|Length:||230 km (140 mi)|
|Existed:||1940 – present|
|North end:||Hwy 16 (Yellowhead Highway) at Jasper|
|South end:||Hwy 1 (TCH) northwest of Lake Louise|
|Jasper, I.D. No. 12, I.D. No. 9|
The Icefields Parkway (French: Promenade des Glaciers), also known as Highway 93 north, is a scenic road in Alberta, Canada. It parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies, travelling through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It links Lake Louise with Jasper to the north. At its southern end, the Icefields Parkway terminates at Highway 1. Highway 1 west goes to Yoho National Park in British Columbia and Highway 1 east to Lake Louise and the Town of Banff. A second parkway, the Bow Valley Parkway also links Lake Louise and the Town of Banff. Known as Highway 1A, this road parallels Highway 1 and, at the midpoint, passes the Castle Mountain junction where Highway 93 south, or the Banff-Windermere Highway, branches southwest into Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.
The parkway is busy in July and August with up to 100,000 vehicles a month. The parkway is mainly two lanes with occasional passing lanes. It minimizes grades and hairpin turns but travellers must look out for wildlife, and vehicles stopped on the shoulder. Snow can be expected at any time of year and extreme weather is common in winter.
A Canadian national parks permit is required to travel on the Icefields Parkway; stations near Lake Louise and Jasper enforce the law. Commercial trucks are prohibited. The speed limit is 90 km/h (55 mph) although the limit is reduced at Saskatchewan River Crossing and the Columbia Icefield area. In winter, chains or all-season radial tires are required by law and road closures are not uncommon.
Going northwest from Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway passes the following points of interest:
- Crowfoot Glacier
- Bow Summit [altitude of 2,088 m (6,850 ft)] and Peyto Lake
- Mistaya Canyon
- Saskatchewan River Crossing
- Parker Ridge
- Columbia Icefield (Athabasca Glacier)
- Icefield Centre
- Athabasca Falls
- Sunwapta Pass and Sunwapta Falls
Campgrounds spot the length of the Parkway and offer water and firewood. The Parkway is easily cycled between Banff and Jasper over three to five days and self-supported riders are common in summer. Bicycle tour operators also use the Parkway, often extending the ride to five days to leave time to drive back to the start.
Limited services are available at Saskatchewan River Crossing and the Icefield Centre, and only from April to October. Gasoline is only available at Saskatchewan River Crossing, at a considerably higher price than elsewhere in Alberta.
Just south of Jasper, a short spur of the parkway branches off as Highway 93A, providing access to businesses on the south side of Jasper and providing an alternative route into the community. Another Highway 93A spur farther south along the parkway provides alternative access to viewpoints and other attractions within Jasper National Park.
Highway 93A south of Jasper is narrow and the pavement uneven, with an average limit of 60 km/h. Brush grows up to the side of the highway so animals can be difficult to see.
- "Spectacular Scenic Highway Built In Clouds" Popular Mechanics, August 1937 - early article on highway being planned and built
- Icefield Parkway.ca
- National Geographic – Icefield Parkway driving tour
- Travel Alberta – The Icefields Parkway
- 2010 Provincial Highways 1 – 216 Series Progress Chart (map, 8 MB) by Alberta Transportation.
- Map of Icefields Parkway with points of interest (English) by Parks Canada.
- Map of Icefields Parkway with points of interest (French) by Parks Canada.