WORDS BY ALISON JONES | DECEMBER 15, 2017
Routinely described as one of the best drives in the world, the iconic road trip on the Icefields Parkway in Canada (and on to CMH Cariboos) is one you won’t soon forget. Here are the best tips and stops along the way.
Calgary: Flying into Calgary International Airport is the ideal location to start your summer adventure travel. There has been significant investment in the airport’s infrastructure and terminals, making it a very welcoming arrival to the destination. If you arrive in good time, you can hit the road immediately. For those needing to rest any weary heads, the brand new in-terminal Marriot Airport Hotel is modern, comfortable and has the best hot showers in the city.
Banff: One of the most famous towns in Canada, Banff is pretty enough to spend a few days exploring in on its own. If you’re pushed for time, take a stop in the town to grab a coffee at Whitebark Café and stretch your legs with a walk on Banff Avenue.
Icefield Parkway: Shortly after Lake Louise, you’ll see the sign for the Icefields Parkway. Once you turn off on Highway 93, it’s straight until Jasper. Tip, make sure you’re loaded up with gas as there’s only one stop on the 232km stretch that’s open for fuel; Saskatchewan River Crossing. Also note that this gas station is also only open in summer, not winter.
Bow Lake: The scale of the lake and the scenery here is nothing short of breathtaking. See if you can spot Bow Glacier Falls towards the back of the lake. The short distance from the parking lot to the actual lake makes this a quick yet utterly stunning stop.
Peyto Lake: If you haven’t had your fill of spectacular lakes, pull into Peyto Lake. This 10-15minute walk will take you to a viewpoint above one of the most distinctive lakes in Canada.
Columbia Icefield: The largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies straddles the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia. Stop, stare and awe.
Athabasca Falls: The natural wonders just keep coming. It’s here that you can see the Athabasca river squeeze itself through a narrow corridor, cutting a deep canyon into the solid rock bed. You can safely walk next to the raging river on an interpretive trail while learning about the river, or you can just marvel at the power of nature in action.
Jasper: A cool mountain town with access to impressive hikes and beautiful vistas. Jasper is the town a little less travelled and has a charm to it that’s rarely replicated anywhere else. Stop at The Raven Bistro (https://theravenbistro.com/) for deliciously fresh food. If you’re looking for a room, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a luxurious basecamp set on the shore of Lac Beauvert. From Jasper, it’s just one more hour of stunning scenery to the CMH Cariboos helipad.
Mt. Robson: The highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mt. Robson sits at a cool 12,972ft (3,954m) and is visible from many of the hiking trails you fly to at CMH Cariboos. The video above is via Joelschat on Instagram.
CMH Cariboos: You’ve arrived! Leave the car behind and take the heli to the remote Cariboo lodge. Surrounded by thick cedar forests and views of ancient glaciers, this backcountry luxury lodge is your gateway to an area remote, rugged and breathtakingly wild. Learn more >>