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Cruising along the Icefields Parkway from Columbia Icefield to Lake Louise

Canada (Rocky Mountains) . 2016 . Apr 22


This post is part of our Canadian Rockies Trip Report and Itinerary 2016. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

Today was one of the best days of the entire vacation, for we spent most parts of the day transversing the amazing Icefield Parkway, in our journey from Jasper to Lake Louise.


Of the many exceptional roads in the Canadian Rockies, the Icefields Parkway is pre-eminent for scenic grandeur and a variety of interesting features.  All the terrain transversed by the Parkway are heavily glaciated, and the features left behind by the ice-age were the highlight of the journey.


Travelling from Jasper, the highlights were firstly the Athabasca Falls, followed by the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier.


If we had thought that we had seen it all by noon at the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier, we were proven wrong again, for the rest of the journey towards Lake Louise was equally amazing.


Thankfully, our Brewster coach driver had the good sense to give us a few pit stops along the Parkway for some scenic shots.  Its a great enjoyment to be able to stop in the middle of nowhere to gawk at the majestic scene before you.


Scenery taken from the coach as we drove by….these pictures brings back fond memories and I wish we would visit the Canadian Rockies again in the near future.


Saskatchewan River Crossing

We made a stop at the Saskatchewan River Crossing - not just a pit stop, but a much longer one where we could explore the trails on our own.


The name of this area (which is also sometimes referred to as “The Crossing”) came by historically because the locals who were leading their clients to the Columbia Icefield had to make crossings of 3 major rivers in this vicinity - the Mistaya, Howse, and North Saskatchewan.


It was known back then to be a rather difficult crossing that was demanding and challenging.  Today, we were just grateful for the fine boardwalks and trails that makes it so easy for us to view the incredible scenery here.


One thing about the Saskatchewan River Crossing was that it makes one feel small - incredibly small, insignificant and humbled when you see things in perspective.


Back on the Brewster coach and were on our way across the North Saskatchewan River Bridge in no time.

Lower Waterfowl Lake viewpoint

Our next stop was less than 20km away at the Lower Waterfowl Lake viewpoint.   I don't know the origins of the name, but its really not a very elegant name for such an elegant lake.


The Lower Waterfowl Lake is a popular spot because of its easy pull-over from the highway.


The valley’s two most distinctive peaks are clearly visible from the lake - Mount Chephren, a pyramid-shaped mountain just across from the viewpoint.  Howse Peak rises on its left.


Lower Waterfowl Lake is a relatively shallow lake and its possible to walk down to its banks for a closer look.


Bow Lake

Bow Lake was one of the highlights of the journey to Lake Louise.  It is an glacier-fed lake fed by the Bow Glacier sitting at the top of the valley.  Our access to Bow Lake was unfortunately blocked by a thick layer of snow that made it impossible to even see the lake from a distance.  At the horizon lies the famous Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, with its distinctive red roofs.


At least we got to catch a glimpse of Bow Lake from another angle as we drove away.  Bow Lake is the largest roadside lake on the Icefields Parkway and its a shame we couldn’t get to explore further.


Bow Lake was our last stop before we were on our way again towards Lake Louise.


Join us next as we experience Lake Louise.

This post is part of our Canadian Rockies Trip Report and Itinerary 2016. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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