged with people so we only got one photograph but, as is often the case, we carried on a bit further and lost most of them. The trail to Bow Lake Lookout goes through forest, moraine and snow, some of which is not terribly solid. Guess who went in to thigh level? Still, to make up for that we met a cute marmot. The view of Bow Lake was pretty enough but nothing like it could have been in other circumstances. The picture near the end of the gallery, slightly enhanced, is the best we have.

Parker’s Ridge

The trail to Parker’s Ridge, overlooking the Saskatchewan Glacier, is about half way between Lake Louise and Jasper. We hiked here in 2007 too – the weather wasn’t great then, but better than it was in 2017 with a squall of hail at the top. The panoramas below are just before the storm and just after.

Bears!

On the drive down from Jasper, we saw a mother with two cubs! Much zoomed and a bit blurry, but still – bears!

Sunwapta Falls

We stopped here on the way down and had lunch at the nearby Sunwapta Falls Resort. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a lot better than the meal we had at the resort at Saskatchewan River Crossing on the way up – although, to be fair, there are three places to eat on site. We chose the Parkway Pub for the views from its deck – I’d recommend you to forego the view and try one of the other options.

Athabasca Falls

We spent about an hour here exploring the various trails round the Falls. Such awesome power in the water – we were reminded of this by the plaques to those who thought it would be fun to hop over the fence and never came back.

Three busy days in Jasper coming up next.

Canadian Rockies: Jasper and the Icefields Parkway

Along the Icefields Parkway
Along the Icefields Parkway

Heading north on the Icefields Parkway we stopped off at the Icefield Centre to take a tour of the Athabasca Glacier in an Ice Explorer, a vehicle with balloon tyres that can drive over the crevassed surface. There was also plenty of time to walk (slide) about on the ice and take pictures.

The next day (my 50th birthday) we hiked the Cavell Meadows trail. The snow-covered Mount Edith Cavell peeks out in the centre of the photo below – at 11000+ feet, no way were we ever going to hike all the way up that!

Mount Edith Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell

The Cavell Meadows trail took us to several viewpoints with good views of the mountain and Angel Glacier.

Day 2 saw us at Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake.

On our final day in Jasper we took the Jasper Tramway 3280 feet up the steep north face of The Whistlers – named after the hoary marmots that live there – and we were lucky enough to see one. From the upper terminal, we hiked to the true summit.

The next day we headed back south to our last stop – Lake Louise. More next Monday!