Alberta Highway 93

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Highway 93 marker

Highway 93

Banff-Windermere Highway
Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway from the north side of Parker Ridge.jpg
Highway 93 as seen from the observation deck on the north side of Parker Ridge.
Route information
Maintained by Alberta Ministry of Transportation
Length268 km (167 mi)
RestrictionsNo commercial vehicles and National Parks pass required along the Icefields Parkway. Snow tires or chains required Nov. 1 to Mar. 31.
Major junctions
South end Hwy 93 at B.C. border at Vermilion Pass
Major intersections Hwy 1 (TCH) near Lake Louise
Hwy 1A near Lake Louise
Hwy 11 in Saskatchewan River Crossing
North end Hwy 16 (TCH) in Jasper
Specialized and rural municipalitiesI.D. No. 9, I.D. No. 12, Jasper
Highway system
Hwy 88 SPF

Highway 93 is a north–south highway in Alberta, Canada. It is also known as the Banff-Windermere Parkway south of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the Icefields Parkway north of the Trans-Canada Highway. It travels through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park and is maintained by Parks Canada for its entire length.[1] It runs from the British Columbia border at Vermilion Pass in the south, where it becomes British Columbia Highway 93, to its terminus at the junction with the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) at Jasper.[2] The route takes its number from U.S. Route 93, which runs uninterrupted south to central Arizona, and was initially designated as '93' in 1959.

Route description[edit]

Banff-Windermere Highway[edit]

Castle Mountain, in Banff National Park, as seen from Highway 93.

The southern portion of the route is part of the Banff-Windermere Highway, a 104 km (65 mi) highway that travels from British Columbia Highway 95 at Radium Hot Springs, through Kootenay National Park and Vermilion Pass across the Continental Divide, to the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) at Castle Junction.[3] The final 10 km (6.2 mi) of the highway are in Alberta and Banff National Park. Prior to 1959, the highway was designated as Highway 1B.[4]

Trans-Canada Highway[edit]

Highway 93 connects with the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) at Castle Junction, midway between Banff and Lake Louise.[3] Highway 93 follows the Trans-Canada Highway for 28 km (17 mi) northwest, diverging from highway 1 west of Lake Louise. Highway 1 continues west to Yoho National Park. The Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A) also links Lake Louise and Banff. This road parallels Highway 1 and, at the midpoint, passes Castle junction where it links with Highway 93.[3]

Icefields Parkway[edit]

Highway 93 near Saskatchewan Crossing
Looking north at the northern terminus of the Icefields Parkway.
Watermelon Peak's southern outlier by Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway (French: Promenade des Glaciers), is a 230 km (140 mi) long scenic road that parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies, travelling through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It is named for features such as the Columbia Icefield, visible from the parkway. It links Lake Louise with Jasper to the north. At its southern end, the Icefields Parkway terminates at Highway 1. Highway 1 west leads 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.[3]

Bow Lake

The Icefields Parkway was predated by the Glacier Trail, which opened in 1885 after the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed and brought increased tourist traffic to Banff National Park. In 1931, the federal government commissioned the construction of a single-track road between Lake Louise and Jasper in the Great Depression as a relief project. In order to employ as many people as possible, the road was constructed by hand and employed 600 men.[5] The road was completed in 1940; however, the 1950s saw an increase in automobile use and increased traffic along the parkway. In 1961, a reconstructed paved and modern highway was opened,[5] and in 1969, Brewster Sightseeing began to operate snowmobile tours on the Athabasca Glacier, located just beside the highway.[5]

Turnouts by the Parkway aid views

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. Snow can be expected at any time of year and extreme weather is common in winter.

Peyto Lake

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.[6] 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 may occur without warning. There is no cell coverage.[7]

Major intersections[edit]

Starting from the south end of Highway 93:

