Banff road trip: Canada's most beautiful highway

Banff Jasper road trip Columbia Icefields Parkway

It’s been called Canada’s most beautiful highway and this moniker could well be true.

If you’re visiting the Canadian Rockies, don’t miss driving Highway 93 between Banff and Jasper national parks. The Icefields Parkway, as it is known, is a gorgeous 232-km highway that has been rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller.

If you drive straight through, it will take three hours. But plan for at least 5-6 hours with stops.

Here are my top five highlights, starting from Lake Louise (near Banff).

1. Peyto Lake & Bow Summit (44 km/27 miles) from Lake Louise

Glacier-fed Peyto Lake is the most visited and photographed lake in the Canadian Rockies. Glacial rock flow gives the lake its bright, turquoise colour.

2. Big Hill & Big Bend (115 km/71 miles from Lake Louise)

You’ll know when you get here. The descending road clings to the wall of a mountain and offers expansive views of the valley and river.

3. Columbia Icefield (128 km/80 miles from Lake Louise)

These glaciers are the largest south of the Arctic Circle. While you’re at the visitor centre (free to visit), buy a ticket to the Glacier Sky Walk, a glass-floored observation platform 280 metres (918 feet) over the Sunwapta Valley.

4. Athabasca Falls (200 km/124 miles from Lake Louise)

Among the most breathtaking and powerful falls in the Rockies, the Athabasca Falls are located 30 km south of the town of Jasper.

5. Maligne Canyon’s dramatic waterfalls and cavernous channels are a don’t-miss. The canyon is 15 minutes from the town of Jasper.

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Find more travel inspiration on my Instagram, @JuanitaNg.