28 Most Compelling Stops on the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada, is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Mountain ranges on each side flank this winding road following the Sunwapta River and the Athabasca River in the Canadian Rockies. This article lists the most compelling stops on the Icefields Parkway, making the ultimate road trip in the Canadian Rockies a fantastic experience with views and landscapes like no other.

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Icefields Parkway travel guide showing Lake Peyto with the mountains in the background
guide de voyage sur la promenade des Glaciers

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About the Icefields Parkway


Where is the Icefields Parkway?

The Icefields Parkway spans from Lake Louise to Jasper in Alberta, Canada, traversing part of the Canadian Rockies. It wanders through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive the Icefields Parkway?

The Icefields Parkway is 230 kilometres long. It takes close to 3 hours to drive the entire highway. However, it would be best if you planned for a whole day to enjoy the many sights and stops the parkway offers.

Some travellers spend a few days along the Icefields Parkway to take advantage of all the sights, activities and hiking. Accommodations and campgrounds are available for those who wish to spend more time in the area.

Accommodations on the Icefields Parkway

There are numerous campgrounds, hostels and lodges along the 230 kilometres of the Icefields Parkway. The following article lists them according to their distance from either Lake Louise in Banff National Park or Jasper in Jasper National Park. The links will bring you to a booking platform should you wish to make reservations for the lodges or hostels recommended in the article.

Remember that most campgrounds are first-come, first-serve and rarely offer electric sites. They accommodate tents and small RVs. The hostels are part of the HI Canada Hostels and are rustic rooms and cabins without running water or electricity, though they are full of charm and immersed in nature.

When is the Best Time to Drive the Icefields Parkway?

The Icefields Parkway is best enjoyed from May to October. However, it does get busier during the summer months, July and August. The drive from November to April can be trickier with the snow, but it is still an enjoyable ride when the weather is clear. Snow tires are mandatory on the Icefields Parkway in the winter. 

How Much Does it Cost to Drive the Icefields Parkway?

Driving the Icefields Parkway is free of cost if you are driving through. However, if you wish to stop and enjoy the sights and attractions along the way, you will need a Parks Canada pass. You can purchase a day pass for Banff National Park and Jasper National Park at $10,50 CAN per adult or a season pass (Parks Canada Discovery Pass) at $72 per adult or $145 for a group or family. The choice will mainly depend on how much time you spend along the parkway.

Where are the gas stations on the Icefields Parkway?

There are not many stations on the Icefields Parkway. I recommend filling it up whenever you come across a gas station, even if you don’t immediately need to. There are gas stations at either end of the parkway in Lake Louise and Jasper. You will also find a gas station with a convenience store in Saskatchewan River Crossing, 80 kilometres from Lake Louise or 150 kilometres from Jasper.

Amazing Stops on the Icefields Parkway

from Lake Louise to Jasper


Herbert Lake

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 6 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 225 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

This is an easy 1.6-kilometre trail through the woods around Herbert Lake.

Hector Lake

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 22 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 210 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

You can view Hector Lake and the surrounding mountains from a pull-off on the Icefields Parkway. 

Mosquito Campground – 27 kilometres from Lake Louise is a first-come, first-serve camping

The HI Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel – 28 kilometres from Lake Louise offers shared rooms and family rooms.

Crowfoot Glacier 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 36 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 195 km
  • Appreciation: 3 stars

View the Crowfoot Glacier nestled in the mountains above Bow Lake.

Crowfoot Glacier above Bow Lake

Bow Lake 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 39 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 194 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

Bow Lake is a beautiful glacier-fed lake along the Icefields Parkway. The clear blue lake and the mountains in the background make it worth the stop. 

Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway

Bow Glacier Falls 

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 39 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 194 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

A moderate 9-kilometre out-and-back hiking trail along Bow Lake and towards the tall Bow Glacier Falls. Hikers can get up close to the foot of the falls. 

Bow Glacier Falls

The Lodge is 40 kilometres from Lake Louise on the shores of Bow Lake.

Peyto Lake

  • Type: viewpoint and hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 44 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 189 km
  • Appreciation: 5+ stars

This is a very popular stop on the Icefields Parkway for a good reason. This magical blue lake surrounded by mountains offers one of the best views along the highway. Visitors can do a bit of hiking from the viewpoint to get higher above the lake for a different view.

Peyto Lake from the Viewpoint on the Icefields Parkway

Mount Patterson Glacier

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 50 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 182 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

The quick stop on this pull-off by the Icefields Parkway lets you admire this massive glacier. 

Silverhorn Creek Campground – 55 kilometres from Lake Louise is a reservable campground.

