There are trips where the road is the destination. In America, there’s Route 66, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, and Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. After my wife and I explored the northern nexus of Jasper National Park, the world-famous Icefields Parkway beckoned.
Jasper National Park
First, north to the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Then, a 9-mile drive on a narrow, twisting road through towering trees. Finally, another half-mile hike over a creek and into the heavens. And there, at the end of the Path of the Glacier Trail, a giant mass of rock reaches into the clouds. At the foot of 11,033-foot Mount Edith Cavell, you feel like you’re worshipping in a temple at the top of the world.
As Canadians today celebrate the country’s annual Parks Day, a watchdog group is questioning whether conservation, the mandated “first priority” of the Parks Canada Agency, has taken a back seat to increased visitation and revenue generation.
While the U.S. is celebrating a century of the National Park Service this year, Canada has an anniversary of its own coming up, and its parks and visitors are set to benefit during the country’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
A "Glacier Skywalk." Ski resort expansion. Proposed widening of the Bow Valley Parkway. These and other developments pose a great threat to several national parks in Canada according to a parks advocacy group concerned that Parks Canada is straying from its mission in protecting these landscapes.
Starting on the fringe of the Great Plains and climbing through the incomparable mountain scenery of Banff and Jasper national parks, this magnificent drive—one of Canada's best - combines exhilarating vistas of forest, crag, river, and glacier. And autumn colors, crisp, cool days and fewer visitors make this an ideal fall journey.
Now visitors have a dramatic new way to view Jasper National Park in western Alberta. The Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored observation platform cantilevered more 900 feet above the Sunwapta Valley floor, opened to visitors on May 1. It is the newest attraction along the Icefields Parkway linking the Jasper and Banff townsites.
If there aren't already enough choices to make when it comes to deciding where to go in the U.S. National Park System, along comes National Geographic with its Guide to the National Parks of Canada. It's akin to rolling out the pastry cart once you've already settled on the Crème brûlée.
Need help planning a trip to either the Canadian Rockies or the Trail of the Ancients in the Southwest? National Geographic Maps can help you out.