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Experience Alberta Like Never Before: Travel the Icefields Parkway

2012-08-10 22:05:00
Easily accessible from the Overlander Mountain Lodge, the Icefields Parkway is a gorgeous exposition of rugged Alberta beauty. Visitors to the area should not miss the chance to enjoy spectacular vistas of mountain peaks, lakes, canyons, waterfalls, and glaciers all strung along one meandering road.
The parkway offers the perfect vehicle to tour the system of national parks declared UNESCO world heritage sites to preserve their ecosystems and inspire future generations with the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. The parkway amazes from the first hour, with views of the breathtaking Athabasca Falls, to the last, which offers views of the historic, beautiful Vermillion Lakes. Stretching 232 km through the Rockies, the Icefields Parkway runs between Jasper and Banff. Depending on traffic, it can take as little as three hours, or up to five, to drive the entire length of the parkway. Even if the drive is long, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to get out of the car: the parkway is riddled with stop-offs with access to hiking, picnicking, fishing, and ice tours.
From the Parkway, visitors can access the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice reservoir in the Rocky Mountains. For a closer view, try the Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience. It's an hour and a half long ride in the all-terrain vehicle, Ice Explorer, across the icefield.
To protect the landscape, the Alberta government has put certain restrictions into place for parkway traffic: no commercial trucks are allowed on the parkway, and drivers are required to have a Canadian National Parks permit. It's also essential that drivers exercise caution while on the road. The Icefields Parkway is a popular destination for cyclists, and there are often large groups enjoying the parkway during the summer months. Of course, it's important for all visitors to be careful of wildlife as well. The surrounding parks are home to a variety of native Rockies species, so it's easy to catch a glimpse of grizzly and black bears, moose, and caribou. While it can be tempting to get close to these animals for a great photo, it's extremely important not to approach wildlife. Not only is it against the law, some animals can be very dangerous.
To learn more about the Icefields Parkway, be sure to visit the Icefield Centre. It's an educational facility open May through October -- weather permitting -- with info on the glaciers and the surrounding environment.  You can also visit the Jasper Tourist Information Center at 500 Connaught Dr, Jasper or Jasper Tourism Website.  Before embarking on a journey down the parkway, visitors pick up at least food, water, and a first aid kit. While the road is not difficult to navigate, the weather can change unexpectedly, so drivers are urged to be prepared for unusual conditions throughout the year.
The Overlander Mountain Lodge is an ideal spot to base yourself while visiting Jasper and the surrounding area.  The Overlander offers a unique mountain log lodge experience, with award winning gourmet dining, friendly and attentive service, and comfortable and relaxing accommodation. We also have Jasper Park's only vacation home rentals to accommodate larger groups and families.

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