After spending a few days in Banff it was time to to travel north along the Icefields Parkway and relocate camp somewhere along the way to explore Jasper Park. The weather wasn’t encouraging but we chose to get out and take advantage of any non raining time we could get to go see what we could see.
Crowfoot Glacier seemed to pop up into view quickly as we embarked for our first half of the journey. Loving the views especially now that our front window is clean.
Bow lake made for a perfect early breakfast pit stop. Mr. Cooper enjoyed the break and picnic area stop. In the morning quiet with the surrounding mountain, I found this lake just as much if not more splendid than the more popular Lake Louise.
We spent that first afternoon checking out the Icefield Centre, viewing the Athabasca Glacier, Dome Glacier and the Snowdome from their terraced building. The centre’s lower level houses numerous displays about glaciers and a small theater. From the centre, drive across the parkway to the lower parking lot and enjoy a short walk to the toe of the glacier.
Toe of the Glacier trail is an easy 1 km trek up to the edge and loop walk. You can purchase a guided walking tour onto the glacier and we saw several groups making their way up…like little ants on a mound of snow and ice.
If you look closely on the trail, you’ll also notice the glacier markings on the rocky surface as you walk up. The ice moving across the rock surface left patterns as it scraped across the land. There are dated moraine markers indicating when the glacier created that rumble of rock and left it when it receded.
Sunwapta Falls, one of the must stops on the drive, is a powerhouse. Two branches of the Athabasca river drilled into the rock surface and created this canyon.
Continuing northward we stopped to see Fryatt Peak at the Goats and Glaciers overlook. This overlooked provided a good view of the river basin, forest and mountain. No goats. Along our cloudy drive we were amazed and in awe of just how large these mountains are…many with sharp, flat slopes let you visualize the power it took.
Another must stop and the last one we did before getting to Jasper was Athabasca Falls. These are smaller falls leading you to a gorgeous, deep canyon and ends by revealing the calm, white & light blue water of the river continuing north.
The trail to see the end of the canyon was a nice easy set of stairs. We were interested in the canyon side but you could also head to the left and make your way down to the calming river’s edge.
We continued north to Jasper so we could get some gas and a few groceries before heading back to camp. A long pleasant drive with a few stops for avalanche rocks cleanup, changing colors a few more glacier views to snap.
Where to next?
We will enjoy our Jasper campsite one more night and make our way south west through Yoho and Glacier National parks over the next couple of days before landing back in the USA. Our next Jasper visit will include hiking. We tabled the hikes to focus on seeing the full Icefields parkway and not spend time potentially getting water logged from looming rain.