Scenic Drives

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SCENIC DRIVES


The Bow Valley Parkway - a year-round scenic heritage experience

Winding its way through lodgepole pine, spruce, and mixed aspen forests speckled with sunshine, the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A) in Banff National Park provides a convenient and leisurely route from Banff to Lake Louise. Paralleling the Trans-Canada Highway, the Parkway delivers superb views of some of the park’s most iconic peaks, including the multi-tiered pinnacles of Castle Mountain. A slower speed limit rewards motorists with a better chance of seeing the wildlife.

Imagine your wonder as you round a corner and encounter the towers of impressive peaks looming overhead and, if you’re lucky, the strong, yet gentle presence of a grizzly bear grazing on roadside slopes. In winter, grassy, flower-filled slopes are blanketed with white, fluffy snow, making it even easier to spot animals that aren’t hibernating, such as elk, bighorn sheep, deer and wolves.

A variety of roadside stopsalong the Bow Valley Parkway turn your drive into an experience that is both educational and inspiring. Interpretive displays and marked pullovers along the road, give visitors the chance to discover more about the landscape, wildlife and the history of Banff National Park. With its powerful, surging canyon in summer and dramatically frozen waterfalls in winter, Johnston Canyon is a natural attraction for year-round enjoyment. The Parkway also provides access to some of the park’s best spots for hiking, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

All this goes to say: the Bow Valley Parkway is an experience worth driving for.

Icefields Parkway

To travel the Icefields Parkway is to experience one of Canada's national treasures and most rewarding drives. Stretching 232km through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, this world-class journey offers access to a vast wilderness of pristine mountain lakes, ancient glaciers and broad sweeping valleys. This special travel route winds its way through two national parks, boasting a unique and irreplaceable landscape rich in history and natural beauty second to none.

Lake Minnewanka Drive

This area is a snapshot of Banff National Park - majestic mountains, waterfalls, meadows, old town remnants and the largest  man-made lake in the park - a great place to camp, picnic by the water, dive, or to put road bikes, hiking boots and cross-country skis or snowshoes to work. The circular drive is close to the Town of Banff and is approximately 24 kilometres long and the speed limit is 50km/h.

Vermilion Lakes Drive

A unique wetland environment just minutes from the Town of Banff. On foot or by bike or car discover this year-round 4.3km road (one way) offering wildlife viewing opportunities and breathtaking scenery. Sit back, relax on the docks and benches, and soak up the sun as you gaze at the impressive Mount Rundle. While you are here, take some time to learn about the natural wonders and cultural richness of the area.