It’s considered one of the world’s best scenic drives, but tooling along Alberta’s Icefields Parkway isn’t the only — or necessarily the best — way to experience the spectacular 232-kilometre route that stretches from Lake Louise in the south to Jasper in the north.
Instead, think about parking the car (and yourself) for a few days at the Glacier View Lodge, which has just reopened after extensive renovations. Located near the southern boundary of Jasper National Park and offering views of the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield, the lodge is an ideal place from which to base a multi-day exploration of the Icefields Parkway.
The lodge offers rooms with either a mountain view or glacier view, but its most appealing option is the all-inclusive experience, which gives you a choice of room (based on availability) plus a champagne reception upon arrival, an evening tour of the Athabasca Glacier, a three-course gourmet dinner in the on-site Altitude restaurant, stargazing with expert interpreters and telescopes, a buffet breakfast and a private, guided morning excursion on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk.
After a day or two at the lodge, you can head an hour’s drive north along the parkway to Jasper, stopping to view sites such as Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, or go beyond the route entirely and make for Banff, 21/2 hours to the south. On a recent trip to the region, Canandian Geographic Travel’s creative director Javier Frutos chose the latter option, visiting Moraine Lake and Lake Minnewanka, spotting wildlife such as deer, bighorn sheep and elk, and taking the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for dinner at Sky Bistro.
Check out Frutos’ images of his travels in Banff and along the Icefields Parkway below.