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Canada's Icefields Parkway

The scenic drive between Lake Louise and Jasper bypasses alpine forests, glaciers, waterfalls, and stunning vistas.

Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies
Photo caption
Drive Canada's Icefields Parkway, a 143-mile road between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper.

Some of the most spectacular scenery in North America unfolds along Canada's Highway 93 between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper. The 143-mile road, which snakes along the Continental Divide separating Alberta and British Columbia, passes alpine forests, 150 glaciers, bear and caribou crossings, and some of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Here are the best stops along the route. Allow a full day—and fuel up at the start.

  • NUM-TI-JAH LODGE Try the open-faced breakfast sandwich—ciabatta and fried eggs with garnishes such as salmon and Mornay sauce—served at this log cabin–style retreat on Bow Lake. (403) 522-2167,
  • PEYTO LAKE VIEWPOINT An uphill ramble to an overlook atop Bow Summit reveals a sparkling lake tinted turquoise by a fine glacial dust (or rock flour) that seeps into the basin. (403) 522-3833.
  • ICEFIELD CENTRE A bus with five-foot-tall snow tires shuttles day-trippers onto the Athabasca Glacier for a walk on the ice. Scale models in the Glacier Gallery show how the huge formations advance and retreat. (877) 423-7433,
  • SUNWAPTA FALLS Even from the footbridge 60 feet above, it's easy to see why the falls' name means "turbulent water" in Stoney, the local Indian language. (780) 852-6176.
  • ATHABASCA FALLS Gaze at one of the most powerful waterworks in Jasper National Park as the Athabasca River cascades—with a thunderous roar—into a tight gorge. (780) 852-6176.
  • JASPER-YELLOWHEAD MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES From September 14 to 30, honor Jasper National Park's dwindling woodland caribou herds by checking out Tuktu Prayers, an exhibit in which local artists invoke the threatened species as their muse. (780) 852-3013,

Illustration by Michael Klein

This article was first published in September 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.