Chephren Lake

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 61 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 172 km
  • Appreciation: 4 stars

This moderate 8-kilometre hiking trail starts from the Waterfowl Lake campground and brings hikers to Chephren Lake, surrounded by high peaks.

Waterfowl Lake 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 62 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 171  km
  • Appreciation:  4 stars

Take in the view of the Waterfowl Lakes and the mountains from this Icefields Parkway pull-off.

Waterfowl Lake on the Icefields Parkway

Waterfowl Lakes Campground – 62 kilometres from Lake Louise is a first-come, first-served campground.

Mistaya Canyon

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 75 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 158 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The short one-kilometre hike to Mistaya Canyon on a wide gravel path brings hikers to a bridge overlooking the deep canyon with the raging water at its bottom. Hikers can also hike along the rocky shores of the river. 

Mystaya Canyon from the bridge on the trail

Howes Pass 

  • Type: viewpoint and picnic area
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 79 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 154 km
  • Appreciation: 3 stars

This viewpoint offers magnificent views of the valley and the surrounding mountains. Interpretive signs teach us about the importance of the Saskatchewan River and the glaciers. 

View of Howes Pass on the Icefields Parkway

Saskatchewan River Crossing

  • Type: convenience store and gas station
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 80 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 153 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

This stop can be necessary at the Crossing Gas Station and Store if you need to replenish food, drinks or fuel. The Crossing Store also has souvenirs and includes a restaurant. In addition, you will find accommodations here, at The Crossing Resort, if you wish to have extra days to explore this region.

Saskatchewan River Crossing on the Icefields Parkway

The HI Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel, 92 kilometres from Lake Louise, offers rooms for rent with a common kitchen and lounge.

Rampart Creek Campground – 94 kilometres from Lake Louise is a reservable campground.

Weeping Wall 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 106 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 126 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

The Weeping Wall is like seeing a hundred waterfalls cascading down a rock wall. The wall is crying, and the main cascade is appropriately called the Teardrop. 

The Big Bend

  • Type: a bend in the road (a big one) 
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 115 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 118 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

You won’t need to stop to experience the Big Bend, as it is a bend in the road. There is a pull-off with a great view if you can make the time. 

the Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway

Bridal Veil Falls

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 115 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 117 km
  • Appreciation: 3 stars

You will see the sign for the parking lot, which serves as a viewpoint for the Bridal Veil Falls. It is also a trailhead for our next stop.

Panther Falls

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 115 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 117 km
  • Appreciation: 4 stars

A short hiking trail of a few hundred metres from the Bridal Veil Falls parking lot will bring you up close to Panther Falls. Hikers can get in the alcove behind the falls with a bit of scrambling.

Parker Ridge

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 120 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 112 km
  • Appreciation: 4 stars

Parker Ridge Trail is a moderate 6-kilometre hike that leads hikers through multiple switchbacks in a forested area up to a ridge where Saskatchewan Glacier is in full view with the valley and the river below.

View of the Saskatchewan Glacier from the Parker Ridge Trail

The HI Hilda Creek Wilderness Hostel, 122 kilometres from Lake Louise, sits on the border of Banff and Jasper National Parks.

Wilcox Pass

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 125 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 107 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The Wilcox Pass hiking trail is a challenging 11-kilometre hike with a 400-meter altitude gain. If brave enough to tackle this trail, you might be rewarded with big-horn sheep hanging around in the meadows. The trail ends on the ridge with a beautiful view of the Athabasca Glacier in the mountains.

View of the Athabasca Glacier from Wilcox Pass Trail

Wilcox Creek Campground- 107 kilometres from Jasper is a first-come, first-served campground.

Columbia Icefield Discovery Center and Glacier Walk Tour

  • Type: discovery centre, guided tour and hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 128 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 104 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The Jasper National Park Discovery Centre on the Icefields Parkway is a must-stop. This is the only place between Lake Louise and Jasper where you can have wifi. There is also a restaurant and a souvenir shop. You can enjoy the view of the Athabasca Glacier from the center’s deck. The centre has a fascinating exhibition about alpine wildlife and the history and geology of the glacier.

A short hike across the road leads hikers to the toe of the glacier, with interpretive signs along the way. You can book a tour with the Columbia Icefield Adventure for the Athabasca Glacier Walk and Skywalk at the centre.

The Ice Explorer on the Athabasca Glacier Walk in the Columbia Icefield

Icefields RV and tent campgrounds – 105 kilometres from Jasper are fist-come, first-served campgrounds.

