Day 10 : Monday 4th October 2004
The most beautiful drive in the world
One of the things which had prompted me to come back to this part of Canada so soon was the drive between Banff and Jasper, known as the Icefield Parkway. The scenery on this drive is simply amazing and it fully deserves its reputation as the most beautiful drive in the world. Last time I had driven from Jasper down to Banff, so it would be nice to drive the other way round and get the full experience. Not much text today, I'll let the photos do most of the talking! They do say a picture is worth a thousand words!!!
We left Banff early and headed up to Lake Louise as our first port of call, via the more scenic route rather than the trans-Canada highway. Both Lake Louise and nearby Moraine Lake are absolutely wonderful. Chateau Lake Louise is one of the grand old hotels built when the railway first came through and opened up the Rockies. It is situated at one end of Lake Louise and the view from the rooms must be one of the most stunning in the world. A bit out of our price range for this trip unfortunately!
We then grabbed some lunch and headed further up the Icefield Parkway, stopping and taking photos as we went. Towards the middle of the afternoon, we arrived at the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield. There is a large visitor centre here and one can take an ice bus on to the upper part of the glacier, which is of course a must do. This trip lasts about an hour or so, full round trip.
After this amazing tour, we continued to drive up to Jasper as the light faded. As we entered Jasper, we came across a herd of stags and given it was rutting season the male of the group was very protective of his hareem. We didn't actually know how dangerous they can be when we arrived, luckily we kept our distance and didn't get charged!
We had booked a couple of nights at the Astoria Hotel in Jasper, which is situated on the main road. A bit of a mistake this as there was quite a lot of noise from the Trans-Canada railway which is just across the road.