CA, Alberta: Rocky Mountains – Icefields Parkway and its wonders

Rocky Mountains, North America’s largest mountain system, are widely known for dazzling valleys, rocky peaks, abundance of wildlife, snow-covered ridges, and alluring meadows. The Canadian Rockies extend 1,200 km north from the American borders, in both provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. You could spend months in these pristine lands, never seeing the same scene; you can do biking, hiking, horse riding, boating, fishing, rafting, Via Ferrata, or just simply open-mouthed staring if that could be named as an “activity”J. The week we spent in 2016 in these lands filled me with so much gratitude and energy I could hardly imagine I could get.icefields-parkway-2

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Arriving in the mountains on a gloomy day, enveloped by the misty clouds, we found easily our way coming from Vancouver, via Okanagan Valley. We learned on our way about endless means of trekking; while walking and biking on the Highway is forbidden in province Ontario, it seems this is allowed in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

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The most extensive, most accessible and most famous ice field in North America, along the AB – BC border and along the Continental Divide is Columbia Icefield. This is a remnant of the last major glaciation, and about 325 km2 accordingly with some sources, however all glaciers are receding at a fast speed. As the glaciers retreated and melted away, piles of rock and sedimentary layers were left behind. Beautiful carvings were formed over decades by rapid rivers, and gorgeous lakes have emerged in their amazing emerald and turquoise colours due to the glacial silt suspended in the glacial water.

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One of the most scenic drives in the world, and one of the purpose in our trip, Icefield Parkway offers so many wonders and surprises that one cannot even dare to think about. Located along the Columbia Icefield, the Icefield Parkway links Lake Louise to Jasper, offering inspiring scenery, wildlife watching, exciting activities and so much more. The route is actually built right along the main lookouts, with easy access to few main glaciers, valleys and some other important points of interest. All of its winding 232 km going through the heart of Jasper and Banff National Parks, are such a grand sight, a delightful spectacle that one must see to fully understand. More than a drive, this journey through the majestic Rocky Mountains still remains the most visited place in Canada. With the new Free 2017 Discovery Pass, it might even be the most visited place in the world, in 2017!

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Icefield Parkway can be easily traveled in 3 to 4 hr, however to really enjoy all the stops and views you have along the route, it is better to do it in a full day, and take as much time as you can to experience every kind of feeling at every stop or viewpoint, marked or unmarked. And following the journey with our trusted instincts, we found ourselves immersed in the seducing and mesmerizing adventure, a true odyssey of our life.

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