Glacier View Lodge – 104 kilometres from Jasper – offers guest rooms with stunning views of the glacier.

Columbia Icefield Sky Walk

  • Type: guided tour
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 135 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 98 km
  • Appreciation: 4 stars

The Glacier Sky Walk can only be accessed through the Columbia Icefield Adventure Tour. The observation deck’s glass floor stands 280 meters above the Sunwapta Valley. 

Columbia icefield sky walk over the Sunwapta Valley

Tangle Creek Falls 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 137 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 96 km
  • Appreciation: 4 stars

A beautiful waterfall cascades down a high wall. The parking is on the west side of the Icefields Parkway, with the falls on the east side.

Tangle Creek Falls from the Icefields Parkway

Stutfield Glacier 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 138 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 95 km
  • Appreciation: 2 stars

The Stutfield Glacier Day-Use Area offers a magnificent view of the mountains and glaciers.

Stutfields Glacier from the Icefields Parkway

Beauty Creek and Stanley Falls

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 145 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 88 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The Beauty Creek Trail to Stanley Falls is an easy 4-kilometre return hike along Beauty Creek. The trail offers beautiful scenery of the creek and the mountains all the way to Stanley Falls.

Stanley Falls on the Beauty Creek Trail

HI Beauty Creek Wilderness Hostel – 86 kilometres from Jasper, offers shared rooms and a common kitchen.

Jonas Creek Campground – 77 kilometres from Jasper is a first-come, first-serve campground.

Sunwapta Falls

  • Type: viewpoint and hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 177 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 56 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The day-use area of Sunwapta Falls is a busy stop but with good reason. The impressive falls are a beautiful sight. You can view them from the bridge and the lookouts on either side or hike down on the trail following the river to Lower Falls and the Sunwapta River.

Sunwapta Falls raging waters tumbling down with the rocky cliffs on both sides and the mountain in the backdrop

Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge – 55 kilometres from Jasper, includes breakfast with every room.

Honeymoon Lake Campground – 52 kilometres from Jasper is a first-come, first-served campground.

Goats and Glacier Lookout

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 195 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 38 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

This pull-off on the Icefields Parkway is a perfect place to stop for a picnic, and if you are lucky, you might be treated to the presence of a herd of mountain goats.

Mountains Goats in the Canadian Rockies

Kerkeslin Campground – 35 kilometres from Jasper is a first-come, first-serve campground.

Athabasca Falls

  • Type: viewpoint and hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 200 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 33 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

Athabasca Falls is another popular and busy stop on the Icefields Parkway. The rushing water cascading down the river is an impressive sight. You can view the falls from the lookout or hike past the falls across the bridge and down a set of rocky stairs to the Athabasca River shore.

Waters of Athabasca Falls cascading on the rocky steps

HI Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel – 33 kilometres from Jasper, offers shared and private rooms and a huge common kitchen and lounge area.

Athabasca Pass 

  • Type: viewpoint
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 207 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 26 km
  • Appreciation: 3 stars

This pull-off on the Icefields Parkway offers fantastic views of Athabasca Pass and Mount Edith Cavell, towering over the other mountains. It is a nice break from driving.

View of Mount Edith Cavell from the Icefields Parkway

Wabasso Campground – 17 kilometres from Jasper is a reservable campground.

Valley of the Five Lakes

  • Type: hiking trail
  • Distance from Lake Louise: 222 km
  • Distance from Jasper: 10 km
  • Appreciation: 5 stars

The Valley of the Five Lakes is a moderate 5-kilometre loop around five emerald lakes with mountains as a backdrop. You will find the Parks Canada red chairs along the trail overlooking two of the lakes.

Emerald blue lake on the Valley of the 5 Lakes Trail

Wapiti – 6 kilometres from Jasper is a reservable campground.

Whistlers – 4 kilometres from Jasper is a reservable campground.

Beckers Chalets – 7 kilometres from Jasper

Jasper House Bungalows – 4 kilometres from Jasper

Alpine Village Jasper – 3 kilometres from Jasper

The End of the Road Trip on the Icefields Parkway

After driving the 230 kilometres of the Icefields Parkway with hikes and lookouts along the way, it is easy to understand how this scenic drive is one the most beautiful and impressive in the world. This epic adventure is a signature Canadian experience! For more adventures surrounded by those spectacular mountains, check out this travel guide for the ultimate road trip in the Canadian Rockies.

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8 Comments

  1. One day I will visit Canada! It is on top of my travel bucket list. I will save your post for when the time has finally come 😀 it looks like sucha great adventures and natural country.

  2. Every single location is just breathtaking!! I appreciate all the information!

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