Icefields Parkway and the Columbia Icefield

Have you ever wanted to drive into a postcard? A place so perfect you just kind of sit with your mouth hanging open and can’t find words to describe what you’re looking at? That is Alberta’s Icefields Parkway. In every direction, for as far as you can see, are towering mountains, brightly colored lakes, and massive glaciers.


The Icefields Parkway connects Banff and Jasper National Parks directly through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. One question that most people ask… can I drive the Icefields Parkway in one sitting? The answer is yes. From Lake Louise (where the Icefields Parkway begins) all the way to Jasper will only take you about 3 hours. However, that is without stopping and without exploring. And trust me… this is so NOT how you want to experience this amazing road. In fact… we headed to the Icefields Parkway multiple times on our trip, so we didn’t miss anything.

The third day of our honeymoon was spent driving from Canmore, up to the Icefields Parkway, and up to Jasper National Park. We had tickets for The Glacier Adventure with Brewster Canada… and we were SO pumped! We woke up early and headed to the gas station. (Just a tidbit… be sure to fill up your gas tank before you head up the parkway. The gas stations are few and far between, and because of this, the gas is very expensive. I’d also recommend packing a cooler filled with snacks, and a lunch. We are literally always hungry, and can’t be in the car more than an hour without food!) Once our car was filled up, we started the journey north.

There were SO many amazing spots to stop and take pictures… but we didn’t stop on the way. We had to get to The Icefields Discovery Center by 10. So we made a list of all the turnouts I wanted pictures at so we could stop on the way back through. Another little tip about the Icefields Parkway? You’re going to lose radio reception not far after Lake Louise. So I highly recommend packing a CD, or an auxiliary cord. You’re also going to lose cell service pretty quickly. Be sure to check out your route before you leave, and pack a map!

Now on to The Glacier Adventure!

After a lot of research, I found that Brewster’s Glacier Adventure was one of the highest rated attractions in the area. I knew I had to do it. I mean… how many times do you have the chance to play on a glacier in your life?? Be sure to book your tickets in advance. People were trying to book tours while we were there, and they were already full. We had our tickets printed out already, and had checked in the day before in downtown Banff. So when we got there, we just got right in line to get on the bus.

The bus drives you up to the base of the glacier, where you switch onto an ice explorer. These things are freaking awesome. There are only 27 in the world, and Brewster owns 26 of them. Your guide gives you all sorts of Snapple facts as they drive you onto the glacier. Once you get there, you get about a half hour to play in the snow and ice. Be sure to watch your step while on the glacier. You just might end up stepping through some ice and getting a wet leg. *Cough*Trevor*Cough*

It was truly a once in a life time experience. It’s so beautiful and so so so cold. It snowed while we were there… even though it was June! I would recommend packing mittens, or buying a cute pair in Banff like I did. Don’t forget to take an empty water bottle with you. They let you fill them up with glacier water. Drinking ice cold water from the glacier we were standing on was so dang awesome.



After our time was up, our ice explorer took us back to the bus. Then the bus drove us over to the glacier skywalk. Fair warning… If you don’t like heights, you WILL NOT like this. My hubby and heights just don’t get along, and he hated every minute of the skywalk. However, if you’re up for a little adventure, you will LOVE this. You walk along the cliff’s edge all the way to a glass platform that hangs off the cliff, 918 feet in the air. It is insane. And so freaking cool. The views are breathtaking and you truly feel like you are on top of the world.



Once we finished on the skywalk, we hopped on a shuttle bus back to the Discovery Center where our car was parked. We drove a few miles back towards Banff until we found the PERFECT spot to have our picnic lunch. We could have sat there for hours… but we knew rain was heading back towards us, and I still had a lot of places I wanted to stop on the way back down! It took us twice as long coming back, than it did going. It is just way too beautiful to not stop hundreds of times!


We were exhausted by the time we got back from our adventure. So we decided to take a nap, instead of getting cleaned up and heading to Banff for dinner. When we woke up, we were feeling recharged and ready to go. So we headed to A&W (Guys… Canadian A&W is literally a million times better than American A&W) and took it for a picnic at Quarry Lake. Best last minute decision ever! Quarry Lake was beautiful. It was only about a mile from our hotel, and it was so peaceful!


It was another perfect day on our honeymoon. Next Travel Tuesday, I’ll be talking about our trip back up the parkway to Peyto Lake. I’m SOOOOO excited to tell you all about it. Peyto Lake was honestly my favorite day on our vacation. I’m practically bursting at the seams waiting to tell you all about it! You won’t want to miss it.


I hope this post fills you with a bit of wanderlust. I know I’m itching to go on another adventure just thinking back on this stunning place!


9 thoughts on “Icefields Parkway and the Columbia Icefield

      1. I have travel that area a great deal. I Burgess Shale, if you like geology is very cool.if it is open to the public. great hike too
        and take a horse back tour from Lake Louise up to the tea house is a wonderful expereience’


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