Canada Travels with Friends

Trip Rewind Canada 2009: Icefields Parkway, Alberta

icefields parkway
Athabasca Glacier

After visiting Lake Louise, Drama Papa and I headed north along the Icefields Parkway. This parkway is peculiar to me as it is inside a national park but also a main highway along with highway speeds. National Parks are well known for their slow speed limits but we were able to zip right along. 

icefields parkway
Who wouldn’t want to take this out to the glacier and then walk around!

We continued along the Icefields Parkway, reaching the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier. As we toured the visitor center I became super excited about an unplanned excursion, taking a ride on the Ice Explorer out to the glacier and then being able to walk around glacier. My heart fluttered with excitement until Drama Papa said “I don’t want to do that”. Uh OK… why not? This looked amazing!?!?!? In hindsight I wish I would have ditched him at the visitor center and taken the ride by myself.  Next time I am there I will be sure to go!

icefields parkway
Icefields Parkway
icefields parkway
signs that indicate just how much the glacier has receded over the years.

We did however walk up to the Athabasca Glacier.  As we were walking Drama Papa mentioned that he did not think it was as far to the glacier as it was then he was a child. I figured it was just because it was 25 years later and he did not have the energy of a little kid anymore. Turns out he was right. As we walked up to the glacier the trail was marked with signs indicating where the glacier was at certain years and showed the obvious melting pattern. It was pretty disheartening to see how much the glacier had receded. The glacier is still rather large at about 125 square miles (325 square km) even if it is melting at a pretty steady pace.

icefields parkway
part of the glacier exposed

If you would like to partake in the fun at the Columbia Icefield (meaning please take the ride on the Ice Explorer so I can live vicariously through you!) I found this link below that has discounted tickets to the major attractions around the national parks and the parkway. The more activities you combine the more you will save. They offer the Ice Explorer, Banff Gondola, a Lake Cruise around Banff Lake and the newly added Glacier Skywalk. Tickets can be used over a period of days (just as long as they are in the same year purchased).  Note this is not an affiliate, I just found it and thought I would share!

Sunwapta Falls
Sunwapta Falls

After our jaunt to the glacier we continued on, stopping at the Sunwapta Falls Resort. We grabbed a quick beer at the resort and chatted with the bartender, who recommended we visit the Sunwapta Falls just down the road. We took a quick walk down to the falls and were pleasantly surprised with a nice little waterfall.

Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls

We also made a stop at Athabasca Falls which is about 20 miles (32 Kilometers) south of Jasper. It was another fairly small waterfall but who doesn’t like a waterfall, right?

This post is part of the Travel Photo Thursdays at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Sunday Traveler.

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16 replies on “Trip Rewind Canada 2009: Icefields Parkway, Alberta”

It looks gorgeous there! I love national parks and glaciers! I always take the opportunities to make a special trip to glaciers whenever I’m near one 🙂

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