Traveling through the Canadian Rockies by car has to be one of the most awe inspiring drives in North America. From the front seat of your Mercedes you can view spectacular peaks, glaciers and rivers up close and personal.
The Icefields Parkway begins in Jasper and ends in Banff and is 144 miles of mind blowing scenery.
Being from Alaska this is very hard for me to admit. Surely there is similar or even more awesome scenery in my state but the difference is most of it is very remote and cannot be seen from any road.
In Canada there are many roads and railroads that bisect these mountains that make for easy access and great viewing. Train travel at the turn of the century must have really been something with several grand hotels situated in spectacular locations throughout the range.
At the turn of the century the well healed and VIP’s were allowed to ride through the mountain passes holding onto the cow catcher at the front of the steam engine. Oh what fun that ride must have been especially going down the 4.5% grade at Kicking Horse Pass.
I first traveled this road in 1973 on my way to Alaska then again in the fall of 1974 Denise and I drove it on our way to Mexico in our 1958 VW van. Now 41 years later we travel it again driving in a little more luxurious mode of transport.
Since Jasper we continue bumping into our friends Elwood and Beth or maybe we are just following their good ideas. We end up crossing the divide at Kicking Horse Pass and then drive down to Radium Hot Springs where we camp with them again.
We spend several nights along the parkway including one at Mosquito Creek Campground situated along the Bow River. We were the only campers there as it closed the next night….Just the way we like it! The pups ran free that evening and picked up the scent trails of many types of wildlife.
The Red Chairs:
The red chairs are strategically placed in special locations within the Canadian National Parks. They are about taking time to connect with nature and with each other.
Some are easy to find, while others provide more of a challenge to get to. All of them offer a place to rest, relax, and reflect on the location you’ve discovered and the journey you took to get there.
In Banff we spent a couple of nights at the Tunnel Mt. campground perched on top of a ridge overlooking the stunning local mountains.
Again spending our evenings with Beth and Elwood, eating at an Irish pub and wine tasting at camp in the evenings was great fun.
Downtown Banff was very busy with lots of big spenders and young adventure seekers roaming the streets. I followed a mauve colored convertible Bentley plying the streets but our 1969 VW bug also garnered lots of waves and thumbs up.
And so ends our fabulous trip down the Icefields Parkway. We truly enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Canadian wilderness, hiking its mountain trails and especially traveling during its off season.
But the real highlight was hanging with Beth and Elwood….not only were they great fun but they always had the best wine!
Don’t miss our newest video On The Road To….
Next stop south to Waterton Lakes NP and beyond….
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