Best Photo Spots On The Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada.
The Icefields Parkway is rated as one of the world’s best drives and for good reason! The road covers 227 km from Lake Louise to the town of Jasper winding through lakes, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. Due to this incredibly varied scenery it also makes it one of the best stretches of road in the world for photography. In this post I’ll be sharing my favourite locations on the parkway; some are easily accessed by simply pulling over at the side of the road, others take more time, knowledge and preparation to achieve.
Stop 1 - Bow Lake
38 km from Lake Louise, Bow Lake is easily accessed from the car park at the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. If you manage to get there early morning you’ll find picture perfect reflections of the surrounding mountains on the lake.
Stop 2 - Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is only a short distance from Bow Lake at 45 km north of Lake Louise. A large car park allows for an easy visit however be prepared for a short but steep walk up to the view point. In my opinion this location is best photographed after a fresh snow storm so the deep blue lake contrasts nicely with the bright snow.
Stop 3 - Mistaya Canyon
This stop has a newly constructed pull over space to allow for more cars to stop and park near the trail heads, the pull over is 75 km north of Lake Louise. To get to the canyon you’ll only need to walk about 0.5 km but good boots are recommended especially during winter.
Stop 4 - Panther Falls
This is a more hidden gem on the parkway, 116 km north of Lake Louise brings you to a small lay by on the right hand side of the road. During summer this is an easy 500 metre walk from the road to some impressive waterfalls, during winter this route is much more dangerous. During colder months the waterfalls freeze making for some incredible ice formations, however you need to be prepared. The snow can be deep and the ice slippery with avalanche risks always being a danger. If you plan to visit this waterfall in winter be prepared, good boots, crampons and winter hiking experience are a must.
Stop 5- Parker Ridge
One of the most popular hiking trails on the Icefields Parkway Parker Ridge is around half way between Jasper and Lake Louise at 118 km from the town of Lake Louise. For this view point you will need to be prepared to hike a 5 km out and back trail, the trail head starts from the parking lot on the left side of the road. For more information on this hike check out the trail guide here.
Stop 6 - Hilda Peak
If you don’t fancy the Parker Ridge hike some great shots can be taken from the road side without any hard work! At this point the distinctive Hilda Peak lines up nicely with the road. Just be careful if you’re shooting near traffic!
Stop 7 - Columbia Icefields
130 km north of Lake Louise the Columbia Icefields is on most peoples list when they travel this road. Tours can be taken to get up close and personal on the glacier however I find you can get some great shots from taking the short walk up to the view point.
Stop 8 - Tangle Peak
A distinctive, square looking mountain 140 km north of Lake Louise can be shot from multiple locations on each side of the road. During summer and winter there are lots of composition options using streams as leading lines and foreground interest.
Stop 9 - Sunwapta Falls
This unique waterfall is a must do stop, the flowing river has created a tree island before funnelling down into a stunning waterfall. The location lacks composition options but still makes for a great shot.
Stop 10- Jasper
230 km north of Lake Louise, the end of the Icefields Parkway brings you to the town of Jasper, an incredible photography location in itself, I’ll share some of my favourites in a different post.
There are endless other locations to shoot on this road with each trip bringing something new, above are my favourites but I’d love to hear yours. If you have any suggestions of places that could or should be added to this list let me know in the comments below.