Icefields Parkway

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Alberta Highway 93 shield

Highway 93
Icefields Parkway
Route information
Length: 230 km (140 mi)
Existed: 1940 – present
Major junctions
North end: Hwy 16 (TCH) (Yellowhead Highway) at Jasper
  Hwy 11 at Saskatchewan River Crossing
South end: Hwy 1 (TCH) (Trans-Canada Highway) northwest of Lake Louise
and rural
Jasper, I.D. No. 12, I.D. No. 9
Highway system

Provincial highways in Alberta

Hwy 88 Hwy 100

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 the Trans-Canada Highway (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 Icefields Parkway, 230 km (140 mi) long, was completed in 1940. It is named for features such as the Columbia Icefield, visible from the parkway.

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 winter-rated radial tires are required by law and road closures are not uncommon.

Route description[edit]

Looking north at the northern terminus of the Icefields Parkway

Going northwest from Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway passes the following points of interest:

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.[1]

360° panorama of Mount Amery and the Alexandra River in the Icefields Parkway of Jasper and Banff national parks. Low clouds drift along as the morning sun rises over Mount Wilson.

Highway 93A[edit]

Alberta Highway 93A.svg

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.


  1. ^ "Mountain Adventure". Frommer's. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Parfit, Michael; Chris Johns (Dec 1992). "The Hard Ride of Route 93". National Geographic (National Geographic Society) 182 (6): 42–69. 
  • "Spectacular Scenic Highway Built In Clouds" Popular Mechanics, August 1937 - early article on highway being planned and built

External links[edit]