Banff – Jasper: Up the Icefields Parkway

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It’s referred to as “one of the most beautiful highways in the world” and it’s not hard to see why.

The journey along the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper really brings a whole new meaning to the term “scenic route”.

Mum and I travelled up this beautiful stretch of road on a bus tour with SunDog Tours, booked through Viator – a brilliant decision.

Not only did we get from one destination to the other, but we got to stop off at so many magical sights on the way.

So the Icefields Parkway: Let’s just say you MUST travel this highway.

If you haven’t hired a car, consider a one-way bus tour between Banff and Jasper, as the only Greyhound bus (At least that I could find) was an overnight bus – and you really don’t want to miss these sights!

I mean, look at some of the views you’ll get out your window:

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One of our first stops was the incredible Peyto Lake.

This lake is fed by melting ice from a glacier, and as the water runs down the rock, it corrodes it away and forms a sediment, which, with the reflecting light, is the reason for that unbelievable blue colour.

Pretty neat, huh?

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Peyto Lake

One of the most amazing stops of the day was the Athabasca Glacier.

One of the glaciers which runs off the Columbian Icefields, the Athabasca Glacier is currently 5km long, 1km wide, and in some places 250m deep.

However, that is significantly smaller than how large it was in the past (see my vlog for further explanation).

Walking on a glacier is an amazing experience: getting to see – and stand on – a huge chunk of ever-melting ice was both an exciting and sobering event.

It’s sights like these I wholeheartedly suggest travellers visit before it’s too late.

It’s our duty as travellers to soak up experiences and lessons from around the world, those that have a time limit, and those that don’t.

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Then there’s Athabasca Falls – they completely took my breath away.

Extremely powerful and utterly terrifying, the volume of water flowing over the falls can vary up to 100 times the amount during the space of the year.

Don’t try to be a hero photographer and climb over the railings to get the best Instagram shot possible – these falls are deadly.

As our tour guide told us: In the last 45 years 23 people have died at these falls.

Observe, admire and respect, but never, ever try to take on such a powerful force of nature.

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