After leaving 3 Hills, we stayed for a few nights in Canmore, Alberta. We took a day trip to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. The total driving distance from Canmore to Jasper is about 311 km (one way) which takes about four hours. Well that might be the average but for this photographer it took us closer to thirteen hours. It was definitely worth the drive but we should have spent the night in Jasper. We got off the highway to check out this lake.
The Columbia Icefields Parkway is supposed to be one of the worlds most scenic mountain drives. I have to agree that the scenery was spectacular. There are views of some of the highest mountains in the Canadian Rockies with over a hundred visible glaciers.
Many of the scenic views are conveniently located next to pullouts or reachable by short walks from the road. Even if you don't stop, the scenery is stunning.
The Turquoise colored lakes were so beautiful.
We were pretty far away from this waterfall and there was no way to get closer that we could see (not that we would have had the time).
We hiked up to see the Athabasca Glacier. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of 5 meters (16 ft)per year. Over the last 125 years, the glacier has receded more than 1.5 km (.93mi) and has lost over half of its volume.
The glacier is easily accessible so it is the most visited glacier in North America. You can actually take a bus to the glacier edge, where the coaches transport tourists over the steep grades, snow and ice part way up the glacier.
Looking away from the Athabasca Glacier. The glacier is approximately 6km (3.7mi) long, covers an area of 2.3 square miles and is measured to be between 90-300 meters (300-980 ft) thick.
The Columbia Icefield was formed during the Great Claiation (238,000 to 126,000 BC). The Icefield is located in the Canadian Rockies beside the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta. The ice field lies partly in the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and partly in the southern end of Jasper National Park. It is about 325 square km (125 sq mi) in area, 100 meters (330 ft) to 365 meters (1,198ft) in depth and receives up to 7 meters (280in) of snowfall per year.
We stopped to watch and photograph some Elk beside the highway before heading into Jasper.