National ParkLocationkmmiDestinationsNotes
Banff0.00.0 Hwy 93 (Banff–Windermere Highway) – Kootenay National Park, Radium Hot SpringsContinental Divide; continuation into British Columbia
51°13′44″N 116°03′02″W / 51.228776°N 116.050600°W / 51.228776; -116.050600 (Vermilion Pass)
Vermilion Pass – 1,680 m (5,510 ft)
10.06.2 Hwy 1 (TCH) east – Banff, Calgary
To Hwy 1A (Bow Valley Parkway) – Castle Mountain
Hwy 93 branches northwest;
south end of Hwy 1 concurrency
51°15′52″N 115°55′56″W / 51.264565°N 115.932311°W / 51.264565; -115.932311 (TCH 1 east)
North end of Banff–Windermere Highway
32.520.2Crosses the Bow River51°24′08″N 116°09′32″W / 51.402339°N 116.159023°W / 51.402339; -116.159023 (Bow River)
Lake Louise35.522.1 Hwy 1A east (Bow Valley Parkway) / Lake Louise Drive51°25′34″N 116°10′24″W / 51.426110°N 116.173373°W / 51.426110; -116.173373 (Lake Louise)
38.223.7 Hwy 1 (TCH) west – Yoho National Park, Field, GoldenHwy 93 branches north;
North end of Hwy 1 concurrency
51°26′29″N 116°12′04″W / 51.441419°N 116.201168°W / 51.441419; -116.201168 (TCH 1 west)
Icefields Parkway begins • National Park pass required
38.924.2Park gate51°26′40″N 116°12′33″W / 51.444582°N 116.209127°W / 51.444582; -116.209127 (South Park Gate)
71.044.1Crowfoot Glacier (roadside pullout)51°39′50″N 116°26′23″W / 51.663857°N 116.439681°W / 51.663857; -116.439681 (Crowfoot Glacier)
73.545.7unnamed roadBow Lake51°40′56″N 116°27′43″W / 51.682351°N 116.461960°W / 51.682351; -116.461960 (Bow Lake)
78.448.7Bow Summit – 2,069 m (6,788 ft)
unnamed roadPeyto Lake51°43′12″N 116°29′41″W / 51.719901°N 116.494699°W / 51.719901; -116.494699 (Bow Summit)
108.867.6Mistaya Canyon (roadside pullout)51°56′28″N 116°43′02″W / 51.941084°N 116.717254°W / 51.941084; -116.717254 (Mistaya Canyon)
112.469.8Crosses the North Saskatchewan River51°58′14″N 116°43′13″W / 51.970431°N 116.720373°W / 51.970431; -116.720373 (N Sask River)
River Crossing
114.070.8 Hwy 11 east – Rocky Mountain House, Red Deer51°58′24″N 116°44′35″W / 51.973260°N 116.742946°W / 51.973260; -116.742946 (Hwy 11)
149.693.0Parker Ridge (roadside pullout)52°10′37″N 117°03′22″W / 52.177048°N 117.055986°W / 52.177048; -117.055986 (Parker Ridge)
BanffJasper line159.198.9Sunwapta Pass – 2,030 m (6,660 ft) — 52°12′50″N 117°09′49″W / 52.213759°N 117.163609°W / 52.213759; -117.163609 (Sunwapta Pass)
JasperColumbia Icefield163.5101.6Icefields Centre, Athabasca Glacier52°13′11″N 117°13′29″W / 52.219679°N 117.224859°W / 52.219679; -117.224859 (Columbia Icefield)
211.9131.7unnamed roadSunwapta Falls52°32′13″N 117°38′28″W / 52.537049°N 117.641038°W / 52.537049; -117.641038 (Sunwapta Falls)
235.3146.2 Hwy 93A north – Athabasca Falls52°40′08″N 117°52′54″W / 52.668965°N 117.881529°W / 52.668965; -117.881529 (Athabasca Falls)
257.9160.3Crosses the Athabasca River52°48′43″N 118°02′28″W / 52.811830°N 118.041064°W / 52.811830; -118.041064 (Athabasca River)
258.7160.7 Hwy 93A south – Marmot Basin52°48′51″N 118°03′02″W / 52.814144°N 118.050557°W / 52.814144; -118.050557 (Hwy 93A)
259.2161.1Park gate52°49′07″N 118°03′10″W / 52.818584°N 118.052744°W / 52.818584; -118.052744 (North Park Gate)
263.6163.8Whistlers Road – Jasper Skytram52°51′16″N 118°04′41″W / 52.854548°N 118.077977°W / 52.854548; -118.077977 (Whistlers Rd)
264.0164.0 Hwy 93A north – Jasper52°51′30″N 118°04′46″W / 52.858376°N 118.079377°W / 52.858376; -118.079377 (Hwy 93A)
264.7164.5Crosses the Miette River52°51′45″N 118°05′11″W / 52.862593°N 118.086487°W / 52.862593; -118.086487 (Miette River)
Jasper265.4164.9Icefields Parkway ends
Hwy 16 (TCH/YH) – Prince George, Kamloops, Edmonton
Connaught Drive – Jasper
Hwy 93 northern terminus
52°52′00″N 118°05′36″W / 52.866548°N 118.093284°W / 52.866548; -118.093284 (TCH 16)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
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]

Highway 93A
LocationJasper National Park
Southern section
Length24 km (15 mi)
South end Hwy 93 near Athabasca Falls
North end Hwy 93 near Marmot Basin
Northern section
Length1.7 km (1.1 mi)
South end Hwy 93 near Jasper
North end Hwy 16 (TCH) near Jasper

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 via Hazel Avenue. Another Highway 93A spur farther south is 24 km (15 mi) long, is along Highway 93 and 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 (37 mph). Brush grows up to the side of the highway so animals can be difficult to see.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Internal Audit and Evaluation Documents: Evaluation of Parks Canada's Through Highway Management". Parks Canada. November 22, 2010. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Alberta Official Road Map (Map) (2015 ed.). City of Edmonton Transportation Services for Alberta Culture and Tourism. § J–2, K–3, L–3, and L–4.
  3. ^ a b c d Google (October 23, 2017). "Highway 93 in Alberta" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "Shell British Columbia-Alberta Highway Map". David Rumsey Map Collection. The H.M. Gousha Company. 1956. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "A brief history of the Icefields Parkway - Jasper National Park". Parks Canada Agency. Government of Canada. June 1, 2017. Archived from the original on July 23, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Banff National Park - Park Passes". Parks Canada. Government of Canada. December 3, 2014. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Icefields Parkway - Banff National Park". Parks Canada. Government of Canada. April 1, 2017. Archived from the original on September 19, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017.

External links[edit]