CANADA – The Canadian Rockies

Tailor-make your own holiday with plenty of free time in Banff and Jasper

When visiting the Rockies with my wife, the drive along the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper was one of the highlights of the trip and also acted as our transfer between these centres without having to double back or drive.

The Famous Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), 143 miles long, is a scenic road specifically built with tourism in mind, crossing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies. It connects the Banff and Lake Louise areas and Jasper, passing through both the Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It was one of the many construction projects started in the Great Depression and finished in 1940. Commercial vehicles are denied access to it and there is a 55mph speed limit (some parts lower).

The Columbia Icefield – enjoy a Snocoach Ride 

The highlight of the trip is the Columbian Icefield itself where you transfer to a special bus with extra large wheels which climbs up the Icefield. You can disembark for 15 minutes or so and stand on the ice, or drink from the natural spring.

Banff and Lake Louise

For many, Banff is their first stop in the Rockies after flying into Calgary a couple of hours drive away. In a most stunning position surrounded by mountains, Banff is situated beside the Bow River. There is plenty to do, including taking a Gondola ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain to enjoy the wonderful views. You can visit stunning Lake Louise from Banff (see photo). The Lake is also a scheduled stop for the excursion between Banff and Jasper on the Icefields Parkway (see above).


Jasper is a much less commercial town than Banff, with a sleepy ‘Alpine’ resort feel to it. You can visit the Jasper Tramway (Cable Car) for more wonderful views or take a boat ride on beautiful Maligne Lake (30 minutes away). Both Banff and Jasper offer country pursuits in a big way, like climbing, canoeing, hiking, cycling (cycles are available for hire).

Several Choices of Itinerary and Accommodation

You can contact me for further information on these resorts and this journey of a lifetime up the ‘Parkway’. There are good choices of accommodation available, ranging from small hotels and Inns to the famous larger Fairmont properties, including the well known Banff Springs Hotel. The Icefields excursion together with a stay in Banff and Jasper can be successfully combined with many of the famous Rocky Mountaineer journeys (see separate blog post). Please contact me for further details.

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Click for The Rockies Map

Click for Banff Map

Click for Jasper Map 

Canada Specialist 


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Contact Simon at Designer Travel  Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises

All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking


Photo: Bow River at Banff (RG) 130915


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