In the Icefields Parkway Drive Part 1, we left off halfway through at Saskatchewan River Crossing. As you head on in your journey, keep a lookout to your right for the weeping wall, it’s enormous and very impressive! You’ll climb some elevation into the Athabasca Glacier region, and it’s here the views get serious. You will definitely need to stop the car to get out and appreciate the magnitude of where you’re at!
In these first 2 photos we’re parked in a rest stop area at the trail head for Parker’s Ridge (a very recommended hike, more on that soon). All of the views you’ll see in the pictures today were taken from the road, except Athabasca Falls at the very end! I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where the views are so amazing just from the car!
A few miles down the road, there’s an area to stop to survey the spectacular Athabasca Glacier. There’s an interpretive center with a limited cafeteria. You can book bus excursions onto the glacier, or sign up for a guided glacier trek (more on this as well in a later post).
Most of the views on your way up this road will be on your left, making morning the best time for photography. By the time we arrived at Athabasca Glacier, I was shooting right into the sun. It’s really hard to decide where to spend your time in this area, but I would recommend photographing the first half of the drive on the way up, and for best lighting, do the 2nd half on the way back. This is definitely what we should have done in retrospect, but we wanted to pack as much as possible into our few days! Both Athabasca Glacier and Saskatchewan Glacier (accessed through Parker’s Ridge Trail) are best seen earlier in the day, and you could probably do both if you get an early start.
There are a lot of waterfalls along this drive, but we only stopped for Athabasca Falls. The falls can’t be seen from the car, but it’s only about 1/2 of a mile to see them. It’s definitely worth stopping for because the water is an unreal glacial color and the falls are big enough to be thundering through the canyon!
You take a side trip down the canyon, where the river peacefully flows out the other side (unreal color right)!
This final shot was taken at sunset from a bridge just before we reached Jasper. There’s a few picnic tables here where we stopped to cook dinner on our jet-boil stove. Whew, I’m getting tired just recounting all that we did in 1 day! See you soon for more adventures in Jasper and the Icefields!