The Icefields Parkway is considered one of the world’s most scenic drives. The trip links Lake Louise and Jasper through breathtaking glaciers, larger-than-life mountains, turquoise lakes, steep cliff faces, and seemingly endless views. Whether you’re going on an Icefields Parkway bike tour or you’re choosing to take a drive in your vehicle, it’s an unforgettable trip you won’t regret. To help you enjoy the ride, here are some of our top tips for driving the Icefields Parkway.
Check road conditions and status before you
Bear in mind that there is no cell service as you’re driving the Icefields Parkway, so it’s important to check road reports before your trip. The Alberta government website lists road conditions and any known issues, like accidents or delays to expect.
Allow for extra travel time
The drive itself takes about three hours, but it’s not one of those where you want to get from point A to point B right away. You’ll likely want to stop a few times to take in the sights. We recommend allowing a couple of extra hours to get out of your car and take pictures of the beautiful scenery. We take our guests to hidden gems during our Icefields Parkway cycling tour and take plenty of stops to take in the views.
Driving the Icefields Parkway is relatively safe with well-maintained roads and steady traffic. However, as with any road trip, you’ll want to prepare a few things in case of an emergency. Again, cellphone reception is choppy in this area, so bring an emergency kit of food and water, extra clothing, and blankets.
Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas before you depart, as there are essentially no services around. The last thing you want to do is exit the highway or turn around in desperate need of a gas station!
Watch out for wildlife
One of the things that Banff National park is praised for is the wildlife overpasses that allow animals to cross the highway safely. Although these overpasses exist, it’s always important to be extra cautious. Banff is home to incredible wildlife, including bighorn sheep, wolves, bears, elk, and caribous. Always follow the speed limit, use your headlights when needed, and slow down while navigating a curve. And of course, if you do see some wildlife, be sure to take pictures safely!