National Geographic has rated the Icefields Parkway as one of the most scenic roads in the world. The Icefields Parkway is a journey through expansive mountain wilderness, ancient glaciers, sweeping valleys and mountain lakes of every shade of blue, and you can expect the same kind of scenery on the many trails that start right from the road. A variety of stops along the Parkway, such as Mistaya Canyon, offer short walks or roadside viewpoints, so keep your eyes open for other places to explore.
- Bow Glacier Falls: base of “Iceberg Lake” and the Bow Glacier, Bow Glacier Falls are the rewarding end point ofthis easy hike. Beginning with a walk along the shoreline of Bow Lake, the trail goes up and over a surging canyon (well worth the quick visit!) before descending again to the rocky terrain at the base of the falls. Distance: 9km loop, Elevation Gain: 140 meters, Time Required: 2-4 Hours, DIfficulty: Moderate
- Helen Lake: After a steady hike up through the forest, the Helen Lake trail emerges into an alpine wonderland that remains above tree line until you reach one of the Rockies’ best lunch spots: Helen Lake. During a few weeks in summer, the resident marmots are joined by a stunning collection of colourful wildflowers. Distance: 12km Round Trip, Elevation Gain: 450 Meters, Time Required: 4-5 Hours
- Parker Ridge: Viewed from below, the hike up Parker Ridge doesn’t look like anything special. But, reach the top of this ridge and you’ll see why it is a favourite hike along the Icefields Parkway. The crest of Parker Ridge offers awe-inspiring views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and the North Saskatchewan River flowing through the valley below. Distance: 4,8km Loop, Elevation Gain: 270 Meters, Time Required: 2 Hours, Difficulty: Easy
- Wilcox Pass: The views from Wilcox Pass are nothing short of remarkable, and as the tree line here is fairly low, you gain them quickly. The famous peaks surrounding the Athabasca glacier, including Mt. Athabasca and Snow Dome, dominate the panorama that unfolds atop this ridge. Look for a large rock cairn, which marks the highest point of the pass. Distance: 8km Round Trip, Elevation Gain: 335 Meters, Time Required 5-7 Hours, Difficulty: Easy