2014 Acura MDX Road Trip: Alberta’s Rockies Part 2

2014 Acura MDX - Icefields Parkway, Banff/Jasper National Park

Although Highway 93 was given the name Icefields Parkway for its abundance of glaciers, there are many reasons why this route is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. Connecting Alberta’s Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, this 232 km (144 mile) stretch of road combines jagged mountain peaks, sweeping valleys, turquoise hued lakes and curious wildlife into one spectacular journey. It’s estimated that over a million people drive the parkway each year to marvel at its dramatic and diverse landscape.

Day 2 began where Part 1 left off, in the town of Banff approximately 60 kms (27 miles) away from the Icefields Parkway gates. Click on the map below for a detailed view of the area.

Icefields Parkway Map

Lake Louise

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta

A quick detour just before the Icefields Parkway brought me to Alberta’s most famous lake, Lake Louise. While its postcard-perfect qualities are undeniable, some will argue that there are other lakes in the Canadian Rockies that are even prettier. Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake and Maligne Lake will all rival Lake Louise’s beauty.

Icefields Parkway

2014 Acura MDX - Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

Inside the Icefields Parkway the speed limit is 90 km/h (55 mph), but I often found myself slowing down to take in the scenery. With sunny blue skies that morning, visibility was excellent and I could safely use the shoulder to snap some photos of the rocky terrain.

2014 Acura MDX - Bow Lake, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

Entering from the South, Bow Lake is the first of many scenic roadside turnouts available throughout the Parkway.

Mount Chephren, Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Yet another turquoise coloured lake and mountain combo. This one is Waterfowl Lake with the pyramid shaped Mount Chephren rising over it.

2014 Acura MDX - Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

A Southbound shot of the highway snaking its way through the mountain valley. I actually turned the MDX around to face South for this shot, just one of the many times the MDX’s incredibly tight turning circle came in handy.

Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

About half way through the Parkway is a steep hairpin turn known as the Big Bend. From the top of the Big Bend I was treated with this view of the valley below.

2014 Acura MDX - Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway

Pictured in the rear is the Athabasca Glacier, one of the Icefields Parkway’s main attractions. What you see is just a small portion of the glacier, which is a significantly larger, and further away than the photo depicts.

Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway

Driving closer to the glacier there is a parking lot where you can leave your car and hike the rest of the way up to meet the glacier’s “toe”. Brewster Travel also offers a Glacier Adventure tour on a special “Ice Explorer” vehicle which will bring you higher up onto the glacier.

Glacier Skywalk, Jasper National Park

From the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre you can buy a ticket to the newly opened Glacier Skywalk – a cliff-edge walkway that leads to a glass-floored observation platform 918 feet (280 metres) above the Sunwapta valley.

Glacier Skywalk, Jasper National Park

You could call this Canada’s version of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Here’s a peek at the Glacier Skywalk‘s U-shaped glass floor. Even with overcast skies the view is amazing!

Bighorn Sheep, Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park

Continuing North towards the town of Jasper I came across a flock of Bighorn sheep scattered across the highway. I caught this shot of a sheep rising before clashing horns with another; the sound when they connected was thunderous.

Tangle Falls, Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park

There are also numerous waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway. If you want to get close, many can be reached by venturing off the highway. If you’re not up for the hike, Tangle Falls seen in this photo, is literally a few steps to the side of the road.

2014 Acura MDX - Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

Unfortunately there’s not enough time in one day to experience all of what the Icefields Parkway and Jasper National Park has to offer. With clouds rolling in and a long drive to Edmonton still ahead of me, my last shot from the trip is of the MDX and the Stutfield Glacier in the distance.

Gallery

• Click here for 2014 Acura MDX Road Trip: Alberta’s Rockies Part 1

More information on the Icefields Parkway:

• Icefields Parkway – icefieldsparkway.ca
• Parks Canada – pc.gc.ca
• Travel Alberta – travelalberta.com
• Brewster Travel Canada – brewster.ca

[Source: Acura Connected]

2 comments on “2014 Acura MDX Road Trip: Alberta’s Rockies Part 2

  1. Tyson

    Incredible shots, Chris! Wow. Lake Louise should be (and probably is) on a postcard. I must visit. And that Skywalk – calling my name. Looks like you had a ton of fun and these are PROFESSIONAL grade pics.

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